It is a long time that we, secular supporters of the Syrian Revolution in Palestine, feel that we have to raise our voice in the street. It is not easy. First of all, we are always busy with the daily struggle to defend Palestinian rights again Israeli Apartheid. Actually the “Palestinians for the Syrian Revolution” group that was formed in Haifa at the beginning of 2011 was all but dissolved as the activists were preoccupied with organizing support of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strikes.
The supporters of the Assad regime don’t suffer from this problem. They made a habit of coming to all sorts of Palestinian Patriotic Demonstrations with the regime’s flag and pictures of the Syrian tyrant – and make a show in the middle of the demonstration at the expense of national unity. In the day of the land, 30/3/2013, in the central demonstration with many thousands in Sakhnin, about a dozen of “Shabiha”, after making their show to the cameras, attacked the crew of Al Jazeera and cause a mass brawl as people from the public jumped to oppose them. In the March of Return, in 16/4/2013, the Islamic movement preferred not to join the march in order to avoid a quarrel. The supporters of the revolution, on the other side, like the real mothers in King Solomon’s judgment, will not split the Palestinian patriotic struggle to make their point.
So it was good that the date was set for us by the international solidarity movement to Friday, 31.5.2013. We met at the demonstration against the evacuation of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah (also in occupied Jerusalem) on Friday, May 17, and planned to stand in Bab Al’Amud – symbolicly named Damascus Gate – on the 31st.
After the call for the demonstration was published on Facebook, many of the supporters of the demonstration received direct and blatant threats. Shabiha supporters were not ashamed to say they will come and attack the demonstration just in front of the occupation army that is heavily present at occupied AlQuds. For us it was a problem again. Palestinian leftists and democratic activist are used to confront the army and the police, ready to be beaten or arrested, but not used to the idea of being attacked by members of their own public.
Only the hard core of the revolution’s secular supporters finally arrived in Bab Al’Amud today at 18:00 – some fifty youth, about half of them women, from AlQuds, Yaffa, Haifa and many other places all over Palestine and some Syrians from the occupied Golan heights.
We raised the Palestinian flags along the Flags of the Syrian revolution and chanted the known, beloved slogans of the heroic freedom loving Syrian people. When someone tried to raise “against us” the Syrian regime’s flag, one of the demonstrators told him: “Let me raise it, it is the flag of Syria and we all honor it” – and she carried it all along the demonstration between the flags of the revolution, shouting for the toppling of the bloody dictatorship.
It seems there was no organized attempt to bring in the Shabiha, but some people in the crowd that gathered tried to attack the demonstration. They were swiftly outnumbered by other people from the public, held and removed from the scene. Nobody in the demonstration was attacked or even had to intervene against the disruption. It was the best feeling after this tense week – to see that a random public in a busy Palestinian market street would defend us and effectively dismantle any provocation.
Some people that just happened to pass in the street, some women, some religious types, some youth, all joined the vigil, carried the banners and joined the chanting.
The Palestinian people suffered so much from oppression, carry such a long experience in struggle and the heavy price that you have to pay for your freedom, that they are they people best poised to understand the Syrian people and live with them the hope and the pain of the revolution.
Before we went home we were plotting the next demonstration, on Sunday 2/6, in front of the Jordanian embassy in Tel Aviv – in solidarity with the Jordanian prisoners in Israeli jails who are on hunger strike against their harsh treatment.