When I set out to the streets of Ramallah today [September 10], the sights I saw reminded me of the city during the Intifada: Ramallah had come to a screeching halt. This time, it was fathers protesting their inability to feed their children, and young men chanting, “Give us a better life, or at least an emigration visa.”
The tension in the West Bank comes as no surprise at time when the young people feel that they are left to their own devices. More and more good friends of mine — young, educated people — have lost their jobs in recent months. One is an engineer, the other an international relations expert, the third a journalist. They all turn to their parents to survive, sitting at home, sending out Cvs, and starting to despair. They travel abroad to study, hoping to stay there for good.
Although angry crowds burned tires and clashes with the police took place here and there, this time it was an organized demonstration — the first organized strike in many years. “We have no money to pay salaries,” Abu Mazen (Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas) admitted in his address, instructing the police not to interfere with the demonstrators.
“It’s as if he wants us to go out into the streets and rise up,” said a friend of mine, a cab driver in the city. “And rise up we shall.”