Narratives are not exactly my strong point, but when I was wondering what to write about, I thought maybe I should mention the historic injustices inflicted on us by a merciless colonial power of which I am also a part of. Or I Should mention the recurrent treachery of Arab states and their (our) current shamelessness. Or Maybe I should speak of the death camp that is Gaza. Or the slums of the west bank. Of how Palestinians once were and how they are today. Of how the spirit of the Palestinian changes from country to country. Maybe I should speak of international greed and how it results in the sacrificial offering of the Palestinian people, to maintain their luxury lifestyles, and how we participate in this sacrifice. Or better yet I should speak of exile, of the need to declare Palestinian identity. Maybe I should speak of how we keep our culture and traditions alive, through clothes, embroidery, food and music. I was stumped.
Then I thought: But all these themes have the vein of sadness and despair about them, even in keeping our traditions alive we are reminded of what we lost, of what we dont have. We are struck again by how Palestine lives in us, as opposed to how it should be, of us living in her. So I want to speak of hope, of optimism, and of how I don’t care how hard or how unrealistic such feelings are considering the current climate.
So I wrote “My Daughters Graduation”, and I apologize in advance for the super cheesy ending.
My Daughters’ Graduation; Location: Yafa, Palestine (BAP)
Now I know how my mother felt, all those years back when I stood to receive my Bachelors degree, for it is with a mixture of extreme pride and sadness that I sit here today, at the University of Yafa in Palestine, attending the graduation of my one and only daughter B. Yet unlike my Mother, I did not have to face her leaving the country to study, nor will she be looking abroad for work or further study opportunities. The Palestinians have come home to roost, and through thick and thin we have pledged, silently, to commit ourselves to her development. How could we not? Our Nomadic like existence was alien to us and it was with extreme relief that we returned to a more stable one. We adapted to exile of course, making the best of a horrific situation. Doing what we could for the few that remained, we sent aid, and prayers of support. We petitioned the pro-Zionist governments of the countries in which we resided, to change their stance, and adapt a humanitarian attitude dispose of the putrid greed of capitalism. We, the longest standing refugees the 20th and 21st century had seen, tried every form of non-violent action we could think of to free our brethren from their apartheid hell, and reinstate ourselves in the land of Palestine. From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free, I hardly believed that slogan would ever come true.
B was born in exile, but was raised in the hills surrounding Al-Lydd from the age of 10. Instilled in her are the sacrifices her parents, mainly her martyred father, made to secure her this life, she carries in her the pride of the people that never fell to their knees, and the love of Palestine. Palestine may not be an idyll, it has it’s problems, 70 years of oppressive occupation will do that to a people, but as I said we have all dug our heels in and are utilising the skills which we acquired in the Diaspora, which stretched from Dubai all the way to Detroit and further. We pooled our differences, born of the cultures in which we grew up, and we made them work for us. The Gulf Palestinians brought big dreams and an eye for detail, the European Palestinians brought order and the experience of uniting different cultures, the Americans brought confidence and the go get ‘em attitude, the Lebanese, West Bank and Gaza Palestinians brought hope and resilience, we all had something unique to offer . We were determined to extract good from our years apart, that is the corner stone of modern Palestine.
They have called out Asaf Oron, B should be up soon. I am proud of the Palestinians, when Israel fell, and we reclaimed the homeland, I would say all of the new immigrant Jews left. To them Israel was an opportunity, they had no connection to the land, and so they returned to where they came from. There was debate on whether the descendants of ‘immigrant’ Jews should be allowed to stay, some did not believe that they should be rewarded for the crimes their ancestors committed. In the end though the opposing camp one, they were born and raised here the argument went, how could we do to anyone what had been done to our fathers and grandfathers? How could we oust people from their homes and sentence them to live as refugees, when we know first hand the hardships they will face? Bitterness still remains of course, but we have removed apartheid Zionist Israel, and the remaining wounds will heal with time and a little effort. I have faith.
They call B’s name, she is so grown up! I cannot believe that today my girl is receiving her Bachelors. I am so proud of her. She consciously made a decision not to follow in her mothers footsteps, and decided to study a practical subject, one that she felt will directly benefit Palestine, no stars or fancy theories for her. My palms are red from clapping, this is the new age, the age myself, my Palestinian Dad, my English Mum, and my grandparents dreamed of. Palestinians raised in Palestine, studying in Palestine, soon to be working in Palestine, and determining Palestine’s destiny in the world. I am so lucky to see such a day, and to feel such optimism.
The ceremony is over, and I go and seek B out, we have arranged a big graduation party for her, with dabke and Kinafa of the original Nablusi variety. She is the first of my parents grandchildren to graduate, and we plan on making the most of it. I catch site of her blabbering with a group of friends and I go over. Mabrook Habibti, Mabrook ya 9abaya, Inshallah Bokra Binshoofkom 3aroosaat! [Congratulations my dear, Congratulations girls, I hope to see you as brides very soon, God Willing!], to which the girls politely reply Allah ibaarik feeki khalto [Thanks] and my daughter protests the bride comment with Maaamaaaa!. I laugh and give her a big hug, Come on my dear, the parties’ waiting, lets go Home.
COMMEMORATING 60 YEARS OF ZIONIST PERSECUTION