Palestinian Women: A Story of Power and Resilience

raja hamayel
Posted October 24, 2021 from Palestine

In a village south of Jerusalem, lives Asmahan, a woman who owns grape yards surrounded by a Jewish settlement inhabited by American Jews who came to what they believe is their promised land. Asmahan who does not recall any of the traces for the alleged ancestors of the settlers in her grove yard, nor does she remember their presence in her early childhood has to deal with this new reality. She cannot easily access her land nor harvest her grapes anymore. The settlers who are heavily armed with machine guns deliberately cross her way pointing their guns on her and her children who usually accompany her to the harvest of the grapes. Asmahan usually returns back home with a feeling of defeat and anger. Asmahan manages to suppress her anger because she fears for her children’s safety.

One day, Asmahan was awoken by her children’s loud crying and screaming directed at the settlers who were robbing their grapes. For the first time, Asamahan stood ferociously on her backyard and burst out in anger challenging the settlers. These armed settlers who are taking pleasure in committing this robbery are aware they are protected and supported by their government.  On the other side of the land, Asmahan is alone, vulnerable and almost completely helpless. Nevertheless, Asmahan’s adrenaline was running high and she even took her slippers off and threw it on them, hoping she can intimidate them. The group of young and brainwashed settlers continued committing robbery while not paying any attention to her anger nor were they frightened by her slippers.

When they left, Asmahan rushed to her grape yard to see if anything was left for her and her family. She was not surprised when she found all the ripen grapes were stolen and what was left were some sprigs of spoiled grapes. Dragging herself with anger she walked home determined to find a way to stop the theft of her grapes. Asmahan spent a few days only thinking about the best way to protect her grape yard.  Finally, she was able to figure out a way that will deter their barbaric violations.  She realized that settlers only attack during the harvest seasons. Accordingly, she decided to prepare a real surprise for the upcoming harvest time.

The sprigs of grapes started to blossom on vine trees finding their way clearly among the green leaves but their taste remains sour. Asmahan and her young children spent all afternoons over a whole week picking up all the grape sour sprigs they were able to reach. Harvest was accomplished but this time it was a green harvest with piles of unripen sour grapes. Asmahan was able to find a recipe that would change the grape sours into sumac (a well-known national Palestinian herb/spice) with some few other ingredients she was able to make a huge amounts of sumac and filled them in jars and sold it to various grocery shops in the city of Hebron. Asmahan packaged her product and named her label “Sumac for Us, Better than grapes for the Thieves”

The smile Asmahan had on her face seeing the settlers’ disappointment when they were trying to find one sprig of ripen grapes was that of victory. It’s important to note that resilience grows in our backyards sometimes.

Comments 15

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Tamarack Verrall
Oct 24
Oct 24

Dear Raja,
This is such a victorious story of a woman farmer's innovation in the face of laws, borders and theft that all too often take place with no respect for people on their ancestral land. This same theft continues in my country, with indigenous land being taken over for the financial gain of others. Welcome to World Pulse and congratulations on your first story.

raja hamayel
Oct 24
Oct 24

Thank you for the comment on my story. I know how hard iy is for uou too. Love and support from all Palestinian women

megsmueller
Oct 24
Oct 24

Hello Raja and welcome to World Pulse. Thank you for your first story. I actually felt her frustration but then I admire her resilience. Land theft is far from "a thing of the past". To this day, my family is struggling to claim their land. Asmahan is wise woman! I really enjoyed this story. Thank you for sharing.

Queen Sheba D Cisse
Oct 25
Oct 25

Dear Raja, greetings and such a good story of Asmahan and her farming project of growing grapes. Farmers I give them big props of respect for it is such a huge job to take on and you have to have much knowledge to be successful as well as money to keep the harvest ongoing to meet the demands for the people and profit from what I understand.
Asmahan is full of courage as well. Unfortunately krooks and thieves are plentiful and will always try to take what is not their own.
Much success to you and congratulations on writing your first story at WP,
Mama Queen

raja hamayel
Oct 25
Oct 25

Thank you Queen Sheba. I am happy you liked my story

Queen Sheba D Cisse
Oct 25
Oct 25

Yes dear, congratulations, cheers to you!
Mama Queen Sheba

Ethanuz
Oct 25
Oct 25

Smart and strategic. Go girl. You beat them without resorting to actual violence but with sheer genius and resilience. You proved yourself by overpowering your enemies with patience and wisdom. Congratulations.

raja hamayel
Oct 25
Oct 25

Thank you for admiring the resilience and power of Palestinian women who face these acts almist daily and yet stay strt

Elizabeth Francis
Oct 25
Oct 25

This is a beautiful story, what was meant for evil turned around for good, by determination and resilience. We as women know only too well of how many times we have had to see the promise in the problem.. Very inspiring, dear keep up the great work..

raja hamayel
Oct 25
Oct 25

Thank you for the encouraging words

Phinnie
Oct 25
Oct 25

What a powerful story of unfairness on the part of outsiders who act as bullies...And yet ingenuity and creativity and persistence prevail! It can be so tempting to stay angry and to stay in victim mode and yet when we follow our beliefs and find our inner strength and creativity, we can find hope and possible solutions! Thank-you for sharing this story Raja!

raja hamayel
Oct 25
Oct 25

Thank you for admiring the resilience of Palestinian women

Karin vonKrenner
Oct 26
Oct 26

Never stand between a mother and the future of her children...

Zulma Miranda
Oct 29
Oct 29

Dear Raja -- Asmahan's story of terror and greed turned hopeful and abundant brought me so much hope. It reminds me to find strength and to see the light even in the darkest moments. Grateful for your voice dear Raja.

raja hamayel
Oct 31
Oct 31

Thank you for the support and encouragement