Tag Archives: Gaza

The Hate Cycle

Mother’s often tell their children not to hate. “Hate” is a strong word. 

I was often told to use the word “dislike” as a child when it came to things or people in which I was not a fan of. 

Now let’s take this mother who preaches to her son about using the word hate. She projects the peace and life that she wants her son to share when he grows older. And she hopes, with every ounce of her teachings, that he will one day learn that hate is not the route. 

But let’s change the setting a bit. Imagine that mother, the one who constantly sang hymns of prayer and peace and virtue. She is a mother in the midst of war and conflict. Every inch of her is afraid to send her children to school because of her fear that she may not see them return. Now this mother, has been limited to fend for the last scraps of resources and food for her children. Even in the midst of a hell-hole prison, she still teaches “peace” to her son.

Now one day, the mother sends her son to school. His means of education will help him grow into a man one day. School finishes, and the mother waits. Hours go by and she continues to wait. She steps outside where bodies and pools of blood lay. She is forced to look through the remains of the children and people to know whether her son is alive or dead.

Yet she still spills out peace.

And upon the rummage of bones and the insides of her neighbors, she finds her son’s shirt. And then she finds his feet. And then the realization that she sent her son to school and he never returned hits. And in the midst of the killing of her son and the killing of all the people around her, she is expected to “preach” of peaceful thoughts and dreams.

If there has been anything I’ve learned from Palestine, it is that the strength of this nation is insurmountable with any strength I have ever seen. My brothers and sisters, who lay in the midst of uncertainty and with no escape from the world’s largest and most deadly prison in the world. 

But most of all what I’ve learned, is that no person, no matter how qualified or academic you are; no person, no matter how Godly or powerful you may be; no person, regardless if you watch news reports everyday or not; No person has the right to judge the people of Palestine. 

Take a walk in their shoes; then judge. Because if you were a mother, who constantly spilled out words of peace to your children and put them on a path of righteousness only to find that an army, supported by billions of dollars from powerful nations, has now murdered your son, your neighbors, your people; I don’t think that “peace” and happy thoughts would come into mind. 

Think of those fathers who found their wives and children’s skin burned and ripped apart. Think of those babies who are now left alone to fend for themselves, because a rocket killed 20 members of their entire family.

This is no longer a debate of politics, of religion, of divine right, of land, of oil. It is no longer a debate, when an entire community is killed and we are made to believe that it is in pursuit of democracy and freedom.  Palestine is the only nation in the world right now that is occupied and refused any freedom.

So before we as people want to judge an entire nation on why they “hate” Israelis, or why they “hate” America, or why they “hate” anything; live in Gaza for a week and witness it yourself. Feel the pain that each mother and father feels as they have to pick up the remains of their children in the street before the next rocket hits. 

It is not a debate when children are murdered on a daily basis. Over 300, have been killed in a week. Yet the world will continue to judge. Take a step in humanity. Take a step as a Palestinian and you will learn that “hate” is the proper word for children to use right now. 

Hate is a cycle. Do you think these children who grow up in Gaza, witnessing their families killed with one blow to their homes, are expected to be peaceful when they grow older? How can you expect them to want to stand side by side with a nation who has taken everything from them? 

Understand hate in a different context. Understand that if the US was Palestine right now, us Americans would limit ourselves to “hate” too. 

Hate for a world that would stand back and watch in silence. 

#PeaceForGaza #Freedom #Palestine 

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Palestinian Heart

When I was nine years old, my elementary school had a writing contest. They sought out the best writing piece and the prize winner would be featured in the school newsletter and would have their name announced on the loudspeaker for all of the school to hear. 

I was nine years old. And while much of my competitors wrote stories of fantasy, of their families, or answered the lingering question of what they wanted to be when they grew up; I knew I was far past my time. 

I submitted a writing piece labeled, “My home in Palestine.” It described my love for a land I had never seen, for olive trees and skies that I was eager to feel. I described my love for my grandparents who would speak to me on the phone with their calm voices saying, “Habbibty, Laila.” I was nine years old and I could fully grasp what it meant to have family in Palestine. To wonder if they were okay. To think what life could be like for them. I wrote in my submission, that I wished one day I could save Palestine and that peace would come from the cracks in ground and into the homes of each and every person in the Holy Land. 

I won the contest in the fourth grade and I went on to see my submission on our newsletter. My parents were in complete happiness and showcased my writing piece to anyone who entered our home. 

At nine years old, I knew what problems would lay in the midst of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. And I knew that as long as I was living, I would take on my Palestinian roots with pride. 

When I entered college at 17, I remember learning more about the opinions of others in regards to the conflict. Some people were advocates, others were temporary supporters, and some were just ignorant. I had never had an opinion on how others should feel or believe. 

To each its own. 

However, one day I was told in the process of looking for a job, that I shouldn’t showcase my Palestinian roots, since many people did not want to be associated with the political/religious conflict and that many of my future employers may be pro-Israel or have one-sided views. 

I spoke with advocates and supporters of Palestine. Some told me of their fear that being apart of protests and rallies would affect their opportunities to obtain jobs in certain areas. When they asked for my advice, I told them that they need to do what was best for them and their future.

But what I failed to realize and what many others did not realize, was that no matter where I go in this future or what opportunities I hold in my hand, I will forever be Palestinian. 

My olive skin and dark eyes, not to mention my last name will forever portray my roots and my people. For me, advocacy and protesting has no affect on my life and opportunities. I am proud of who I am and most of all, I am proud to have roots to the brave souls who have lost their lives on those lands. 

At nine years old, I was able to comprehend somewhat of what lies in the Middle East. I knew nothing of hate, just peace. I was a fourth-grader who only knew that there was a fight between two peoples and that they just needed to come together as one. 

At 21 years old, I know more of what lies in the Middle East more now than ever. And while the world would expect me to release hate towards those who have hurt my homeland, you will not find hate in my soul. 

Because just as that nine year old expressed that she wanted peace and that she would forever hold Palestine in her heart, I do the same now. 

I am and will forever be a Palestinian. There is no taking away this beautiful label that I hold across my heart and skin. Peace is at the tip of my tongue. And Palestine is forever and will forever be my love.

So whether you are just learning about the conflict for the first time or you have been following the conflict your whole life, remember to form your own opinion and find others who can support your thinking as well. It is in our human nature to disagree at times. But it is not human to base our beliefs solely off what we see on television. Live outside your borders.

 

#FreePalestine #PeaceForGaze #Solidarity #Love 

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