Traveling with a Palestinian passport

June 16, 2013
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Schiphol airport. April, 2013.

I was exhausted, dragging my suitcase as if it was a heavy stone. I think it was a bad idea to choose the Schiphol airport, I regretted that for some reasons; the worst one is that I couldn’t walk anymore to my departure gate, because it was a big airport and I dropped off from that Egyptian plan in a hall which was very far away!. I got lost, so I had to ask strange people about my gate direction, and it took almost an hour to reach it.

 

When I passed by the airport security checkpoint, the employer took my passport and she gave it to a police. He asked me to wait close to a room full with polices and telephones!. There I found myself surrounded by that blurry question: Why am I here?.

‘Do you speak English?’, the police asked me.

‘Yes’, I replied. But he repeated the question adding,

‘We can bring a translator for you’

‘I don’t need.. I know English’, I said!

He wanted to make sure that I would understand him when he spoke English with me, so he started throwing questions at me, most of them were personal. I got angry with him, so I said:

‘Why do you treat me this way?’

He smiled saying,

‘Well, if I want to visit your country, you would do the same what I’m doing with you right now!’

I was a little disappointed with his answer, and said to myself,

‘Damn, diplomacy is not my business’.

 

I was still waiting to get back my passport when an hour had passed by, and that police was still coming back to me with more and more questions.  When only ten minutes were left to catch my plan, I got confused.

‘What’s wrong?’

I was sitting on a seat waiting for good news from that police, I felt sad when I was watching people pass by me happily waiting their turn to go into the departure gate.. I felt how much Palestinians struggle when they travel. I was like a little girl wanting to cry in her mom’s arms.

 

Two hours later, I went to the police and shouted:

‘You’re annoying me a lot, why do you do this?’

He quietly replied;

‘It’s my job!’

I smiled and went back to my seat waiting.

 

Then, that police came to me holding my passport.

I felt like things proceeded seemingly fine, he gave me it with a new ticket to Sweden. I felt like ‘WOW’, although I asked him about his name, he answered me with a wondering ‘Why?’

And I said:

‘Because I want to write about how bad you treated me’, and he murmured:

‘Ok, but why?’

‘It’s my job’, I said!

He sat beside me and explained me the matter of such ‘dangerous’ passports from countries like Palestine, and then he wished me a good trip saying:

‘When you write about what happened, don’t mention my name’.

 

I headed off to catch my flight. I was going through mixed feelings.

#RememberGaza

December 27, 2012

Memories Of Operation Cast Lead: December 27, 2008 – January 18, 2009

 Turn on your reaction,

 stand up for Gaza.

Those wars will never be drafted

those martyrs are not numbers

we are still present

strong like mountain.

White phosphorus bombs dropped on Gaza by the Israeli Air Force

White phosphorus bombs dropped on Gaza by the Israeli Air Force

27th of December, 2008. 11:00 AM

I was 18 years old. I was stressed and need to sleep too much, though I got up early to revise for my exam in Arabic inflectional morphology. Then I went to my university..   It was a sunny day, people were having their normal routines in my city. When I finished that exam, I left the university quickly to catch my friend and go back home together. Nothing was strange or dangerous!.

At the same day, at 11: 25 AM. Exactly when I entered my home, the Israeli massive and deadly explosions heard everywhere in Gaza Strip. My eyes watched warplanes when they began lunching air raids, and obliterated places in my neighborhood. The lights went out, and with the toxic smoke, we couldn’t breath. Everybody was absolutely terrified.

11:35 AM

Radio on, breaking news from my room:

Israel Started the war (Operation Cast Lead), they attacked 100 targets within a 3 min. At least 250  people have been killed so far.

OMG! They lost their mind. What is going, dad?.

The six day of Operation Cast Lead:

We, my family and I, moved to a flat in Tal Al-Hawa area. It was just indescribable. I was in need, I needed some sleep.. I haven’t slept for 30 hours. Suddenly there was a massive explosion. I’ve got glass in my hair and I heard my brother screaming “my ear hurts”. I heard people out in the street shouting things like I’m dying, my child is injured, please help me. I put my finger in my ear so that I couldn’t hear they anymore.. Very silent and my family was panicked..

After the hell:

I am now on one of Gaza’s pavements; from this point exactly the Red Crescent ambulance came and rescued us. The warplanes were striking the area. We hadn’t believed the pamphlets that they had dropped on us from the air. We were looking for any simple, common saviour. We did not believe the pamphlets that had ordered us to evacuate the area, but they [the Israeli warplanes] fired at us. The sky was raining bullets, and the sea opposite our home had turned into the fire of hell on Judgment Day… The people of the area gathered at the Abraaj Al-Kramah roundabout, and the cars and ambulances started to rescue us. I was afraid, terrified – but not because of the explosion which reverberated near me, but because of my book which I had seen recite poetry… Lorca, Lorca, Lorca…Who is the soldier whose glance killed me then? Was it a kiss, a rose, or a glance doing the work of a revolver?

