Falastin Volume 1 Issue 4

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Volume 1 Issue 4 August 2017

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Letter from the Editor I am writing this editor's note from Palestine as the athan from the local masjid, just a few houses down, is ringing in my ear. This is my first time in Palestine since the start of this magazine, and the existence of Falastin has affected my experience here in more ways than I am aware of. I take photos of every street corner because I believe everything here is worth sharing. I find inspiration in every person I speak to. I am reminded again and again of how lucky I am to be here, to be able to see Palestine firsthand, and to be able to share what I see with the readers of Falastin. Spending this summer in Palestine has also reinvigorated my intentions for the magazine, and I think I speak on behalf of a lot of people when I say that you can’t go to Palestine and return the same person you were before. You just can’t. As diasporic Palestinians living in the United States, we don’t directly feel the pressure of the occupation. But for our people living in the homeland, they can’t escape it. They can’t just ignore the gunshots in the middle of the night, they can’t drive directly into the city without facing a checkpoint. Reminders of the occupation linger in the faces of children who can’t imagine a life without fear. But it is because we, in the United States, can live a life without these constant reminders that we must constantly remind ourselves and each other about what’s going on in Palestine. Therefore, we at Falastin urge you to join us in our mission to reclaim the Palestinian narrative. Using our voices as Palestinians is the strongest form of resistance against the forces of oppression acting against us, because it is a reminder that we will not grow complacent. We ask that you join our form of resistance in any way you can, whether that is sending artwork, written pieces, and photography to us, or sharing and talking about the magazine. I’d like to thank the editorial staff for all their hard work and dedication this issue. Thank you Rania for all your assistance to this magazine. Thank you to the board and all our sponsors for supporting us. Thank you to the talented artists and writers who contributed to this issue and shared a piece of themselves with our community. And a final thank you to all the readers of the magazine for their support in our past and upcoming issues. This is our final issue in our first volume of the magazine, and we are all so incredibly grateful to everyone who helped us get this far and we hope you continue to support us in future issues! Sincerely,

Reem Farhat Editor in Chief of Falastin

Falastin’s Staff Reeham Farhat: Entertainment Editor Aya Mustafa: Poetry Editor Marah Siyam : Nonfiction Editor Aseel Washah: News Editor Aseel Zeinaty: Arabic Editor We’d also like to extend a special thank you to Bassam Obeidallah and Eman Hamdeh for designing the front and back covers of the magazine and to Noor Siyam for her help with editing! 2


Letter from the Executive Director I had the honor and privilege of going to Palestine this summer with the Homeland Project . As many of you, I’m sure can relate, visiting Palestine is like recharging a part of you. It puts things in perspective and it reminds us of how much work that needs to get done. Sometimes we feel helpless in face of the towering occupation that is getting worse with every passing day. And it is because of this, that we must hold onto any sliver of hope. It has been a few weeks since there were thousands of protestors around Masjid Al-Aqsa taking a stand against the metal detectors that the Israelis were threatening to put in place permanently. Everyone stood unified together for one cause. Their voices were heard and for the first time in a very long time AlQuds, Al-Aqsa, and all of Palestine saw a victory. Their voices were heard and the metal detectors were taken down. We may not be able to psychically stand in solidarity and protest, but we can use our voices and speak up. We can write that poem, come up with a short story, take that picture, challenge other’s points of view. We can recognize and utilize our privilege that we have simply by living in this country and we can make a difference. I would like to thank the Editor in Chief and staff members of Falastin for their inspiring passion and continued dedication. Their work ethic and commitment to Falastin continue to impress me and leave me in awe every day. I would also like to thank the advertisers and supporters of the magazine. It’s only with their support that we can continue printing the magazine and growing. Thank you to the Board of Directors for their continuous support. Last, but not least, thank you for picking up and supporting Falastin. All the best,

Rania Mustafa Executive Director Falastin Advisor

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Photo taken by Rania Mustafa


Table of Contents Pg. 6 “Saudade & Sugar” by Boutrose Saba-Norton Pg. 7 “Unshifting Tides” by Reem Farhat Pg. 8-9 ‫مدينة نابلس‬ Pg. 10 “Unseen Scars” by Reem Suqi Pg. 11 ‫ رام هللا‬- ‫دورا القرع‬ Pg. 12 “For the First Time in My Life” by Nour Obeidallah Pg. 13 “3000 Nights” by Mai Masri Pg. 16 “Sheikh Hussein Crossing” by Suzanne Barkawi Pg. 18-19 “The Butter Moment” by Tom Brokett Pg. 20-21 “Different Worlds” by Rahma Abukwaik Pg. 22-24 “The Quds Man: Interview with Hamze Sarraj” Pg. 28 “This is my Home” by Aya Mustafa Pg. 29 “Eternally Ours” by Reeham Farhat Pg. 29 “To be a Child of Diaspora” by Lina Abdul-Samad Pg. 30 ‫الدبكة الفلسطينية‬ Pg. 31 ‫لباس المرأة الفلسطينية‬ Pg. 32-33 “The Case of Issa Amro: Non-Violence in the Face of Injustice” by Kristina Brunner and Ariel Gold of CODEPINK: Women for Peace Pg. 36 “Homeland Project: Day 5” by Marah Siyam Pg. 38-39 “UNRWA’s Human Rights Dilemma” by Sarah Shedeed Pg. 40-41“Diaspora Stories” by Lina Abdul-Samad Pg. 42 People of PACC: Nina Odatalla Pg. 43 ‫ُولد في الغربة‬

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Saudade & Sugar Boutrose Saba-Norton spears as the wind whistles past my ear and through my bones, and I imagine then that I know how Jesus must have felt. I smile a face of pained annoyance and unwanted familiarity as I pass through the crowd of the still strange city, wondering why I didn’t bring my car with me this morning. The cold and the stares of hidden faces I pass by remind me of how I don’t seem to fit in this place any more than I would in a land that exists only in a memory, and it does nothing for my mood. Eventually I make it back to my apartment and shake off the cold of the restless quietness, feeling tired but unable to sleep. I am haunted by the bitter joy of nostalgia that is still stuck in the back of my mind amidst the ennui of sameness, like a popcorn kernel stuck in your gums that you just can’t seem to get rid of. Without thinking I go to the kitchen, take out a pot, add water, mint, sugar, tea, a dab of lemon, and set it to boil. It’s an old habit. Carefully, I take from the cupboard one of Mama’s cups which she had brought with her to this country and I set it on the counter. After a few minutes I take the pot off the stove and sift the tea into my cup. The smell is the same as it was then, and sitting down across from pictures of my grandparents that hang on the wall opposite of me, I am home again.

