Mexican woman refuses to leave, despite the danger of war

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TO Estefania Vega, the memories of the last month well up like river water. She is a Mexican artist to whom the climbing of conflict between Israel and Hamas surprised her in West Bank. It arrived on October 2, five days before the war escalated. Her destiny was Jenin refugee campwhere he would spend three months carrying out artistic projects with local groups.

Contrary to what is believed, being in Palestinian territory is very safe, in Jenin I felt free, I went out at night and I had the fear of a Mexican woman, that some guy could violate you, but it was more a habit because the men here are very respectful,” he said to Excelsior.

Welcome to revolution,” they told him upon his arrival at The Freedom Theater, “and of course, because it is a cultural revolution: the Palestinians are thought to be terrorists and, although some took up arms, most of the time their fight is with stones, and there is no proportion between stones and missiles; “Much of his resistance is the pen, the theater.”

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But danger overtook her when the hostilities grew and being in Jenin was no longer safe, “because they are a people in resistance, a target of the Israeli State.” Despite the danger, Estefania wanted to stay: “I have a very strong connection with the Yenin camp: in 2018 I came for another artistic project and I met a girl, she was waiting for me after my activities to play and be together, but now that I came I knew that she died in an attack by the occupation forces two months ago. “I wanted to stay, feel close.”

Fear, says Estefania, “it is not in Palestine, it is on the roads when the occupation forces can attack”… and this is how it happened: he left Jenin to go to a town where he met several activists, but, on the way, “I I was reading, I feel the transport stop and I look up: I see how an Israeli soldier kneels and shoots a young Palestinian; A Palestinian girl next to me covers her ears, crouches, the soldier advances and shoots two more times, I want to hug the girl, but I am left in shock, I just clench my fists, I turn around and another soldier points a knife at me. , he shouts things at me that I don't understand, but his body language reflects hate, he makes a sign like 'I'm going to kill you'... the images that I once saw only in videos are now in front of me... this is real ”.

When the occupation came, many of the Palestinians They took the keys to their houses and that became a symbol of the struggle of their people. “I wanted to convey this with what I called The dance of the great return: I danced with a key in front of the Israeli checkpoints and in front of the wall, but in some interventions you suddenly see a little red dot running over your body and it is shocking to think: 'they are really aiming at me, they are really going to shoot us'” .

Being here changes the way you understand the world, you commit to the cause, because what happens here is atrocious: I believe that what is needed here are eyes; "I lend my body and my voice to echo the strength of the people in Palestine."

And he denounces: “What is happening in Gaza is terrible, the bombing of hospitals, of ambulances that went to Egypt, the disappearance of the University of Gaza, taking away the alma mater of many people.

However, in West Bank “Insults against women are sexual; “At the children, the Israeli settlers throw stones at them in the street, even though they are accompanied.”

And he adds: “Ethnic cleansing is also terrible and my job here is to accompany, we stay in case the settlers arrive and see that there is an international presence; The job is to record, to bring some food because people here can't go out for food. Do you know how guilty I was when I ate today? Here people don't sleep, they take turns taking care of themselves... That's why I will stay as long as I can, because one day I will be able to leave, but they won't," he says in a phone call marked by the silences and sobs of a woman who decided face the war.

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