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Raison d’être

Halfway through our encounter, he said, “People are bored of Palestine!” Pause. He is not an Israeli, not a foreigner, a homegrown Palestinian. And no, I didn’t jump on him and bang him on his head! In fact, I was so taken aback, particularly by his relaxed manner, that I didn’t know how to respond. I assure you, though: while our meeting ended civilly, his words have kept coming back to me ever since.

Let alone that we are pursuing a noble cause; forget about the grave injustice that was done to the Palestinian people and needs to be rectified; and ignore the fact that, at least as far as I am concerned, Palestine is the moral compass of the world. Let alone all that. Palestine is also at the core of what I do! So what do you mean, “People are bored of Palestine?” Does This Week in Palestine bore people? Am I boring you now as you read my column?

Don’t answer that!

Since I know that the friend I was meeting is an honest and sincere person, maybe I should look into what he said more carefully. Oh God, no! Perhaps what he said is true! So to console myself, I asked a few people I’m in touch with. Well, I suppose no one dared to agree with the bomb statement! Not only that, I was even assured that Palestine is still the center of the world and that its case is the number one issue of the whole universe. Phew! I was so relieved!

Seriously now, I actually comprehend what my friend said. In fact, I myself frequently get burned out from Palestine and its many issues. I often relate to a song by Mike Massy, a relatively new Lebanese singer, called Baddi di’i (“I want to get lost,” literally). The song is about wanting to go places we’ve never been to, places where we don’t know anyone, and where we don’t feel any responsibility or worry.

I have to admit, though, that Palestine is a heavy issue. On the one hand, carrying it is like being under the yoke of repression: you feel drained by an acute sense of injustice, pressured by the responsibility of standing up for integrity, while the feeling of futility and despair hovers over you – and many, many other burdens. However, on the other, carrying Palestine is bliss. If nothing else, it gives a person a raison d’être, a meaning as to who you are and what you stand for.

No. People are not bored of Palestine. Some might be, but they’re not really my friends. My friends are those who cherish Palestine and carry it in their hearts.

Long live Palestine!

Sani Meo

  • Sani Meo is co-founder of the English-language print and online magazine This Week in Palestine and has been its publisher since TWiP’s inception in December 1998. Since January 2007, he has also been the publisher of the Arabic online magazine Filistin Ashabab, which targets Palestinian youth.

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