Cape Point, Jerusalem and the Apartheid in between

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The emerald-colored ocean, the wind orchestrated waves, the greened mountains touching the zenith and beyond made South Africa’s Cape Town one of the dearest places to my heart. (I didn’t visit many).
Lying at the bottom of the continent, hearted between the Atlantic and the Indian oceans, this African pearl is one destination that definitely worth visiting and coming back to.Post apartheid Cape Town is a celebration of freedom and peace. I maybe having some euphoric feeling towards the city, but I did really love everything about it. 

Sunset at Cape Town

However, all this charm couldn’t stop my heart from thinking that I am seeing Africa’s beauty, what about the beauty of Palestine?  The caramel sunset upon the Atlantic was breathtaking; it looked very much like Gaza’s. And every time the beauty of Cape Town took me, I couldn’t help but to think that if Gaza wasn’t besieged by Israel, it would look the same. 


Gaza, a real tourist attraction

Gaza Strip, believe it or not, naturally, is a very beautiful city treasuring some real touristic attractions. The yellowish sands, the warm Mediterranean, and the hospitality of Palestinians make it a nice place for a vacation. There are some historical sites from different eras. The sea cruises feel so freshly cool, and I am sure there are many more hidden potentials. But Israel’s siege destroys any chance for this sector to thrive.  Israel’s control over crossings kills the domestic tourism, the least.  (Hardly any Palestinian from the West Bank can visit Gaza and vise versa). Let alone keeping the Strip a war zone doesn’t encourage people to visit.  Though Cape Town and Gaza are distinctively different geographically, I keep thinking that if Gaza was free, It’d look like Cape Town.

Sunset at Gaza

 

I want to visit Palestine, 

Apartheid Israel prevents Palestinians from visiting Palestine. I heard thousands of times stories about how beautiful the city of Acre is. However, I never saw any of its beauty. At school, we studied the different names of cities and what they were famous for. I learned that Jericho is the best in winter, as it is warm. Ramallah and Jerusalem were the best in summer, as they are mountainous cities. But, what we studied remained pictures in textbooks.  In a free Palestine, we’d go there for school trips.

Stunning South Africa makes me yearn to see the beauty of my own country that’s deliberately is kept away from us, so we our sense of belonging is killed. I wish I were able to tour Palestine from the very north to the very south. Palestine is not so big like South Africa, so a road trip would be enough to go everywhere in there.  That trip would include the scenery of the green hills, the sea, and the mountains. It’s a trip where I can stop to pray in Al-Aqsa mosque and spend as much time as I wish. A trip where there would be no checkpoints, no walls, no Israeli apartheid.

But for now the reality is different, going to South Africa is more possible than going Jerusalem. I remember there was one sign at Cape Point that shows the distances from that point to various cities around the world. Jerusalem was one of them. 7468km is the distance from Cape point to Jerusalem; I thought if I were a South African, I’d take a plane and end up in Palestine. 78km is the distance between Gaza and Jerusalem, but being a Palestinian makes Cape Point a more possible place to travel than Jerusalem. 

South Africa is very dear to my heart. This Cape of Good Hope sign as much sorrow it draws, it’s also brings hope. As South Africa freed itself from apartheid, so will be Jerusalem, so will be Palestine.And then we, all, will enjoy the beauty of Palestine. 

 
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One response »

  1. Here is a poem titled Remember by Don Mattera, a South African poet. It was written during the Apartheid Regime.

    Remember to call at my grave
    When freedom finally
    Walks the land
    So that I may rise
    To tread familiar paths
    To see broken chains
    Fallen prejudice
    Forgotten injury
    Pardoned pains.
    And when my eyes have filled their sight
    Do not run away from fright
    If I crumble to dust again.

    It will only be the bliss
    Of a long-awaited dream
    That bids me rest
    When freedom finally walks the land

    He wrote this poem with the belief that he would not live to see an apartheid free South Africa. Such a concept was so alien to him that this dream would materialize far into the future after his death. He was fortunate enough to see “freedom walk the land” Yes, the scars of apartheid are not fully healed. But I cannot begin to imagine the South African my parents grew up in, that is how we have come.
    I hope that one day you get to see a Palestine that is free from the hate and pain, the prejudice and shackels that Palestinians are subjected to.
    Palestine is close to our hearts and everyday she is in our prayers.

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