MIFTAH
Sunday, 23 June. 2024
 
Your Key to Palestine
The Palestinian Initiatives for The Promotoion of Global Dialogue and Democracy
 
 
 
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My dear friends,

You have no idea how happy I was when I found out I could write you a letter. Ireland is still carved in my heart because it brought back most of the peacefulness I lost living in my war-torn homeland.

War-torn homeland is a somewhat sad expression. Why do we cling to this country where peace is sliding away and pain is invading our thoughts and piercing our hearts?

I pondered this thought in my head as I walked across the streets of Ramallah. Ramallah is my city, thrown on the edge of the horizon, where people sing when the occupation persists. Ramallah is my own familiar place in the West Bank, in Palestine.

As we grow older we become immune to the petty things in life and we chain ourselves to a daily routine. Living in Palestine forbids us from surrendering to an everyday existence that seems to repeat itself. We are thrown into a plan-less existence that reforms who we are as we live our life from day to day. This is a characteristic that the occupation has forced us to “gain”.

I decided to start my letter to you on a positive note, or maybe I did not know what else to say, since all this darkness and sadness around me is exhausting. I consider myself lucky compared to Palestinians in Gaza. Today the count of Palestinian victims reached 120; lives that were stolen by the Israeli army’s heavy weaponry. The lives of 120 artists, writers, students, children, mothers, engineers, doctors and fighters were extinguished. They were 120 persons whom we might have loved knowing, simply wiped out off the face of this world. The thousands of Palestinian victims are not just cold numbers; they are people just like you and me. Death harasses my very being and I am scared to become the next faceless victim.

Sometimes my friends, I wonder about a distant future, about things that might matter to me. Will I care anymore about my college degree or shape? Will I still care to count the books I read and listen to the songs I loved? Will I be able to busy myself with planning my life or simply doing something ordinary, like sitting on my front porch? Or, will I still be waiting endlessly at checkpoints, writing down the names of victims in an attempt to invoke their memory? I also wonder whether I will still be demonstrating against the Apartheid Wall that is yet to steal more lands and strength.

As I continued to walk home, tears streamed down my face at these thoughts and at recalling the tens of young people killed in downtown Ramallah by Israeli tank shells when their forces reoccupied it two years ago. I remember as I cross towards my old house, the Israeli soldiers that invaded it, holding me and my family at gunpoint and going through my books, CDs and pictures, by that disrupting any of my previously peaceful memories. Across the street from my house, I saw al-Khalil al-Sakakini cultural center where my little brother had his first piano recital and with it, came a sense of pride in him that replaced all our silly quarrels. A few meters down the road stands my school, where I read the graduation speech and made my mother proud.

How could I be anywhere else but home? This small universe has contained my laughter, dreams and indescribable fear and has shaped who I am today. Ramallah has defeated one of the strongest armies in the world just by the very act of holding firm and never giving up in the face of a force that wants to break our spirit and deny our existence. We will probably continue to suffer for a long time and your grandchildren will probably find us here 50 years from now still rooted in this soil, still waiting for a better future.

Writing to you is as comfortable as walking through my memories. I can visualize your loving faces from across the world, listening sympathetically to my story. Your support helped me then, as it does now, to overcome my anxieties about living under occupation. Tonight recalling your sympathy washes the occupation’s inhumanity off my face.

 
 
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