The tea reminded me of the kind my Teta used to make, with mint and lemon, and too much sugar that was just right. The waiters looked like my Sido, with their pencil mustaches, red Turkish fezzes that were a hold out from the Ottomans, and a mop of untamable curly hair somehow kept perfectly in place. In the hazy steam of the cup, I could get lost in a clear vision of a home that wasn’t mine any longer, and for a moment the irrepressible roar of the city streets outside was quieted, and I was in my grandparents living room in my hometown of Lyd, in a country that doesn’t exist any longer. I looked over at my Teta, smiling at me with her infectious wrinkled grin that she always wore before cancer took her from us. My Sido sitting close by, scowling at the television, face half amused and half annoyed as it used to be like before the stroke happened, and whose end he succumbed to years later. If I could live in that moment forever I might choose to, with these two people who I hardly knew, both older than the name of this new land that has supplanted us and removed our place in the world. Soon, however, the moment was gone. I am back in a tea shop in a city that is a familiar stranger. The waiters don’t look like what I remembered any more, or maybe they never did. I get up to leave, placing an extra tip on the table for the memory, and I pull on my jacket. Stepping through the door, I’m stabbed by a thousand icy 6


Unshifting Tides Reem Farhat Palestine is a land of rich culture and history. This statement, although quite obvious given Palestine’s historical significance, can not be said enough. The walls here whisper stories of prophets. Ghosts of empires and kingdoms still live here. Tales of heroes and villains are told by each crack in concrete. And although these things are true and incredible, I sometimes forget the nearer history. I lose track of my more tangible ties to this land. I am so engrossed in the mythical and magical, that I forget what is here and now. So as I stood in my father’s childhood home, stared at the freshly glossed tiles, walked through the modest kitchen, living room, and one bedroom which somehow bore five children, I felt myself wrought with chills. In Palestine, I constantly seek adventure and knowledge. There’s this piece of myself I feel is wandering this sacred land that I’m always searching for. But standing here, alone, in this furniture-less empty kitchen, I found a hint of it. I found some more when I walked into the living room. My mother told me this is where she slept, my grandmother. I know very little of her. From the snippets I hear, I know she was a strong woman who lived a difficult life. Some describe her as gentle and kind, others as rough and firm. Between all of these descriptions, I am not sure which to believe. But I know one thing for certain. She lived in this home. She cooked in this kitchen. Laughed on this porch. Entertained guests in this room. This home holds decades of history. My grandmother, my great grandmother, my great great grandmother, and more. These are the people who tie me to this land. These women are the reason I am Palestinian. Why I get to call Palestine my home. Looking at the fig trees on my lawn, the bright olive branches I always knew were there but never spoke to, this is where secrets of generations have been woven. Ties to this land run deeper than the roots of those trees, whose branches wrap around me as the summer ends, begging me not to leave. They know me well even though I never paid them any attention. But their figs taught me something: no place bears fruit sweeter than home. In Palestine, nothing is ordinary. There is history in every corner of this land. Every tree, rock, and grain of sand tells a story. Here, even the walls can speak. They tell tales of love, and sacrifice, of oppression and strength. These battered and cracked walls tell the story of hurt coupled with resistance. There is a reason why so much has happened on this land. Why so many prophets took these very steps before me. There is something about Palestine, something everyone feels when they come here. I remember once, when I came back from a trip here two years ago, my English teacher had asked me how I spent my summer. When I told him I spent it in Palestine, he looked taken aback, and a look of innocent concern wrought his face as he asked me, “How was that?” I answered him truthfully, “Despite everything that is occurring, Palestine feels like the most peaceful place on earth.” Something about this land is calming, it’s reassuring, it’s sacred. In the duration of my trip, there were clashes, bullets, and teargas. But driving through Ramallah, seeing the abandoned carcasses of teargas grenades, harsh reminders of the occupation, I realized that life goes on. It’s like nothing happened. Ramallah is still as busy as ever, crossing the street is still the same hazard as usual. The boys are still playing in the neighborhood under the vigilant eye of elderly women who watch over the entire village. Life just goes on. But through my reflecting and reminiscing I am reminded that this home, this small home, tells remarkable tales of my ties to this land. This ground, this very ground I am standing on as I write this, is my ground. Out of the billions of people on this earth, for some reason, I was chosen to be a part of this holy land. No tear gas or bullets could ever change the history of this very ground. And no bulldozers could ever shift the tides of generations. 7


‫خضعت نابلس عام ‪ 869‬م لحكم الفاطميين الذين أسسوا في مصر عاصمة سياسية لهم‪ ،‬غير أن الفاطميين وبعد ظهور األتراك السالجقة‬ ‫السنيين والمناوئين للفاطميين الشيعة‪ ،‬دخلوا في صراع عنيف فيما بينهم استمر إلى أن وصلت أولى الحمالت الصليبية لبالد الشام‪ ،‬حيث‬ ‫استطاع الصليبيون احتالل فلسطين‪ ،‬مما أدى إلى سقوط نابلس في أيديهم سنة ‪ 9988‬م‪ ،‬وقد بقيت في أيديهم حتى ظهور األيوبيين الذين تمكنوا‬ ‫من استعادة فلسطين وبيت المقدس بقيادة صالح الدين األيوبي بعد معركة حطين عام ‪ 9991‬م‪.‬‬ ‫تعرضت مدينة نابلس‪ ،‬خالل الحكم األيوبي لها عام ‪ ،9981‬لزلزال مدمر أودى بحياة أكثر من ثالثين ألف شخص‪ ،‬وقد خلَف ذلك الزلزال‬ ‫دمارا ً كبيراًَ​َ في معظم أبنية المدينة‪ ،‬مما استدعى إجراء عملية إعادة بناء كبيرة للمدينة بدأت في عهد األيوبيين واستمرت في العهد المملوكي‬ ‫الذي شهدت فيه نابلس عهدا من االزدهار المعماري والعلمي والثقافي في شتى الميادين‪.‬‬ ‫غير أنه وعلى أثر ظهور األتراك العثمانيين في آسيا الصغرى وتطور العالقات بينهم وبين المماليك إلى حد المواجهة العسكرية‪ ،‬تمكن فيها العثمانيون عام ‪ 9196‬م‬ ‫من هزيمة المماليك في معركة مرج دابق‪ .‬وخالل حكمهم لمصر وبالد الشام‪ ،‬أصبحت نابلس إحدى مدن والية الشام التابعة للعثمانيين الذين اعتمدوا في حكمهم‬ ‫للمدينة‪ ،‬في بداية األمر‪ ،‬على بقايا المماليك التابعين لهم‪ ،‬ثم تحولوا مع بداية القرن السابع عشر لالعتماد على أبناء أسرها الغنية المتنفذة التي ظهرت منها أسرة‬ ‫النمر ثم طوقان ثم عبد الهادي‪ ،‬بيد أن الدولة العثمانية قررت‪ ،‬مع نهاية القرن التاسع عشر الميالدي‪ ،‬إدارة البالد بشكل مباشر‪ ،‬حيث أصبح يحكم مدينة نابلس عدد‬ ‫من الحكام األتراك العثمانيين‪ ،‬وشهدت نابلس في تلك الفترة كثيرا من اإلنشاءات والترميمات لمبانيها التاريخية‪ ،‬ومن ذلك تأسيس بلدية نابلس سنة ‪ 9968‬م‪.‬‬

