Opinion on the symbolism of watermelon in Palestinian culture and struggle

During the hot summer months, watermelon is considered a symbol of freshness and comfort, as its delicious water harmonizes with the high temperatures, making it an ideal companion during times of rest and relaxation. But have you ever thought about watermelons as a symbol of Palestinian resistance?

The strength and tenacity of watermelon embody the will to survive. This delicious fruit has a strong connection with Palestinians because the colors of the Palestinian flag (black, white, green, red) match the colors of the cut watermelon fruit. Cut into slices.

The symbolism of the watermelon in Palestine has several factors. Historically, watermelon cultivation was common in Palestine until it became an integral part of its people’s culture and traditions.

During this season, watermelon is not missing from Palestinian tables, and they prefer to eat it with white cheese and traditional taboo bread. “A flat bread” made in a clay oven called a “taboon” was used by the ancient Palestinians. This bread got its name, or was placed on a stone, because when the fire was kindled it turned into bread. Give it a very high heat so the bread is cooked after the stone remains on it. Creates a nice bubble-like shape that helps make it soft on the inside.

Use watermelon as a flag

The use of the watermelon as a Palestinian symbol is not new; the symbol first appeared in 1967, when Israel took control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and annexed East Jerusalem.

The Israeli government subsequently banned the public from carrying the Palestinian flag, deeming it a crime in Gaza and the West Bank.

As a form of protest, until this ban was overcome, Palestinians began using watermelons, representing the colors of Palestine, as an alternative symbol.

Palestinians began carrying watermelon slices to display at demonstrations and protests as a symbol of resistance and determination, and since then, the watermelon has become a popular symbol of Palestinian resistance.

Watermelon as an artistic symbol

In 1993, Israel lifted its ban on the Palestinian flag following the Oslo Accords, which provided for the formation of an autonomous Palestinian transitional authority and granted Palestinian rights in parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip that Israel occupied in June . With the lifting of the ban following the 1967 war, watermelon became deeply ingrained in people’s hearts.

In 2007, following the second intifada, Palestinian artists created art depicting watermelons as a symbol of resistance. Palestinian painter and art critic Khaled Hourani has written a book titled “Self – Atlas of Palestine”. “The painting quickly became famous and was exhibited in many art galleries around the world.

This encouraged many other artists to create artwork using watermelons as a symbol of unity.

The symbol made a comeback in 2021 after an Israeli court ordered Palestinian families to move out of their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem.

The image of the watermelon – in many Palestinian cartoons, slogans, posters, emoticons and in many struggles and propaganda campaigns – has become a true symbol of Palestinians’ persistence in their identity and land and an expression of their willpower and steadfastness. Face challenges and careers.

watermelon on social media

In view of Facebook’s policies and restrictions on access to pro-Palestinian posts, the site’s pioneers used innovative methods such as: writing a letter in English when writing a post, placing a picture of a watermelon as a status description, or as a picture for a personal account, and other ways to manipulate algorithms and avoid possible censorship of posts that support Palestine or block accounts.

Seeing watermelon represents hope and determination in difficult times, and embodies the Palestinians’ desire for freedom, justice, and the establishment of an independent state. No matter how Israel suppresses it, they will find other ways to express their ideas.

Before finishing the article, I spent a little time searching on the search engines “Google”, “Bing” and “Yahoo” for icons of protest and resistance, such as: the controversial Guy Fawkes “Vendetta” mask, The mask is linked to the novel “V for Vandetta” by British writer Alan Moore, which takes place in England during the November Revolution.

The “Vandetta” mask symbolizes the injustices and grievances suffered by an individual or society, as well as the desire of a specific person or persons to achieve justice in any way possible. Likewise, the slogan: “Fist” is seen as a symbol, an issue raised by protesters at demonstrations such as Lebanon’s “Cedar Revolution” and Egypt’s January 25 Revolution.

But what amazes me about the watermelon logo is its rich history and the fact that it is probably one of the few logos that uses a natural thing that belongs to the earth rather than a symbol created by a creative person or group of people.

It also caught my attention, unlike other slogans around the world that serve ephemeral sectarian purposes, such as the “Yellow Vests”; named for the protest against high fuel prices in France, where motorists are required by law to carry yellow vests while driving.

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