Wasseem El Sarraj


23 November 2012

After the Ceasefire

The morning after the ceasefire came into force in Gaza, a number of young Palestinian friends – all of them more interested in iPhones and football than kneeling down in the mosque – told me that for the first time in their lives, they feel proud. Since yesterday I have been nervous, happy, and very confused. The thought that Hamas – with the help of the ‘Arab Awakening’ – might have ended the blockade is troubling. The group has cordoned off public space in Gaza, restricting both freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. I was raised in the West, brought up on the slippery words and subtleties of diplomacy: ‘non-violence’, ‘conflict resolution’ – these were the notions that I was taught growing up; these, I was assured, were the tools for ending oppression. At times many of us in the community said to Hamas: you need to be moderate, you need to stop the rockets, you need to trust Obama (we really said that).