small victories

Okay, it’s just ketchup, but it’s a start. I went to the cafeteria at An Najah University today after I finished teaching to get some lunch. Normally there is a tray in front of the food items with condiments in it, including small packages of ketchup. And normally that ketchup is from Israel. But today I was delighted to find that they changed it! They now offer only ketchup from Oman! Those of us in the boycott campaign on campus have been begging the cafeteria to remove Israeli items. They still have Israeli juice, but I believe that will soon change. Things are catching on here.

Campus actually feels a bit different since I got back and it’s not because it’s fall and it’s raining a bit. All of a sudden everyone is wearing their kuffiyehs. But in Palestine, unlike in Lebanon or Jordan, the color of your kuffiyeh is directly related to your political party/ideology. So here I don’t wear a black and white one as that signifies affiliation with Fatah; rather, I wear a red and white one, which signifies PFLP. So when I walk on campus I hear people asking me, “jebha?” Part of the reason may be that it is getting colder so people got their kuffiyehs out–that is certainly why I did anyway. But part of the reason, I suspect, is that student elections are under way. And like other universities in Palestine or in Lebanon students run their campaigns in line with the national political parties.

There is a second small victory here, though not yet in student elections which don’t take place until November 4th. Yesterday the Palestinian National Football team played their first match in Ar Ram, near Al Quds. I wanted to go, but timing wise it is difficult to go anywhere after I’m finished teaching. Plus we had a boycott meeting yesterday. So I didn’t go, but it was exciting to read about and to watch on television. I had long been interested in this team, though I’m not normally a sports fan. There is an interesting documentary called Goal Dreams, which shows you quite a lot about what life is like in Palestine through a story about the Palestinian National football team (that’s soccer to Americans). It’s an interesting team because the Palestinians on it come from all over–from the camps in Lebanon, the West Bank, Gaza, the U.S., and Chile. So there are unusual hurdles for the team to deal with aside from the occupation and the inability to get permits from Israeli Terrorist Forces to practice with their teammates or to play in a match. They also have to deal with the fact that there are several languages spoken on the field so normally simple team tasks, like speaking to your mate on the field, are additional challenges. There are a few clips–one of this film and one of a news story about the match that I’ll post below.

In the end the Jordanian and Palestinian team tied, but it was a victory to have a first home match in Palestinian history.

And there is yet another small victory today: there are actually Christians in the U.S. who are actively challenging and fighting Christian Zionism. I believe this will be like the boycott campaign, a long battle in which we hope to see many small victories, but in the end I hope that this new project is successful.

And just in case Rania thinks that my blog has waxed too hopeful, there are two important news items today that are not at all victories, except to say that they are covering issues rarely covered in the English-language media:

More foetus mutations detected in Gaza; Israeli nuclear waste blamed

Palestinian prisoners group calls for inquiry into 116 Sudanese prisoners in Israeli jails

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