Apartheid, Up Close and Personal

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Went through another checkpoint today. We pulled up to it, and they had the routine initial questions:

Them: Who is with you?
Us: Americans
Them: We’re going to check

So they boarded the bus. Machine guns, attitude, and settler colonial privilege.

Today though, instead of two soldiers, we had one soldier, and one Blackwater contractor.

Yes, you read that correctly. Blackwater. The same private contractors which the US hires to supplement our own troops’ war crimes in Iraq and elsewhere. Apartheid Israel hires them here too, to supplement their soldiers’ war crimes.

They considered taking us off the bus to examine us individually. They decided not to.

They would have if we were Palestinian. Instead we carry blue passports, which signal our complicity in the Zionist project of colonialism and ethnic cleansing.

Everyone sat up. Passports out and open to the picture page.

I’ve never been as close to a machine gun and someone who could use it with impunity than I have been at these checkpoints.

Just a few minutes and we’re cleared as safe. Not a threat. We’re ok to go. Just like that, the encounter is done.

I’ve lived this twice in a few days now. The fear decreases slightly, the annoyance, frustration, and indignation increase exponentially.

Palestinians do this daily. Sometimes multiple times in one day. Work, school, hospital, passing through an area full of Zionist colonizers, you’ll need to endure and invasive checkpoint. You’ll need to open your life up to examination. You’ll be required to play nice with someone who could kill you in the blink of an eye.

This is apartheid, up close and personal.