Thursday, October 29, 2009

Zen and Palestinian Women's Soccer

Yes, this was a zen moment for me.

I am surrounded by 10,000 screaming Palestinian soccer fans, waving their red, green, and white flags. The same old Arabic song is blaring from nearby speakers. My salivary glands ooze at the faint smell of kabob on the grill. My camera is rolling as two women in hijabs go up for a header.

Yes, I had achieved the managed to combine the things I hold close to my heart, the Jaron Gilinsky Trifecta.

1. Soccer
2. Middle Eastern Street Food
3. Stories of Just, Non-Violent, Political and/or Social Struggle

For 90 minutes on Monday, there was no Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Along with the other 10,000-plus spectators at Faisal Husseiny Stadium in Alram, we had unwittingly entered a holy sanctuary of sport. Sir, Ma'am, please check your harsh social and political realities at the door.

But don't forget them on the way out.

It took me 3 and a half hours to get out of the West Bank that night.

There was bumper to bumper traffic all the way to the Kalandia checkpoint. As I got to the front of the line, the Israeli soldiers simply vacated their posts without saying a word to anyone. Kids began hurling rocks at the empty concrete shells.

I was pissed off and frustrated. The Palestinians seemed to be used to this chaos. The jumble of cars packed like sardines all tried to reverse at once. It felt like a game of high stakes bumper cars.

Nearly four hours after the final whistle, I travelled less than 5 kilometers to reach the other checkpoint at Hizme, said "Mah Nishma?" to the female Israeli soldier, and I was back in Jerusalem.

See the Video Here

Jackline Jazrawi, 23
Left Defender from Bethlehem during Palestinian National Anthem

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