‫سقطت مدينة نابلس وعلى أثر هزيمة العثمانيين في الحرب العالمية األولى‪ ،‬بيد االحتالل البريطاني في ‪ 89/8/9899‬م‪.‬وقد ذاقت المدينة من‬ ‫هذا االحتالل االمرين بل إنها واجهت في عام ‪ 9881‬م أكبر كارثة طبيعية‪ ،‬وهو الزلزال الهائل الذي دمر جزءا كبيرا من مبانيها‪ ،‬والذي ما‬ ‫زلنا نشاهد آثاره حتى االن في أبنية البلدة القديمة‪ .‬وعندما اندلعت الحرب العالمية الثانية‪ ،‬عانت نابلس كغيرها من مدن فلسطين من ويالت هذه‬ ‫الحرب وخاصة من الفقر وشح الموارد‪ ،‬وبعدما انتصر البريطانيون على األلمان‪ ،‬في هذه الحرب سنة ‪ 9891‬م‪ ،‬وانتهى حكمهم لفلسطين‬ ‫عندها احتلت من قبل الصهاينة في نفس العام‪ ،‬حيث نتجت عن ذلك حروب‪ ،‬ومصادمات غير متكافئة بين العرب واليهود ادت الى تهجير معظم‬ ‫سكان مدن فلسطين الساحلية وقراها وإقامة دولة إسرائيل‪.‬‬ ‫وفي عام ‪ 9819‬م تم ضم ما تبقى من فلسطين‪ ،‬وهي الضفة الغربية‪ ،‬إلى األردن فأصبحت نابلس بذلك جزءا من المملكة األردنية الهاشمية‪،‬‬ ‫حتى عام ‪ ، 9861‬حين تم احتالل الضفة الغربية وقطاع غزة من قبل الجيش االسرائيلي ‪،‬فرزحت المدينة كباقي المدن الفلسطينية تحت نير‬ ‫االحتالل االسرائيلي إلى يومنا هذا‪.‬‬ ‫وفي سنة ‪9891‬م قامت نابلس بالمشاركة الفعالة كغيرها من مدن فلسطين باالنتفاضة األولى على االحتالل اإلسرائيلي‪ ،‬وهي االنتفاضة التي‬ ‫نتج عنها سنة ‪ 9881‬اتفاق أوسلو بين منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية وإسرائيل ‪ ،‬وذلك تمهيدا إلقامة الدولة الفلسطينية على حدود عام ‪ 9861‬م‪،‬‬ ‫فأصبحت نابلس بذلك إحدى مدن السلطة الوطنية الفلسطينية‪ ،‬غير أن تنكر إسرائيل فيما بعد التفاق أوسلو‪ ،‬ادى الى االنتفاضة الثانية التي نتج‬ ‫عنها اجتياح إسرائيل لمدن السلطة الوطنية الفلسطينية وتدمير الكثير منها‪.‬‬

