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Musings, Valentine's Day

Love Under Apartheid

As people get ready to embrace their loved ones, purchase those dozen roses and heart-shaped chocolates, and express their affection; Palestinians are having to go through barbed wires, checkpoints, walls, army jeeps, settler colonies and laws that prevent them from being with the ones they love.

This year, Valentine’s Day pays homage to all of those struggling to maintain their relationship or even be together due to the Israeli regime. A situation that many of us have sadly overlooked.


The Israeli occupation has existed for nearly 70 years now, and Palestinians living under its control have been exposed to various constraints and have been granted very few rights and privileges. From restrictions on movement, to limits on freedom of expression, employment discrimination, and limitations on legal rights; they have now added to that extensive list restrictions on who you can and cannot be with. The laws ban a Palestinian from the West Bank and Gaza from living with their spouses in occupied Palestine, as well as banning Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza from reuniting with their families who were expelled, or had fled to the occupied territories. On a daily basis, Palestinians are forced to go through checkpoints, walls, and an army of soldiers in order to pay their loved ones a mere visit. Separation in Palestine isn’t only distance, it’s the law.

Love Under Apartheid is a project that launched a few hours ago, and was developed to showcase the extent in which Israel’s discriminatory policies affects the lives of individuals in Palestine. How deeply this system restricts the Palestinians’ human rights, including that of their personal right to love. Tanya Keilani, who is the project founder and coordinator of this awe-inspiring initiative, explains that when looking for a partner to spend the rest of our lives with, we all naturally think about our futures – where we’re going to settle, work and raise our children – but planning a future is a completely different experience for Palestinians.

The Love Under Apartheid project is a video project highlighting Palestinians’ stories (at home and abroad) of how the Israeli laws, occupation, and siege have directly affected their ability to fall in love, and has defined their lives for the past 70 years. As Tanya so aptly put it, “In a place where love is made nearly impossible, these stories hope to capture singular moments of love in struggle.”

Minutes after this project took off, a twitter hashtag, #LoveUnderApartheid, trended worldwide in less than four minutes. The hashtag trend, in its own way, made the institutionalized oppression of Palestinians more personal and real, rather than a case of mere statistics. As one tweep put it, “[LoveUnderApartheid] reframes what people have desensitized into an explicit political situation back into a human problem.” The contribution and unification of everyone on twitter was indeed the best way I could have spent this Valentine’s Day. What an inspiration to be able to virtually unite with so many strangers over one cause – our love for Palestine.

On this Valentine’s Day, all I can say is: Palestine, although I have only been able to love you from a distance, my hope never wavers that one day, we will meet. Today, you are my one and true Valentine, and so I dedicate this post to you.

For those who have not yet watched the promotional video for Love Under Apartheid, you can do so here. It is worth watching. And don’t forget to visit the website to learn more about the project.

Happy Valentine’s Day


About smshamma

"I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control, and at times hard to handle, but if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best." - Marilyn Monroe


8 thoughts on “Love Under Apartheid

  1. Thats called ..love.. I like this suad ..good job..LOVE U…

    Posted by Ghada Talib Younis | February 14, 2012, 15:20
  2. That video is amazing i love them

    Posted by Dimah S | February 14, 2012, 15:22
  3. Reblogged this on hitsugayatoushiro10 and commented:
    A great piece about Love Under Apartheid in Palestine!

    Posted by dimahshamma | February 14, 2012, 15:31
  4. Despite going daily through checkpoints and walls. it’s noticeable that Israeli couldn’t destroy the social fabric of the Palestinian society. Palestinians still love, fall in love and celebrate any cheerful occasion; such as valentines day! this just demonstrates how strong is the Palestinians.

    مازل ينطبق عليهم قصيدة الشهيد, كما نحسبه, شاعر عبدالرحيم محمود : شعب تَمرَّس في الصِّعاب ولم تَنَلْ منه الصعاب, لو هَمُّه انتاب الهضاب لدُكْدِكَتْ منه الهضاب, مُتَمَرِّدٌ لم يَرْضَ يومًا أن يُقِرَّ على عذاب

    keep it up ;)

    Posted by Tariq Al-Basha | February 14, 2012, 22:48
  5. I like this post, enjoyed this one thanks for posting .

    Posted by Martha Saha | March 29, 2012, 04:11
  6. This is very antisemitic.

    Posted by Shuli | February 14, 2013, 13:59

    Posted by Shuli | February 14, 2013, 14:01

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