Israeli propaganda couldn’t erase Palestine Land

December 13, 2012

I still remember my grandmother (she was born in 1920) when she was singing to me Palestinian folklore songs like ‘Ataba and Dal’ona. Also the nostalgic songs that full of sadness and the return-to the home-crave. I couldn’t forget her anxious and beautiful voice when she sang to me the great song, by Fairouz, “Zahrat Al Madaan” (The Flower of the Cities):

For you, city of prayer, I pray

For you beautiful city, flower of cities

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, city of prayer, I pray

Our eyes travel to you every day

Moving about the hallways of the temples

Embracing the old churches

Wiping sadness from the mosques

Night of the Isra, path of he who ascended heavenward

Our eyes travel to you every day, and I pray..

Her songs and stories are growing in my heart and memories. How can I forget her story when she was 18 years old, and she lost her son when they expelled from their home by the Israeli war in 1948. Since that we, my family, became just poor refugees in Gaza, while the Palestinian nation extends beyond the West Bank and Gaza to include those in the diaspora – in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, in the Gulf, and everywhere. And be aware that 97% of the camp’s inhabitants have never seen the towns and villages their parents and grandparents left behind.

There are another untold stories that my grandmother haven’t told me. Because, unfortunately, she passed away last year. And it was a big loss to me. I felt like I didn’t only lost her, but I also lost a long history with old songs that hold facts we don’t know about our land before the Israeli occupation.

At the time that Israel first occupied Palestine, the widespread propaganda machine of the American Jewish lobby was powerful, and played an important role in the unrelenting quest to drag people to their side. Newspapers and Media such the BBC (British), CNN (America), The Jewish Chronicle (Based in London), La Liberta (Italia), L’univers Israelitelite (France)… and so on.

On the other side,  there wasn’t a Palestine propaganda, because the Palestinian people were stuffed with fear and they couldn’t help themselves as they were not too aware about what was really going on. Add to that, the Palestinian were not well educated, and the government was powerless either. But the main reason were that the strong countries, America, Britain, France and most of Europe stood with Israel, either their media and newspapers, which took a turn for the worse.

However, people have changed over time. And the brainwashing has gone so far that people no longer fooled by blur news. We are in the age of technology and communication, so that we can watch live news stream directly from online websites and social media news, which is the most powerful sources for news updates, such as Twitter, Facebook, Bloger, Google+ and YouTube. And the Palestinians have used that tools as a strong weapon during the last Israeli attacks on Gaza, and they have raised awareness of the Israel’s crimes against the civilian population.

“every violation of truth is not only a sort of suicide in the liar, but is a stab at the health of human society.” R.W. Emerson. Yet, the truth of Palestine Land will never vanished, and the lie of Promised Land will die someday. Because true country doesn’t be built on lies.

I am alive after nine days of the Israeli Attack on Gaza!

November 23, 2012

I still don’t believe that the Israeli attacks on Gaza happened. It is incredible that I’m alive!. Everything happened like a long nightmare.. Each moment passed slowly, while my heart was beating too fast, and its pulses was like a bitter drops of water..

Was it a war?. I convinced myself that it was nightmare, and just now I got up. But I couldn’t tell myself a lie, and then living in a circle of lies. Yes, it was a war. And I wasn’t killed by that missile when it fired near my room..

When I say ‘I’m alive’, that doesn’t mean I’m full happy. Because many people were killed in that unfair battle, conflict, war, inhumane game.. call it as you see it. But I was in the bloody side,  I didn’t get out of that inner room for nine days, and I couldn’t sleep more than two hours every two days.. There were no shelters, and no healthy place to be protected. Look, it doesn’t matter. The major problem was the BOMBS.  One cannot accustomed to live in fear. And we, whether the Palestinians or the Israelis, will never get used to hear the sirens or the explosions.. That’s not a routine!.

The ceasefire was done after nine days of fighting. We don’t know how long will it last? And when will it collapse?. But we can keep our thoughts and feelings go straight towards peace, let’s try to do that. Tell your parents that the Palestinian just love their land and want to return to their homes in Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Jerusalem.. ect.  Call upon your friends in Israel to act, and stop blaming others. It’s time to build new peaceful country.

#GazaUnderAttack | Hectic Scenes (Part 1)

November 16, 2012
Gaza Under Fire

Gaza Under Fire

I think my eyes are gonna bleed.. I’ve been trying to sleep for 5 hours, I’m trying to sleep.. but when I’m about to fall asleep, I see red and yellow light, and I hear massive explosions..  it is the fifth bombs.. no, no.. it exceeds 20 bombs.. the Israeli air raids targets place very close to our house.. the loud sound of drones is irritating me, I’m not going to tolerate its buzzing.. its sound drills in my head..

Actually there is no chance for a sleep!

I’m writing everything.. At the same time, I’m remembering the last Israeli war on Gaza in 2009.. I can’t assimilate anything.. feeling like I’m freezing to death. My parents have opened the windows, the world outside is burning.. the streets are empty.. Nothing else than the shells when they fall down on the city like bloody rain.

