We will Play on our Land

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Many may say that this is strange or outride weird, but the message was clear and strong, “This is our land and we have the right do as we want on it … even play football…” This was the statement made by Abdullah, one of the leaders of the Popular Committee to Resist the Wall in Southern Bethlehem when asked to comment on this weeks protest in the village of Um Salamona south of Bethlehem.

As part of the continuously growing nonviolent movement in the Southern part of Bethlehem, more Palestinians were joined by internationals and Israelis to protest the building of the Wall this Friday through a football/soccer match that was held on the exact path of the wall. Once the wall is constructed 70% of the agricultural land of the southern Bethlehem villages will become prohibited to the farmers. No farming, no playing, no livelihood, and eventually no existence to all Palestinians living in that area.

Over one hundred activists participated in this event that began with a procession from the village of Wadi Nees (whose football team is the nation’s champions) to the land. Once we reached the location where the wall will be build we divided into two teams one made up of the Palestinians and the other mostly of the international and Israeli activists. The Israeli army came in with over 50 heavily armed troops and surrounded the protest match.

The purpose of this particular activity was not to engage in confrontation with Israeli soldiers but to commit to a goal and achieving it. The presence of the Israeli army meant nothing to all those who were there, because the most important thing has developed for this community: The fear factor has disappeared. 

This is true power of nonviolnce; while injustice might exist, excuses for not confronting the injusutce disappear. 

A Palestinian boy plays football during a protest at the construction site of the Apartheid Wall in the village of Umm Salamona, south of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, Friday May 25, 2007. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)

Two Palestinians and an international activist, right, play football during a protest at the construction site of the Apartheid Wall in the village of Umm Salamona, south of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, Friday May 25, 2007. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)

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9 thoughts on “We will Play on our Land

  1. what a wonderful idea to play football in front of the wall.
    May you have pic nic and dance and joy, may there be concerts and theathers.
    May life take place where ignorance, pain and fear has manifested as a wall!
    May the courrageous and peacefull ones be blessed,
    May peace and social justice come back for all of you,
    May both sides live in peace and happiness together,

    greetings dear friends,

    Barbara Salaam

  2. What a wonderful idea to play football in front of the wall.
    May you have pic nic and dance and joy, may there be concerts and clowns.
    May life take place where ignorance,pain and fear has manifested as a wall!
    May the peacefull ones and the courrageous be blessed,
    May peace and social justice come back in your country,
    May both sides learn to live together, in peace and happiness.

    greetings dear friends,

    Barbara Salaam

  3. Doug Willbanks

    Many of us work each day for your freedom. My heart is with you every day.
    Israel needs conflict in order to have a reason to take more of your land. So please continue with non-violent resistance. The truth of what Israel has done to your people is finally getting out.
    God bless you all. Doug

  4. David Mowat

    Hi Sami. Hi Samir, Marwan and all my friends
    Fantastic. My heart is with you. When I was 11 I used to be left winger, and though I stayed left wing when i grew older, I found I needed 2 wings to fly.
    Stay in touch
    Love and peace -the kind of playful, active peace you make- from David (Bristol EAPPI)

  5. ginni stern

    Dear Sami and friends,
    May you play, sing, dance love, sleep, dream, plant, sow, harvest, eat, drink and breathe in saftey, peace and understanding… for a hundred thousand generations.
    With swelled heart, your friend, ginni

  6. Shan Barclay

    Football is an international sport that reaches across many frontiers and the right that Palestinians have to play football and have their team internationally recognised and able to compete internationally is recognised by FIFA.
    So why did not FIFA penalise Israel when the Israeli airforce bombed the Palestinian football ground?
    Why can’t Palestine’s team be invited here to the UK to play England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland in friendly matches?
    One of the best footabll matches I’ve ever taken part in was one organised by the local Palestinian Society here in Norwich England. It was truly international and of mixed ages and the referee (who also had to play because of numbers) was never once even questioned, let alone disputed with about a decision ! What’s more there were only accidental fouls and the level of courtesy and commitment was amazing.

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