Scenes from an Occupied Wedding

Palestinians have now endured the longest occupation in history, 35 years for some, whereas some others have endured its effects for more than 50 years. Occupation is so pervasive affecting every facet of people’s lives. However, people continue their resistance in various forms. A very basic thing like smiling is an act of resistance. Of more consequence is to get married or the decision to have children under the awful circumstances. Tanks on the streets of Bethlehem, and 80+% unemployment didn’t deter this couple from going to their wedding. It is also a sign of resistance against the occupation that engulfs them.

Occupation also has meant that people can’t plan anything. It is not possible to tell friends to come over or meet at a restaurant ? it is not possible to know ahead of time when to meet, or if they will have time to make it home before the next curfew is imposed. Occupation has also made people plan for their deaths! It is not uncommon to have a dead person at home for several days, and only then will the local Israeli army commander issue a permit for the undertaker to remove the body. The Israeli army also restricts the number of mourners attending the funeral. So, people are encouraged to die during non-curfew hours! The announcement for weddings is done on the local TV “You are cordially invited to our wedding to take place at the church on the first non curfew day, one hour after the curfew is lifted.”

Note that Nablus has been under curfew since June, thus more than 100 days. The word “curfew” is perhaps a misconception. As Sam Bahour, a Palestinian writer in Ramallah, has said, “lock down” is a more accurate term to describe their condition. In Nablus people aren’t allowed to go to the rooftops, balconies, or stand next to the windows ? they risk being shot by a sniper. The residents of Nablus are only allowed onto the streets for four hours every week. People will then have to scramble to get the basic survival supplies ? and at the same time try to sell the few family possessions left to obtain the necessary money for survival.”

— this description of the pervasiveness of occupation is based on a talk, “I resist therefore I am,” given by Dr. Nuha Khoury in London on Sept. 9, 2002. She is a resident of Bethlehem and a Coordinator at the Dar Al Kalima Academy.

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