When the Palestinians celebrate, they really celebrate.

A celebration for the Tawjihi results Honking horns, loud music, cheering, fireworks, jammed mobile phone networks and traffic mayhem. It sounds like New Year’s Eve in any big city, but this scene is from the streets of Bethlehem in the middle of a hot summer’s day.

Results of the Tawjhi (final school exams) were released today and by 9:15am the fireworks had started and within half an hour it was pandemonium on the streets. Busloads of tourists visiting for the day must have been wondering what on earth they were walking into.

Marbrouk! (congratulations) could be heard everywhere amongst the cacophony of sound, people shouting out their results, which were also being broadcast on the radio and TV. For the Palestinians, any excuse to celebrate and be happy is a good one.

It doesn’t matter what the mark was, as long as it was 50 or above, the students and their family and friends were out celebrating. Next week university offers will be released, but apparently that’s not as big a party.

Many people will go abroad to study, even though it costs a lot, there are more opportunities outside of Bethlehem. Some of them will return, but often they stay overseas, the allure of freedom too strong.

Marbrouk to all who passed today and good luck for the future.

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