Why I didn’t celebrate my birthday?

Why I didn’t celebrate my birthday?

Any new technology has its merits and its drawbacks… Before Facebook spread all over the place, I could celebrate or not celebrate my birthday and nobody would even notice. Since I was eleven or twelve, and surely before accepting the obligations of the Jewish religion in Bar Mitzvah, I stopped celebrating birthdays and everything went just fine.

With the new wave of the Arab Spring, Facebook was revealed as an indispensable platform for connecting and struggle, crossing all borders and army blocks and not stopping at any regime. I opened the “Yoav Haifawi” page on Facebook and faithfully filled in my personal details, DOB included. Congratulations started to pour in on the eve of the date and continued all along the day. As I have no good manners, and I don’t follow up on my friends’ birthdays, I was ashamed not to return the kindness and last year I invited all those that sent congratulations to join a festive gathering…

But this year the apartheid state decided to celebrate its racism and its successful ethnic cleansing of Palestine on the 6th of May. We, naturally, gathered in our masses for the 17th march of return in the destroyed village of Lubiya. (For a video in Arabic…) These were no conditions for a celebration. This is clear and simple and requires no explanation.

What is not known to many people, and I wanted to make it clear here, is that May 6th is not a well known cursed date in the history of this country. The Zionist state, after 66 years, still doesn’t have borders, neither does it play by any rules, and it doesn’t even have a well defined date for its celebrations… This time, without prior notice, it belligerently occupied the date of my birthday and prevented me from celebrating… Fortunately this occupation is shorter lived than many others… I want the people that came to congratulate me for my birthday today to know that when we will meet again next year in the 18th march of return it will be, most probably, some other people that were robbed of their birthdays.

As I was unjustly deprived of my birthday, I still can ask for my birthday present… First and foremost people need security and stability. I wish, for the sake of all of us, that we will soon see an end to the celebrations of Nakba and ethnic cleansing and that we will all celebrate instead liberation, freedom, the return of the refugees and the establishment of one democratic state in all of Palestine… Only then all people will be able to celebrate – or not celebrate – their birthdays the way the want and at any time they like.

This post was originally published in Arabic

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