MIFTAH
Thursday, 13 June. 2024
 
Your Key to Palestine
The Palestinian Initiatives for The Promotoion of Global Dialogue and Democracy
 
 
 
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Shatha is a feminine Arabic name that means the scent of flowers, and Shatha is my cousin, who dances with the Popular Arts Group, a dance troupe based in Ramallah. The Popular Arts Group was first established in 1979, despite all Israeli attempts to kill the spirits of Palestinian people. They started with folk dances known as “Dabkeh”, and later on, developed their short dances in to images of art and passion.

They welcomed the Intifada, stone throwing and the unity of Palestinians. They wept over the bodies of our martyrs, dispossession and helplessness, and yesterday; they celebrated their 25th anniversary among hundreds of cheering admirers in Ramallah’s Cultural Palace.

Just two days previously, I was wondering why was I born a Palestinian; why was I there with thousands of other students standing in the morning heat waiting for Israelis to allow us to pass to our university? Why couldn’t I have been standing elsewhere in the world where checkpoints did not exist?

But last night, when I was watching my cousin along with dozens of other young people dancing on that stage, I was overwhelmed. I could feel their smiles and slender bodies embracing me with compassion, reminding me that I am not alone in all this chaos and injustice.

I felt my soul floating up in the still air, and I saw the whole picture from above. Their passion was so strong it almost stifled me; numbness crept from the soles of my feet and gripped the whole of my body.

At that exact moment, I remembered with all the remnants of my sanity why I was Palestinian, why I chose to be Palestinian and why God placed me here. It’s because if you were Palestinian you would be immune to routine, faithlessness and too much sanity!

If you were Palestinian, you would be transparent, fragile and yet solid as a rock. You would have earthly divinity, and the power to unleash happiness from the depths of sorrow.

Congratulations to the Popular Art Group for 25 years of endless smiles, creativity and determination. And thank you for reminding me of why I absolutely love being Palestinian.

 
 
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