The electricity just went off, the internet went down either.. more loud explosions hit the place I live in. I’m hearing doors, window panes, and glass all breakdown in the area.

we are all gathered in one room. The radio is on. We do not turn it off.. bad news, horrible reports. When the shelling starts, we, my sister and I, get very scared. We close our eyes. We cannot do anything else. Closing our eyes is the only thing that helps so that we don’t see the yellow and red lights of the shells when they are falling.. Our parent hold us and try to calm us down. All of us are young, only a one year baby girl. She is very innocent. When the explosions happen we convince her that they are fireworks. I cannot hide my tears when I see her playing because she doesn’t know what is really happening and that we could all die in any moment.

My family and I are under the fire. North Gaza is firing. War doesn’t recognize life!

On my Chomsky’s meeting

October 28, 2012

Sitting next to a linguist, philosopher and cognitive scientist, means that you are ready for a scientific banquet that may never get you saturated. And indeed that’s what happened to me when I sat next to the “father of modern linguistics”, Noam Chomsky, talking with him about languages, poetry, imagination, and other things.

We were in the main conference hall at the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG), surrounded by dozens of students, doctors and professors from Lebanon, Algeria, France, Canada, the U.S., Britain, Malaysia and China.  I was the youngest one in the first class seats and felt like an alien.  But Dr. David Heap, French and Linguistics professor, welcomed me, and though certainly not in attempt to cross the laws of Islam that prohibit women and men from sitting side by side, he generously offered me his seat so I would be right next to Prof. Chomsky…and I accepted.

I turned to Chomsky and said, “Hey.” Chomsky smiled subtly and said “hi”. “I read almost all your books and I’m in love with your mind,” I said artfully.  I glimpsed a sense of pride glittering in his eyes. “Thanks, but let’s talk after the lecture…” he said.

However, I couldn’t focus on listening to the speaker, so I went on talking. “What do you think…”  But Chomsky interrupted me saying, “Give me your notebook.”  I gave him my notebook and he wrote down, “it is ‘fiendishly’ difficult to identify the genetic basis for a trait.” Fiendishly? I had no idea what this word means, but felt it means extremely difficult or obscure, and I was excited that the Prof Chomsky would write such a sophisticated word for me (later I looked it up and saw that it means: diabolically cruel and wicked.)  But back to our conference at IUG.  Having written in my notebook, Chomsky got back to his deep silence, listening to the speaker on stage, but I pushed him to talk more, and he soon “left the lecture” and continued to talk to me

In short, he said that imagination is the essence of poetry, and that poetry is not innate to human nature. Because tastes vary, he said, and not everyone strives to create beauty. Moreover, not everyone is gifted with the ability to look inside and discover the poetry..

Regarding the Arab Spring, Chomsky wasn’t exited about it, and said that the U.S. does not want real democracy in Middle East.

It was my second and final meeting with Chomsky. Then he had to leave the main conference hall (as I understood and knew he had an urgent meeting with Ismail Haniya, the senior political leader of Hamas).

He obscurely smiled at me, and quietly vanished away behind the door. I could see the white field of almonds on his head.  It was his white hair and his peaceful spirit.

My meeting with Chomsky was a great experience, although I disagreed with him about his view that One Democratic State Solution is not a good idea to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, adding that he’s against the international and Palestinian calls to boycott Israel academically and economically. Because that will strengthen support for Israel, he claimed.

Let me ask you, why doesn’t the world support the Palestinians who have been beaten by the Israelis in Jerusalem, Hebron, Gaza and everywhere, everyday?.

Boycott of Israel is a minimal punishment to a violent occupation that has no mercy!.

The theater of basil’s murder

August 16, 2012

The best-man who gave a kind speech mixed with a few funny words about his friend and his new wife, was the same one who is standing now in front of the couple themselves. But this time not to celebrate them, or to stop them living in sin. He was standing to end that woeful dialogue between Maria (the wife) and him. Christian looked at the small bucket of plant, it was filled with sand, and almost sinking in water..” I will buy you a new basil plant, sweethe..” he directed his words to Maria. But his talk interrupted by the best-man, saying “Yes, yes, and I will not interfere in life or death of any thing in your house when you are absence.”

Christian pat on his shoulder, saying, “You had nothing to do with the death of our plant. Perhaps death hides  a life for something new. You will be the core life in our house forever.”

 Maria was crying over that died basil, her exaggerated attitude troubled the best-man.. she stopped crying for a moment and said with a subdued voice “You are the cause of that, look, Christian, at the roots, they are submerged in water.” Then  she followed sneering “Our wonderful best-man has known how to remove sin from our basil as well, but apparently he has killed it.”

 Christian left the kitchen, where the theater of basil’s murder. the best-man was confused before the angry Maria, he didn’t know how to act, as it seemed the silly conversation with the wife will never end .. A few minutes later, Christian’s voice came from the balcony opposite the sea, he called them out, took out his wedding album as they sat down .. He directed his words to Maria “you have to be gentle with him, he always looks after our house during our absence, do not be harsh.” But she was still angry!.

Maria’s eyes tumbled on one of the pictures of the wedding album, the best-man was holding her hand, also Christian’s hand, while ending his speech with some words from the Bible.

(But how can one keep warm alone?..ect)

 She smiled for that picture, then she left the balcony, saying, “I’m going to make some tea.”


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