Watermelon, the perfect snack during a hot summer. It's tasty, healthy and it also has a powerful message to the world. Grab yourself a slice of the fruit and read up on the story of the fruit that became an icon of resistance.
Watermelons have been grown for generations of Palestinians and unlike the Western world, they are rarely consumed raw. They are an integral ingredient for a variety of their delicacies. So as to say, this fruit was a part of their culture long before they even became a symbol of resistance.
It was in 1967 when a war broke out between Israel and the Middle East which later came to be known as the Six Day War. It was soon after this war that Israel made it a crime to raise the Palestinian flag. There are rumours that Palestinians would carry a slice of watermelon as a show of resistance.
The initial idea of inculcating watermelon in art as a symbol of protest only began in the 1980s.
It was during this period that one of the prominent art galleries was forced to shut down because some of the art pieces had depictions of the Palestinian flag. Sliman Mansour was one of the artists who was arrested for his work. During an interview session with Al Jazeera, he says that the idea of the watermelon came from the Israeli officer who arrested him. He was told not to paint anything that depicted the colours of the Palestinian flag, not even a watermelon, because it had the colours of the flag.
Lo and behold that was the birth of watermelon in Palestinian art as a show of protest. The most popular one being the artwork done by Khaled Hourani titled The Story of the Watermelon (2007). As the time passed on and social media reach started growing, many individual artists came up with their own interpretations of the fruit as a symbolic representation of resistance.
The struggle is very real for Palestine, even though the Oslo Accords for peace have been signed between Palestine and Israel. Israeli forces have raided and looted the Art Center at Bethlehem, a Palestinian actress was attacked by Israeli Police for participating in a protest, and even the flags are being torn down by the Zionists in recent times.
With respect to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, the Palestinians have all the rights for their land. The support of the Israeli occupation has deep roots. The pockets are big. But the communal support is bigger and will outshine the right over the wrong. Watermelon will bring back justice.
& in Palestine,
where it is a crime to wave
the flag of Palestine in Palestine,
watermelon halves are raised
against Israeli troops
for the red, black, white, green
Ode to the Watermelon by Aracelis Grimay