gender has its privileges

Or at least sometimes it does. I headed up to Nablus this morning to spend the day. I was paranoid about the Huwara checkpoint being busy and I didn’t know how many in between the service would find so I left really early in the morning. Amazingly the trip, including the checkpoints, were a bit sparse this morning. Huwara is still the same for the most part. It’s like the other checkpoints like Qalandia (near Ramallah) used to be. All the service and taxi drivers waiting in a parking area to take people to their next destination. The morning was beautiful–the sky was a beautiful sky blue with bushy white clouds above and the trees swaying in the breeze. I realized so many morning sounds I missed–the man selling ka’ak, the athan, service drivers calling out names of towns and villages to people needing a ride and even the fireworks last night that sound too much like guns to me. The morning smell of fresh coffee and bread baking, too, are things I missed here. I also missed seeing all the people selling fresh fruits and vegetables as well as odds and ends at checkpoints like the others used to be. Huwara in the afternoon, however, was another story. Checkpoints were far more crowded and the wait was long for walkers and drivers alike. However, it seemed that today this was only the case for men. There was a line for women to walk right through Huwara and at various checkpoints back to Ramallah it was the same thing. The Israeli Occupation soldiers only wanted to collect the huwiyas of the men in the service.

The roads between Ramallah and Nablus were filled with new billboards mostly advertising the Palestine Investment Conference that just took place and also a really fantastic nakba billboard. The nakba poster says “not for sale” in the center of it and I wonder if this was both an allusion to Palestine not being for sale in terms of bargaining away Palestinian rights for some bulls*&^ concept of peace that really means further occupation and apartheid as well as to the Palestine Investment Conference.

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