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‫مدينة نابلس‬ ‫نور الحنبلي‬ ‫الموقع الجغرافي‬ ‫تتمتع مدينة نابلس بموقع استراتيجي مهم يربط شمالها بجنوبها‪ ،‬حيث تقع على مفترق الطرق الرئيسه التي تمتد من الناصرة وجنين شماال‪ ،‬حتى‬ ‫الخليل جنوبا‪ ،‬ومن مدينة يافا غربا حتى مدينة أريحا شرقا‪ .‬وتبعد عن مدينة القدس ‪ 68‬كم‪ ،‬وعن العاصمة األردنية عمان ‪ 999‬كم‪ ،‬وعن البحر‬ ‫المتوسط ‪ 98‬كم‪ ،‬وتقع على خط طول ‪ 11،96‬وخط عرض ‪.18،91‬‬ ‫مدينة نابلس ‪ ..‬تاريخ وحضارة‬ ‫تقوم مدينة نابلس في منطقة غنية بينابيع المياه العذبة وسط فلسطين على واد مستطيل الشكل يمتد من الشرق إلى الغرب يقع بين جبلي عيبال‬ ‫(الشمالي) وجرزيم (الجنوبي)‪ .‬وتطل فتحة وادي نابلس الشرقية على الغور المسمى باسمها وهو الغور النابلسي الممتد حتى نهر األردن‪ ،‬في‬ ‫حين تمتد فتحة واديها الغربية حتى وادي التفاح الممتد إلى وادي الزيمر عند طولكرم‪ ،‬وتمتد جبالها الشمالية شماال لتنتهي جنوب مرج بن عامر‬ ‫قرب جنين‪ ،‬بينما تمتد جبالها الجنوبية جنوبا لتتصل بجبال القدس اتصاال مباشرا حيث ال توجد حدود طبيعية تفصلها عن بعضها بعضا‪.‬‬ ‫وتشير المصادر التاريخية إلى أن نابلس قد أسست ألول مره فوق تل كبير يدعى تل بالطه‪ ،‬ويقع عند المدخل الشرقي المفتوح لمدينة نابلس‬ ‫الحالية جوار شمال قرية بالطة العربية‪ .‬ويستفاد من الحفريات األثرية التي أجريت في تل بالطه منذ ‪9899-9899‬م‪ ،‬و‪9881-9889‬م‪ ،‬و‬ ‫‪ 9861-9816‬م‪ ،‬من قبل البعثات األثرية األجنبية بأن نابلس قد أسست في أواسط األلف الثالث قبل الميالد‪ ،‬وأن الذي قام بتأسيسها وبنائها هم‬ ‫القبائل الحوية الكنعانية الذين أطلقوا عليها اسم “شكيم” ويعني المكان المرتفع أو النجد‪.‬‬ ‫وفي سنة ‪ 9119‬ق‪.‬م تعرضت مدينة شكيم لتدمير وحشي على يد الفراعنة المصريين‪ ،‬الذين قاموا بإخراج الهكسوس ( الملوك الرعاة ) من‬ ‫مصر ومطاردتهم في فلسطين‪ ،‬غير أن أهالي شكيم قاموا بإعادة بنائها في القرن الرابع عشر قبل الميالد‪ ،‬حيث اشتهر من بين حكامها في ذلك‬ ‫الوقت الحاكم الكنعاني البائيو‪ .‬ويبدو أن هذا الحاكم وأوالده من بعده كانوا آخر الحكام الكنعانيين األقوياء للمدينة‪ ،‬حيث بدأت شكيم‪ ،‬ومنذ القرن‬ ‫الثالث عشر قبل الميالد‪ ،‬تفقد حضارتها الكنعانية األصلية لتصبح على مر الحقب التاريخية التالية عرضة لغزو شعوب وقبائل غريبة عنها‪ ،‬إذ‬ ‫غزتها القبائل العبرانية ثم األشوريون والبابليون ثم الفرس ثم اليونانيون إلى أن سقطت بيد الرومان سنة ‪ 61‬ق‪.‬م‪ .‬وبالرغم من ذلك‪ ،‬فقد قام‬ ‫أهالي مدينة شكيم بعد احتالل الرومان للمدينة‪ ،‬بالثورة والتمرد على الرومان الذين تمكنوا من قمعهم‪ .‬كما أن المدينة‪ ،‬وخالل ذلك‪ ،‬تشرفت‬ ‫برؤية طلعة السيد المسيح أثناء رحلته من القدس إلى الجليل‪ ،‬حيث كان متعبا فجلس عند بئر يعقوب وكانت امرأة سامرية تستقي‪ ،‬فطلب منها‬ ‫شربة ماء‪ ،‬فقالت له‪ :‬كيف تطلب مني ماء لتشرب‪ ،‬وأنت يهودي‪ ،‬وأنا سامرية ؟ ألن اليهود ال يعاملون السامريين‪.‬‬ ‫وفي الفترة بين عام ‪ 68-61‬م‪ ،‬أمر اإلمبراطور فسبيسيان بهدم مدينة شكيم وبناء مدينة جديدة إلى الغرب منها قليال حيث نابلس القديمة حاليا‪،‬‬ ‫وقد أطلق عليها الرومان اسم نيابولس‪ ،‬وهو لفظة التينية رومانية تعني المدينة الجديدة‪ ،‬ثم حرف ذلك اللفظ فيما بعد إلى نابلس الحالية‪.‬‬ ‫وكان لطبيعة الموقع الجغرافي الجبلي للمدينة أن فرض نفسه على الرومان‪ ،‬حيث جاءت المدينة طولية الشكل‪ ،‬تمتد من الشرق إلى الغرب على‬ ‫وا ٍد محصور بين جبلي عيبال وجرزيم‪ ،‬ويقطعها شارع رئيس من شرقها إلى غربها وهو الديكامانوس‪ ،‬وتتكون من أربع حارات في ذلك‬ ‫الوقت‪ ،‬وقد قام الرومان ببناء ثالثة أماكن للهو وهي‪ :‬المسرح والمدرج وميدان سباق الخيل‪ ،‬كما أقاموا معبدهم الخاص باإلله جوبيتر فوق قمة‬ ‫جبل جرزيم‪.‬‬ ‫وعندما أصبحت المسيحية الديانة الرسمية لإلمبراطورية الرومانية‪ ،‬في القرن الرابع الميالدي من عهد اإلمبراطور قسطنطين الكبير‪ ،‬بدأت‬ ‫تختفي منها معالم الطابع الوثني الخاص بها‪ ،‬ليحل محله أبنية الكنائس والطابع المعماري والثقافي المصاحب لهذا الدين الجديد‪ ،‬إذ تم بناء كنيسة‬ ‫بئر يعقوب وكذلك كنيسة مريم العذراء فوق جبل جرزيم مكان معبد السامريين‪.‬‬ ‫وقد تعرضت مدينة نابلس‪ ،‬كباقي المدن الفلسطينية‪ ،‬عام ‪ 691‬م لالجتياح الفارسي‪ ،‬إال أن الرومان استطاعوا‪ ،‬بقيادة هرقل‪ ،‬هزيمة الفرس عام‬ ‫‪ 689‬م‪ ،‬ليجدوا أنفسهم بعد ذلك في مواجهة الجيوش العربية اإلسالمية التي بدأت فتوحاتها لبالد الشام‪ .‬وفي عام ‪ 616‬م‪ ،‬وبعدما تمكن العرب‬ ‫المسلمون من هزيمة الرومان في معركتي اليرموك وأجنادين‪ ،‬تم فتح مدينة نابلس على يد القائد عمرو بن العاص‪ ،‬حيث كان سكانها خليطا من‬ ‫السامريين والنصارى والعرب‪.‬‬ ‫وخالل القرنين األولين من فتح المدينة على أيدي العرب المسلمين‪ ،‬بدأت نابلس تشهد مجموعة من التحوالت الدينية والمعمارية واالجتماعية‪،‬‬ ‫حيث أصبحت لغة أبنائها في حياتهم وعلومهم اللغة العربية‪ ،‬وهي لغة القرآن الكريم‪ .‬وأصبح سكانها خليطا من السامريين والنصارى وغالبية‬ ‫من العرب المسلمين‪ .‬وكانت مرجعيتها في مختلف شؤونها‪ ،‬المدينة المنورة‪ ،‬عاصمة الخالفة الراشدة من خالل والي فلسطين أوال‪ ،‬ثم وإلى‬ ‫الشام ثانيا‪ ،‬ثم أصبحت تعود في أمورها إلى دمشق عاصمة الخالفة األموية‪ ،‬عندما انتقلت الخالفة إليهم ثم إلى بغداد عاصمة الخالفة العباسية‬ ‫فيما بعد‪.‬‬ ‫‪9‬‬


