When Smiles are Resistance

Sometimes non-violence is grand, planned, and news worthy. This weekend, I witnessed a form of resistance that seemed so small at first, it almost went unnoticed. It was being a kid.

I joined Ta’ayush for the day and sat with a Palestinian landowner in Umm Al Reis, who, in the past, has been unable to access his land due to settler violence. At one point, the Palestinian land owner and a few of us (though not me personally) were attacked by three settlers.

The settlers came down after the kids, who were running around and playing, got too close for their taste to the hilltop settlement, Mizpe Yair.

A video from Saturday, where three settlers attacked a Palestinian and Jewish activists

These kids dared to have fun, to enjoy a Saturday playing. And this bothered the settlers enough to come and engage in verbal and physical violence against the Palestinian landowner and those standing with him.

Yet, even as the soldiers drove down and pushed us back, the kids refused to give up their play and their carefree attitudes. As one soldier kept pushing the kids back slightly, they responded by clapping their hands loudly while laughing. As the soldier commanded the landowner to keep everyone with the small area they decided was acceptable for us to be in, the kids played tug-of-war with their bodies just within the border of that space.

Once back behind the invisible line, one of the smaller girls put her hands up towards her father until he threw her up in the air and caught her over and over again. And for that moment, they both had beaming smiles on their faces.

Throughout the process, the soldiers were becoming increasingly frustrated, telling the parents to deal with their kids.

These may seem like small, insignificant actions and reactions, but these kids understood something huge– that to simply experience moments of childhood is in and of itself a huge resistance to the occupation.

And for a moment, as someone who bore witness to these actions, I too had a beaming smile.

Hey, tell me what you think!