RAMALLAH, March 6 (JMCC) - Palestinian young people are inspired by the revolutions sweeping the Arab world, reports
journalist Sandy Tolan.
The demonstrations these Palestinian youths helped organise were quickly banned, sometimes with clubs, by a Palestinian Authority (PA) with deep historic and political ties to the Tunisian and Egyptian dictatorships. But then other groups began forming their own demonstrations. And Berekdar and her friends, through email loops and a face-to-face thinking group of about 20 academics and intellectuals, organised new protests. We were suppressed by the PA a second time and a third time, she says. Soon Palestinian authorities began to investigate the group.
One of our group members was called by the police, and by the intelligence, and by - I don't know, we have four security forces, I think, Berekdar says. (Actually, there are five.) They stayed at his home until one in the morning. The mukhabarat assumed the young man was the ringleader, Berekdar recalls with amusement. They pressed him for details of the hierarchy of what is in fact a loose, ever-shifting coalition that only recently got a name: Hirak Shebab, or Youth Movement. It is an informal, mostly leaderless group - a concept the centralised PA does not seem to grasp.
The question, writes Tolan, is whether the revolutionary fire will catch on.