Unseen Scars Reem Suqi I remember it very vividly; I was about 4 or 5 and it was my first visit to Palestine. I was very lucky because all my cousins and I got to go together on the same plane and experience all of it together for the first time. I loved the independence we had and the ability to go to the corner store and buy chips that were so cheap, but so good. It was an unforgettable summer in more ways than one. I got sick while I was there. We were staying with my mother’s family in a village near Ramallah. My mother and I had to drive into Ramallah or somewhere near there (I’ve always been geographically challenged) and we took a taxi to our destination. On our drive, we were stopped by Israeli soldiers in front of what was either a church or a convent full of nuns. They searched our car inside and out and searched our taxi driver. They had big guns on them and our U.S. passports made them back off a little, but you could still sense the animosity. I had heard about these soldiers and distantly encountered them, but this was my first experience with them up close and my first taste of what life was like in Palestine. I remember seeing a row of nuns peering down at us from above, looking on pitifully at my mother and angrily talking to the soldiers. But there was nothing they could do, they were as powerless as we were. I remember feeling very scared, nervous to make any sudden moves. I didn’t fully understand this conflict, but I knew enough to know that I was hated by these men. These men who didn’t know me or anything about my life other than that I was of Palestinian descent. That was enough for them. They did not see a sick, scared child; they saw someone who did not deserve to be breathing the same air as them. I am much older now and have had several more experiences like this and I remember every one. My reaction has changed significantly from confusion and fear to mostly anger, but I am lucky. That is not my daily life, it is a series of annoying experiences that I have once every few years. Imagine the children who experience life under occupation day in and day out. The effect it has on their development, on their innocence. The scars of life under occupation are not always physical; they are mental, emotional, spiritual. The worst damage is often unseen and has long term effects. What are we doing to address these long-term effects in our communities at home and abroad? We need to do more, we need more people in the mental health field, more organizations dedicated to this issue. We need to place as much or more emphasis on mental health as we do on education, physical health and jobs. The effects of chronic stress, PTSD, anxiety and depression touch every aspect of our lives. It’s time we recognize and validate that. Our people deserve better than that.

Photo taken by Tala Zeitawi 10


‫دورا القرع ‪ -‬رام هللا‬ ‫يوسف قطب‬ ‫رام هللا مدينة فلسطينية‪ ،‬ومركز محافظة رام هللا والبيرة‪ .‬تقع في الضفة الغربية إلى الشمال من القدس بحوالي ‪ 51‬كم‪ .‬تبلغ مساحتها ‪ 5,61‬كم‪،2‬‬ ‫كما يقدر عدد سكانها بحوالي ‪ 276122‬نسمة‪ ،‬بينما يقدر عدد سكان المحافظة بحوالي ‪ 695627,‬نسمة‪ .‬وتالصق رام هللا مدينة البيرة حتى تتداخل‬ ‫مبانيهما وشوارعهما فتبدوان كمدينة واحدة‪ ،‬ومع أن مدينة البيرة أكبر من ناحية‬ ‫المساحة وعدد السكان‪ ،‬إال أن األشهر بينهما هي مدينة رام هللا‪.‬‬ ‫تحتل رام هللا حاليا ً‬ ‫ً‬ ‫مركزا سياسيًا يجعلها من أهم المدن الفلسطينية‪ ،‬إذ انها تُعتبر العاصمة اإلدارية المؤقتة للسلطة الوطنية الفلسطينية؛ وفيها مقر‬ ‫المقاطعة (القصر الرئاسي)‪ ،‬ومبنى المجلس التشريعي الفلسطيني‪ ،‬و المقر العام لجهاز األمن الفلسطيني في الضفة الغربية‪ ،‬باإلضافة إلى معظم‬ ‫مكاتب ووزارات السلطة‪ .‬كما تعتبر العاصمة الثقافية لوجود عدد من المراكز الثقافية الفلسطينية النشطة فيها‪.‬‬ ‫عُرفت المدينة بعدد من األسماء عبر الزمن‪ ،‬وقد ورد اسم المدينة في مصادر وآثار الصليبيين‪ .‬ووفقًا لعلماء اآلثار فإن المدينة قد تأسست في‬ ‫القرن السادس عشر أثناء الحكم العثماني‪ ،‬والتي ازدهرت في آواخر أيامهم إذ تأسس أول مجلس بلدي فيها عام ‪ .5791‬وقد احتفلت بلدية رام هللا‬ ‫مؤخرا بمئويتها األولى مطلقة مشروعًا تنمويًا بهذه المناسبة‪.‬‬ ‫ً‬ ‫وتقع رام هللا ضمن سلسلة جبال القدس‪ ،‬حيث تطل على الساحل الفلسطيني للبحر المتوسط‪ ،‬والذي يبعد عن المدينة حوالي ‪ 51‬كيلومترا إلى‬ ‫الغرب‪ .‬أما من جهة الشرق والجنوب فهي محاطة بالجبال‪ ،‬وترتفع عن سطح البحر بين ‪ 119-169‬مترا‪ .‬وتعتبر المدينة تاريخيًا منطقة مسيحية‪،‬‬ ‫إال أن معظم سكانها اليوم هم من المسلمين‪ ،‬مع وجود قوي ألقلية مسيحية‪.‬‬ ‫دورا القرع قرية في الشمال من رام هللا‪ ،‬بانحراف قليل نحو الشرق‪ .‬تبعد عن البيرة ‪ ,‬كم‪ .‬أقرب قريتين لها‪ :‬عين يبرود‪ ،‬وجفنا‪ .‬تزرع العنب‬ ‫والتين والبرقوق والخوخ والزيتون (‪ )5599‬دونم‪)5299(،‬دونم مباني وطرق‪ .‬ولكثرة الينابيع تكثر زراعة الخضار‪ .‬وبلغ عدد السكان سنة‬ ‫‪ )12,( 57,5‬مسلم بعضهم يعود بأصله إلى آل عمرو من دورا الخليل‪ .‬وبعضهم من خربة (سميط) الواقعة في أراضي طلوزة في نابلس‪.‬‬ ‫وقد سماها سكانها دورا القرع لتمييزها عن دورا الخليل‪ .‬وتشرب القرية من ينابيع القرية السبعة التي يؤمها الزوار في فصل الصيف للتمتع‬ ‫بمناخها الصحي ومياهها العذبة‪ ،‬ومناظرها الخالبة‪ .‬أسست فيها مدرستان بعد سنة ‪ ،5751‬وفي عام ‪ 299,‬افتتحت فيه مدرسة نموذجية بدعم من‬ ‫حكومة لوكسمبورغ‪ .‬في العام ‪ ،5777‬وبسبب جمالها الخالب تم اختيارها من قبل محافظة رام هللا والبيرة قرية سياحية‪.‬‬ ‫تعاني القرية من خطر االستيطان المتدفق نحوها من جهة الجنوب‪ ،‬حيث تواصل مستوطنة بيت ايل التوسع على حساب القرية بشكل يومي‪ ،‬األمر‬ ‫الذي يهدد أراضيها الزراعية‪.‬‬ ‫وأقيمت مستوطنة بيت ايل في بداية السبعينات‪ ،‬والتهمت آالف الدنومات الزراعية من أراضي قرية دورا القرع و اليوم أكبر عائلة في دورا‬ ‫القرع هي عائلة حمدان و تمثل ‪ %21‬من دورا القرع‪.‬‬ ‫يبلغ عدد سكان القرية اليوم‪ ،‬في العام ‪ ،2997‬حوالي ‪ 5999‬نسمة‪ ،‬من ضمنهم السكان الذين يسكنون في ضاحية التربية والتعليم وسكان ضاحية‬ ‫الزراعة التي تقع في أراضي القرية‪.‬‬ ‫في العام ‪ ، 577,‬أنشآ مجلس قروي في القرية ليحل محل المختار‪ ،‬وبقي المجلس لغاية اليوم‪ ،‬في انتظار االنتخابات المحلية الفلسطينية‪.‬‬ ‫وتضم القرية مؤسسات هامة‪ ،‬ومن ضمنها نادي دورا القرع الذي تأسس في العام ‪ ،5727‬ويشرف النادي على أنشطة شبابية مختلفة لشباب‬ ‫القرية وجمعية دورا القرع التعاونية الزراعية التي تأسست في عام ‪،2996‬وهي مؤسسة تعاونية ديمقراطية و تهدف إلى النهوض بالمزارعين‪.‬‬

