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Watermelon Emoji: 🍉 A Symbol of Palestinian Protest on Social Media

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How the watermelon emoji has become a symbol of Palestinian protest on social media amid the ongoing Gaza crisis. (GV Wire Illustration/David Rodriguez)
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The watermelon emoji has become a symbol of Palestinian protest on social media, as the humanitarian crisis in Gaza continues to escalate. The Jewish Voice for Peace, an organization that has been coordinating large-scale protests, has been using the watermelon emoji in its social media posts to call for action. The watermelon, a staple of Palestinian cuisine, has a long history of representing Palestinian protest.

Watermelons have been grown in the Middle East for centuries and are a common feature in Levantine cuisines. In Palestinian culture, the fruit is often used in salads and other dishes. During the Six-Day War in 1967, the Israeli government banned the display of the Palestinian flag, leading to the watermelon becoming a symbol of protest. The colors of a sliced watermelon – red fruit, green-and-white rind, and black seeds – match those of the Palestinian flag.

Despite the ban on the Palestinian flag being lifted in 1993, the watermelon emoji, added to keyboards in 2015, has continued to be used as a symbol of Palestinian protest. The emoji is often used on social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram to avoid algorithmic censorship or blocking filters.

Other food items, such as olive trees and olive oil, also have significant cultural importance in Palestine. Olive groves in the region have been a point of contention in conflicts between Israel and Palestine. The prickly cactus fruit, another culinary symbol of Palestine, serves as a reminder of the displacement of Palestinians during Israel’s War of Independence in 1948.

Read more at Bon Appétit.

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