Jerusalemites really are the salt of the earth. Their resilience resembles the robust trees standing at the Damascus Gate to the Old City, as they shout fiercely in front of the houses of Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in protest against the most pernicious occupation on the planet, bare-chested and holding their heads high with hearts full of certainty about their legitimate rights.
The month of Ramadan has always been associated with heroic events in the minds of the indigenous Palestinians in Jerusalem. That prompted a group of young people in the occupied city to reorient the popular resistance compass and rekindle the flame of the Palestinian cause in a series of confrontations with the Israeli occupation forces. The video footage, which has gone viral, has become the Palestinians’ favourite Ramadan show.
The bravery of the Jerusalemites is mesmerising; it makes us monitor our phones constantly as we wait for news or newly-uploaded videos, to share tweets and post comments on social media. Every time we see them sacrificing their blood and lives, we turn to our devices to create trends and hashtags in solidarity with them. Unfortunately, some are too scared to do so, perhaps because they live in one of these Arab capitals where the authorities count the steps and breaths of their citizens.
This nation has a living collective consciousness that neither the anti-revolution media nor the agencies of repression can defeat. Even if some regimes manage to dampen the spirits in places where there are no independent parties to balance opinions and clarify the situation, the effect is short-lived when we witness the latest confrontation or act of resistance initiated by the Jerusalemites in their own land of freedom. They have awakened many people and have an overpowering influence on those who are submissive and have accepted normalisation of relations with Israel.
We have admired the man who sat on his small prayer mat facing the Dome of the Rock, holding the Holy Qur’an in his hand and enjoying the serenity and fresh breezes of Al-Quds. We are eager to taste the traditional Maqluba which Hanadi and Khadija make, along with the other Palestinian women defenders of the faith in Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Following Abd Al Afou and Ramzi on Instagram and YouTuber Salah and other young people has become our favourite evening ritual. As we break our fast in London we wait impatiently for the brilliant Hussam Abu Aysha and his captivating show “Nas wa Horras”, where he hosts the protectors and heroes of the Holy City on Al Hiwar. The same channel also broadcasts a competition to find the most beautiful Qur’an recitation.
In Jerusalem, the resistance movement is led by young people, most of whom were born after the second intifada of 2000/05. This is a generation that the occupation has targeted with all means at its disposal to corrupt and lead astray from their people and cause. However, those youngsters have demonstrated every time the impossibility of indoctrinating them, even if their appearance and behaviour seem to displease us sometimes. Once they were called to defend Al-Aqsa or the Holy City, though, they showed great courage and inspired exciting tales and sermons.
We trust in the Almighty first and foremost and then pin all our hopes on the younger generation to face the invading hordes of illegal settlers who plan to storm Al-Aqsa Mosque on 28 Ramadan. The young people of Jerusalem are, after all, a fine example of how this nation can sometimes become weak and sick but never die; and when the cries of resistance are heard, the nation displays incomparable resilience and endurance.
They inspire me whenever my motivation falters or despair tries to take a grip of me. My soul wanders in the alleys of the Old City and its public squares towards Al-Aqsa Mosque and the immensity of its honourable foundations, and I strain my ears to listen to the chants of the youth at the Damascus Gate and the solidarity shouts in Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood.
What I can offer is nothing compared with their sacrifice, and my determination is nothing without theirs. Thus I simply gather my strength and try to do whatever I can to help towards their victory and empowerment.