‫‪11‬‬


For the First Time in My Life Nour Obeidallah All my life, I've always come up short of belonging to a group in this world. I was never Arab enough for the Arabs, never American enough for the Americans, not even Arab-American enough for the Arab-Americans. All my life, I've found characteristics in myself that kept me a few legs short of identifying with anything or anyone. Either it was the lack of melanin in my complexion or my insufficient knowledge of the Arabic language that kept me from feeling in line with my Middle Eastern roots, or it was my foreign name and Muslim faith that pulled me away from the American experience all my friends indulged in. All my life, I've felt a disconnect from my family and friends. Cousins referred to me as the "white girl" of the family and my white American friends were never comfortable enough to share their lives with me in fear of me not understanding. All my life, I felt I wasn't religious enough to form ties to the Muslim community, feeling out of place with the Muslim youth from my mosque and later on at the MSA at my university. All my life, I was my own individual entity, unable to fully engross myself in any subculture that I could relate to. All my life, I felt that I wasn't enough of anything to fit in anywhere. I began to accept the fact that I would never find a place in this world and began to mull over the idea that not everyone in life is meant to belong. I continued to go about my existence as a white-passing, Muslim, Palestinian, feminist, out of place and confused. Until this past month. For the first time in my life, I went to Palestine. For the first time in my life, I stepped foot on the soil that my parents call home but never had the opportunity to show me. I engrossed myself in a culture that I was always too uncomfortable to let myself love. I saw myself finally belonging in a world, society, and culture that I felt separated from since the day I was born. For the first time in my life, I felt as if I belonged. I visited the village my parents were raised in. I met family members that I thought wouldn't recognize me, only to be greeted with open arms, love, kisses, and a handful of figs picked off a tree in their backyard. I was welcomed by people who acted as if they had been waiting their entire life to meet me, when in reality they only found out I was in town 24 hours earlier. For the first time in my life, I felt loved and appreciated by everyone I met. Welcomed by Palestinian strangers on the streets of Nazareth and Haifa. Invited to eat bread and zaatar by an elderly couple in Al-Aqsa mosque. Offered a Quran for free by a Palestinian vendor in Al-Quds who worried I wouldn't buy it because I couldn't afford it. For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by strangers who were so eager to welcome me into their homes and viewed me as one of their own, despite the fact that I lived 5,000 miles away. For the first time in my life, I lived, breathed, and dived into the Palestinian culture that I felt unworthy to call my own because of everything in my identity that I had felt pulled me away from it. For the first time in my life, I felt at home. I met my people and found the culture I had been longing for. I belonged somewhere in this world and knew that no matter what, I had a place, a person, a community to turn to. 12


3000 Nights Mai Masri The idea for 3000 Nights began when I was shooting a documentary in my hometown, Nablus, during the first Intifada where I met a young Palestinian woman who had given birth in an Israeli prison. She told me how she had delivered her son in chains and how she had raised him with the other women prisoners. Her story touched a deep chord within me especially since I had recently become a mother myself. I began interviewing other former prisoners who had delivered their children in Israeli prisons. I discovered a fascinating world of women's solidarity and resilience - a story that needed to be told. It was a wonderful and unique experience working with an almost all women cast. They brought an incredible energy to the film. I wanted them to tap into their own memories and experiences. Many of them had either experienced prison directly or through their families. I was fortunate to be able to shoot in an old disused military prison in Jordan. The oppressive atmosphere of the prison with its thick concrete walls and rusty iron bars created a powerful dramatic and psychological framework for the actors and helped ground their performances in reality. Over 850,000 Palestinian men, women and children have been detained in Israeli prisons in the past 50 years (almost 20% of the population). Prison and detention are themes that have been strongly represented in my films. I feel that prison is a powerful metaphor for the condition of Palestinian people living under occupation and in exile. Although the events of the film take place in the eighties, they could be happening today. The number of Palestinian prisoners is on the rise especially with the arrest of so many young people and children. Israel continues to appropriate Palestinian land and build illegal settlements with total impunity and violation of international law. 3000 Nights is a film about resilience and resistance. It is above all a film about hope. It has been screened around the world and has won over 24 international awards, representing Jordan at the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Film and Palestine at the Golden Globes. Films like 3000 Nights help create understanding, raise awareness, and generate discussion. They put a human face on the Palestinian narrative at a time when the news coverage coming out of the Middle East mostly focuses on violence and destruction with little insight into the real causes of the conflict. We are witnessing an exciting time when more and more films are being made in Palestine, almost half of them directed by women. These films focus on powerful themes derived from real life stories and events, exploring aesthetic and creative boundaries. Palestinian films have been recognized at major film festivals and platforms around the world. They have helped put Palestine on the human map and bring it into the hearts and minds of people around the world. They have inspired people to think and take action in the most positive and creative ways.

