…We, the youth in Gaza, are so fed up with Israel, Hamas, the occupation, the violations of human rights and the indifference of the international community! We want to scream and break this wall of silence, injustice and indifference like the Israeli F16’s breaking the wall of sound; scream with all the power in our souls in order to release this immense frustration that consumes us because of this fucking situation we live in; we are like lice between two nails living a nightmare inside a nightmare, no room for hope, no space for freedom…
I’d seen the manifesto while in Gaza on the day it emerged. I thought and think it powerful and essentially true. I wondered who the authors are since the English is so good. It may have been originally in Arabic and translated by a native English speaker. Somewhat suspicious, I asked around about it being bona fide. At that time few others had seen it, including university age youth I work with. One friend told me it is authentic—not a provocation intended to elicit a crackdown by Hamas—and that she knows the group and would try to introduce me to it. Which didn’t happen before I left Gaza on December 31, 2010, unfortunately.
Indeed, Hamas closed Sharek Youth Forum, violently and with some arrests and detention, causing a tidal wave of indignation. They also closed what I think is the only art gallery in the strip, Windows from Gaza. I know the gallery, had a photo included in an exhibit commemorating the one year anniversary of Israel’s assault in 2008 known as Operation Cast Lead, know many of the artists (it’s a collective), booked it for an exhibition last year of my students’ photos, and hoped to use it again this year until informed about the closure.
In addition, Hamas banned a Gaza hip-hop group called DARG Team after they’d achieved world fame. As someone explained to me, the politics expressed by the music, for women’s rights for instance, played some role, but the banning occurred only after the group achieved international attention.
Inspired by the linguistic style of the manifesto, I’d say the internal political division sucks, and most there would agree. Israel’s treatment of Gaza sucks, as does Egypt’s and the USA’s. The world’s ignorance also sucks, to be honest, and creates a great deal of resentment. However, among many (not all, despair is rampant), sumud, steadfastness, prevails. This manifesto is one manifestation.
This is the first article about the Manifesto that I know about:
…This is the first time that a group of young Palestinian cyber-activists has agreed to meet a journalist since launching what it calls Gaza Youth’s Manifesto for Change. It is an incendiary document – written with courage and furious energy – that has captivated thousands of people who have come across it online, and the young university students are visibly excited, but also scared. “Not only are our lives in danger; we are also putting our families at risk,” says one of them, who calls himself Abu George…
Exhibited in Windows from Gaza art gallery before closure