Maria Urkedal York writing from Nablus, occupied West Bank, Live from Palestine, 27 March 2008
(Maria Urkedal York is from Norway and currently lives in Nablus where she works with the Right to Education Campaign at An-Najah University)
"...... As someone who came here hoping to bring clarity to the hazy and media-influenced image I had of the life and people in Palestine, the contrasts visible everywhere still continue to astonish me even after four months. No matter how trivial and shallow some of the traces of the military occupation might seem at first, their marks are everywhere, forcing themselves onto the landscape and people's lives, hinting to the many layers and the depths of the effects of the occupation.......
It is the constant reminder that every aspect of people's lives here is affected by the occupation. My Palestinian friends who have lived their whole lives in this context tell me that one of the worst things of existing under such conditions is that after a while it becomes normal. One comes to expect everything. One has to endure everything. One has to remain hopeful that life will become easier one day. But when I ask how they understand the situation, they tell me that it is just getting worse; although they want to remain hopeful for future improvements, reality has shown them too many times that hope can be deceiving. Imagine yourself living in conditions of constant oppression, discrimination and insecurity I tell my friends back home, and I know they cannot. I cannot even imagine it myself. My little red passport, always kept in my pocket, feels somehow like a protective shield."