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Sheikh Hussein Crossing Suzanne Barkawi “But I’m an American!” she exclaims at the checkpoint, as her belongings are haphazardly strewn on the indifferent tile floor. The long line of sleepless eyes look on, obviously unfazed by this obtrusive violation of privacy. They have seen this five, ten, twenty times already. But we take it. We watch, and we endure. We know we will be next, approaching the black and yellow tape. My turn - he asks me, “Where are you going?” “How long do you plan to stay?” “Address?” “Do you have social media? Why not?” I watch a single black hair protruding from his mole move as he questions me; Focusing on this helps me hold my tongue. “Why are you here?” This wakes me from my stupor. Why? Because this is my homeland. Because I am trying to make simultaneous amends with my Arab and American sides, which are constantly in flux – a personal Peace Process. Because I want to taste the zait w’ zaatar from the soil of my ancestors. Because I want to see if my grandmother’s tales of spring gardenia and jasmine are true. But most of all, why should I have to answer? I turn and look at an older woman wearing a battered thoub, waving goodbye to a person who has long since passed the checkpoint. A single tear traveled down her cheek, wrinkled and cracked like red desert soil. I understand why she continues to wave. I have tasted that tear. I receive my stamp and move along.

Photo taken by Sereen Tartir 16


Illustrated by Aysha Mohdi 17


The Butter Moment Tom Brokett On a cold December night, I remember driving from my apartment in North Bergen to a hotel in Secaucus just opposite MetLife Stadium. I remember my excitement and anticipation during the drive over. Part of that was the driving itself. In my nine months in New Jersey, I never lost the thrill of navigating the freeways that snake across the state in an incomprehensible tangle, whether heading past the stadium on the way to Clifton or being reacquainted with the luminous Manhattan skyline on a drive home. But this night was particularly special because it was the first formal Palestinian-American community event that I had been invited to – a large fundraising dinner for a charity working in Palestine. Having arrived in the country just a few weeks before, knowing only one person over Skype and email, I felt privileged and lucky to be able to attend a night where hundreds of Palestinian-Americans would come together. Throughout my time in the US, I never lost an appreciation and gratitude for an invitation, however small – to hang out in a café on Main Street, watch the SuperBowl at Ramzy’s, attend a wedding, or meet up at Dunkin Donuts. This was for professional and personal reasons, although it is difficult to separate the two. Every meeting, event, and discussion would propel me further into the complicated and fascinating worlds of the Palestinian -American community and the distinct individuals within it. From the outset, I sought out such information and insights because this is, ultimately, what will allow me to gain a PhD level expertise in the postimmigrant generations of the Palestinian diaspora in America. But my time with you was also deeply personal. When I arrived in America, I had no friends, and the Palestinian-American community grew to become my social bedrock. Without these friendships and relationships, I would have no doubt been lonely and nostalgic for my life back in London, which – thanks to you - I never really missed. The dinner in Secaucus was great fun. I remember sitting on a table with a few people my age, a number of whom would grow to be friends that I would see many times. I even spent eight days touring Palestine as part of the Homeland Project with one of them. A few things from that night still resonate with me. The first is the bemused looks I got from some older guests as I led them to their seats, as I was technically volunteering that evening (although I did a pretty poor job). With my face and my accent, I was a slightly conspicuous outsider at a Palestinian fundraising event in New Jersey. These looks would come again, for example at weddings, an engagement ceremony or even just when I was sitting in the offices of PACC. But I tried to understand and respect them. After all, when was the last time you saw a white British guy at a tulba? The second thing I remember from that night is being handed a plate of, what I thought, was two small balls of soft cheese, scooping them up with my fork and beginning to chew, only to realise that they were, in fact, butter. Those on my table had watched the whole process and were in stitches. I had genuinely never seen butter presented like that. I think this ‘butter moment’ is a nice analogy for my visit. New Jersey, and America, was alien to me when I arrived, and I learnt the strange, the complicated and the sometimes-frustrating ways of American life with and through your community. Perhaps that is why I will never be able to think of America without thinking of Palestinian-Americans. The last thing I remember is the comedian’s performance at the end of the night. Part of his sketch was to ask about the ethnic background of the audience. He went through Palestinian, Jordanian, Egyptian, asking people to put their hands up. I guessed what was coming. ‘What about white people?’, he calls out, a mischievous grin on his face. ‘Put your hand up if you are white!’. I don’t know why, but I did. The other white 18


people in attendance, maybe two or three in a hall of several hundred, were speakers at the event and he already knew them. But he was intrigued by me. Calling across the hall, he asked my name and then, jokingly inquired ‘what the hell are you doing here, Tom?’. I looked across to PACC’s table, who were laughing hysterically, as were my table, including myself. I think of that moment often, perhaps because it gets to the heart of my time in Palestinian America. I was always an outsider and could never fly under the radar. But I remember that moment fondly because, as I looked over to the PACC table, I felt like we were laughing, together, at the strange situation that brought us into each others lives. The warmness, the support, and the openness that so many of you showed to me - in spite of the unlikely circumstances that led me to you - is something I will never forget. I drove home that evening, towards the Empire State Building, excited for my short future in New Jersey.

