Written by Soraya Misleh – PSTU
Tuesday, 21 April 2015 15:06
“Amanhã vai ser outro dia”.  The song by Chico Buarque, sung at the Israel-controlled border of occupied Palestine on March 31st by the Brazilian delegation which had come from the World Social Forum in Tunisia couldn’t be more fitting. Living under constant Israeli apartheid, colonization and ethnic cleansing, the Palestinian people show every day, through their resistance, the meaning of this song.
That’s what the Brazilian humanitarian mission is seeing again and again while crossing the battered Palestinian land. There, every basic human right is violated by Israel. Resistance, for the Palestinians, is translated as existence. Going to school, to work, to a hospital, requires long hours and coping with many difficulties and inhuman treatment. The Palestinians persist, and are an example of endurance, of a people that never gives up. The blood poured over almost 67 years, since Israel was founded over the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians – on May 15, 1948 – fuels the heroic resistance of this population. The tears dropped for all the suffering, neglect and complicity of governments that, in practice, do very little or nothing to change this reality, sow the path of struggle and keep it fertile, certain of the righteousness of their cause.
A demonstration of the nature of Israel is given to the Brazilian delegation already on its way across the border. After five hours of waiting and questioning, two out of the 15 members of the delegation were denied entry – Mohamed Kadri and I, Soraya Misleh – who have Arabic origins, despite being Brazilian born. The clear discrimination became obvious, as we have long denounced. Although the Israeli authorities had been alerted of our journey by the Brazilian government and at no point had expressed that some of the members would not be allowed to enter the occupied Palestine, they disdainfully dismissed that fact.
At the border, the coordinators of the mission presented the phone numbers of the representatives of the Brazilian government, who were expecting us, so they could talk to them. The so-called border police said that they did not care. They ignored the Brazilian government, an insult to one of its preferred business partners, a position that we repudiate.
As Brazilian citizens of Arabic origin faced this situation of being labeled a threat to Israel’s security, an entourage of Israeli businessmen circulated freely through the Brazilian states looking for deals, offering their water supply technologies. The company responsible for Israeli water supply – Mekorot – is the same one which inhumanely restricts access to Palestinians, without which they cannot survive. And it is with this company that Brazilian water companies have signed business contracts. Our demand for boycott of Israel and rupture of trade, military and diplomatic agreements between Brazil and Israel is a more than fair request. It’s an effective gesture of solidarity with the Palestinian people.
The impact of the entry ban to occupied Palestine to me and Mohamad for a second time was hard. This time, since we expected to be supported by the Brazilian government, it was ravaging. To be labeled a threat, as if we were terrorists solely because of our Arabic origin – and coming from those who promote apartheid and ethnic cleansing – is unacceptable. As a descendant of Palestinians, the refusal sounds like retaliation for accusations we have made against this racist state. We are fully aware that this is an attempt to silence the entire community as an example that if we denounce the occupation we can no longer visit the land of our ancestors and embrace our families. A daily blackmail, so that the Palestinians remain silent. We are still awaiting from the Brazilian government a firm statement demanding the reconsideration of this absurd decision.
It is indeed quite the sad fact we can’t embrace our families. It is outrageous to have to ask permission to visit the land where my father was born and from which he was torn violently in 1948, alongside with another 800,000 Palestinians expelled during the ethnic cleansing by Israel on the early years of occupation. The numbers only grew from there. We can’t hold back our tears, but we know, like all Palestinians, that the struggle requires sacrifices. And it is in the millions of refugees waiting for the return to their lands, in the 1.5 million Palestinians who are now living within Israel, subjected to discrimination and racist laws, and in the thousands who survive the apartheid that we find strength to move on.
To the many who have expressed solidarity, the words of Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish: ” But we have an incurable malady: hope. Hope in liberation and independence. Hope in a normal life where we are neither heroes nor victims. Hope that our children will go safely to their schools. Hope that a pregnant woman will give birth to a living baby, at the hospital, and not a dead child in front of a military checkpoint; hope that our poets will see the beauty of the color red in roses rather than in blood; hope that this land will take up its original name: the land of love and peace. Thank you for carrying with us the burden of this hope.” 
To the other members of the humanitarian mission: you are our eyes and voices today.
“Despite you, tomorrow will be another day.”
Notes: – Amanhã será outro dia (Tomorrow will be another day), from the song “Apesar de você” (Despite you, 1970), by Chico Buarque de Hollanda is an accusation against the Brazilian military dictatorship (1964-1985), whose refrain says: despite of you, tomorrow will be another day.  – Mahmoud Darwish, On the Incurable Malady of Hope
Translation by: Gabriel Tolstoy