Photo taken by Ahmad Jamhour 19


Different Worlds Rahma Abukwaik My name is Samia Ali. I am an eight year old Palestinian girl with a very large family. I have 9 older brothers. You might be thinking of how much of a blessing it is to have such a big family; however, what you do not understand is that we are truly living in two completely different worlds. You might be reading this on your couch, drinking your daily coffee, and just soaking in all your blessings. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, you have me. Just me. No couch. No coffee. No blessings. Just me. So, yes, having such a large family frustrates me, it makes me want to pull what little hair I have left from my skull. It’s not that I hate them, for that wouldn’t be a problem for me if I did. The problem is the complete opposite. I love each and every single one of them to death, and that is exactly what aggravates me so much. Doesn’t make sense, right? Again, we live in two different worlds. Let me explain: each day I wake up, my loved ones are in extreme danger. Each day they wake up, they fight for their lives. They fight for my life. And most importantly, they fight for our country’s freedom. Nine siblings might seem like a blessing to you, but to me, it’s an ugly curse. Nine is a curse because when you love all nine of them and you have to worry about whether you will ever see them again, it tears your heart to pieces. When one of those nine brothers comes home late one night, and you wait up for him, anxiously wondering if he is dead or alive, how could I call them a blessing? Just in case you’re wondering, those nine were once okay. From what I know, as of now, as I write this, they haven’t been okay for almost 7 months. No, they’re not sick. No, they’re not hungry. They are dead. Yes, dead. How do I know for sure? Well, I don’t. And that’s what sucks about my world. You never really knows what’s going on. Last time I saw them, they were running away in the streets, trying to find shelter as flying weapons trickled over their heads like rain. As they ran, they continued to look behind them, yelling towards me, “Samia! Let’s go!” I did run behind them, I didn’t have anything else to do or anywhere else to go. So I ran, eyes closed and arms wrapped tightly around my slim body. No, not slim as in “skinny and beautiful” as it is in your world. Slim as in I haven’t had anything to eat in days, making me look like a pale skeleton. I continued to run as fast as I could, tears flowing from my eyes. I thought, “This might be it.” I ran and ran and ran until I felt a sharp pain spread throughout my leg. I fell. I screamed to the point where I felt like my lungs were about to explode. I wanted my brothers to know that I had fallen behind. My wallowing was concealed by the loud sound of exploding bombs and launching missiles all around us. They kept on running, and as they disappeared into the big cloud of black smoke, I kept on screaming. I was left alone on the dirt ground, bleeding. At some point, the amount of blood I lost caught up with me and I must have passed out. The next thing I saw when I opened my eyes was a roof above me made of wheat. I looked left and right, trying to get a sense of where I was. To my right was a lifeless baby, covered in bandages from its tummy to its toes. To my left lay an old, limbless man who coughed up blood every time he opened his mouth to speak. I sat up and saw hundreds of injured civilians, each one of them being drained of any kind of hope. I looked down at my bandaged leg and remembered my brothers. My heart ached for them. As painful as it was, I stood up and stumbled outside in hopes of finding my brothers. The sky was clear, and the bombs had stopped falling. I waddled everywhere I could, praying to God I would find my family. As you may have guessed by now, I didn’t find them. I did, however, see about 35 piles of dead bodies being burned. I couldn’t help but look away. I didn’t want to imagine that all nine of my brothers were there in front of me in that pile of bodies. I decided to walk home, praying that I would find them. Let me clarify to you what my “home” is, since in your world a “home” is a safe place of comfort and protection. My “home” is located under a bridge. My brothers and I all lived there. When I got home, they were not there. Seven months have passed and I am still here under the bridge, waiting for their return. I know, deep down inside, that they will not return, but I still have some hope that they will. For seven months now, all I can do is assume that they are resting in peace. And sometimes, I wish I was too. But I can’t help but wonder if God 20


made me fall behind for a reason. Maybe God wanted me to fall behind so that I could continue to fight and so that I may deliver this message to you. I’ve been fighting alone for months, and I finally came to realize that this problem, this war, this fight, this struggle can not be fought alone. I need your help. We need your help. I have hope in you that you can save me and my people from this catastrophe. As I write this, in this very moment, I hear bombs falling. This might be it. I might die right here, right now. Please, do not let this message die with me. Do anything in your power to help those who are suffering around the world. God may have let me fall behind so that I may deliver this message to you, but God gave you a beautiful war-free life so that you may aid those less fortunate than you. Our freedom is in your hands. I believe in you. I must go now, the bridge I am under is crumbling to pieces. I won’t forget to thank you in heaven. Assalamu Alaikum, goodbye my friends. “Ash-Haddu An La Illaha Illa Allah, Wa Ash Haddu Anna Muhammad Rasool Allah”

Illustrated by Mohammad Alomari 21


THE QUDS MAN: HAMZE SARRAJ This year, a group of 10 young professionals and college students went on a trip to Palestine as part of PACC’s new initiative, the Homeland Project. Everyday, the group toured a different part of Palestine, learned about its history and saw the realities on the ground. The group visited Jerusalem, Palestine’s capital and the home of so much history and so many stories. There the group met Hamze, a 25 year old tour guide who was volunteering with Taawon, the non-governmental organization PACC collaborated with in Palestine. He is originally Palestinian, but due to life circumstance and opportunities, he was born and raised in Saudi Arabia. He had visited and lived in Palestine on and off for many years, but has resettled back to living in Jerusalem about ten months ago. His love for Jerusalem and his desire to learn everything he can about the city and country he loves brought him back. What’s your favorite thing about Jerusalem? Al Quds has always been known as the city of God, and I always felt something special about the city itself. The atmosphere is unlike anything else in the world. I don’t know if you guys felt that or not, but only when you are in Jerusalem do you feel something else. It's like this place is holy, it’s like this place has something different than the rest of the world. If I want to be shallow, maybe it's because the city has a wall. It's very appealing because it's like a kingdom with a wall like in fairytales. And like I said it’s the amount of history here. Every religion, every kingdom, every empire has something to do with this city. You previously mentioned something about how in the Quds, light reflects and stays here, what did you mean by that? I have this theory that scenes are not only what we see. You can see the exact same view but one is more appealing than than the other. Why? People see things through a reflection of light; I have a theory that maybe the light that reflects doesn't go away. So every light that reflected onto the city since it was created for thousands of years is there. We can't see it, but we can feel it, and if you look at the whole city you can see everything the city has went through, all the empires, all the people. Sometimes I will walk around at 3 am and I look at the wall and I think, “Why is it so beautiful if it’s just stone?” The idea occurred to me then that it's the history. It's the amount of visual scenes here, the geography of the city is unmatched and it's like no other in the world. Living in Palestine, the occupation affects your life in ways others probably couldn't imagine. Can you think of an example of this? It's the little things in life. Living in America or anywhere else, you are born free and you think you can go anywhere and not have to take into account a lot of things. For example, going downtown. If you were anywhere else, you would just go but here you have to think about a lot of things: Are there problems? Is there a lot of tension there? Is it okay to be around Israelis today or not? Do they hate us more today or not? For example, now it's not as easy to go to Yaffa Street, because these days there is hatred. My friends at their jobs are experiencing racism. Why? Because their boss is being a jerk because of what's happening. This instability in life is what is not easy and you wouldn't even think about it. When I first came I was like let's go here and there, but you can’t just do that. Anywhere else in the world, you can just go. All you need to know is how to get there. Here you need think about who can go with me? Can I go? Is it okay? What's the risk? There is always a risk factor. You'll be driving at 1 am and you see police and you try to avoid them. Why? Because they will stop you and check you. It's a headache. You might think of it as something minor but it affects you and your daily life. When you constantly need to think about things that you normally otherwise wouldn’t have to, it deeply affects you.

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What advice do you have to Palestinian Americans? Before I came here I was a different person,- nothing really mattered to me. Of course, we cared about Palestine and we had culture days and we were strongly attached to this place. But we never really put in the effort to understand it fully. My advice, even when I go back to Saudi Arabia, is be more in touch with the place, to be more aware and try to understand what's really happening. My friends back in the Gulf were asking me what was happening in Jerusalem. Very few of them know what the real story of what’s going on is. You have to always make the effort to understand it. One thing is never forgive and never forget. Because if we stay disconnected and forget, then we let go. If we let go, we let our country down. How should people educate themselves about what's going on in Palestine politically? Just like you guys are doing right now. If you can come, you should come. Six million Palestinians live outside of Palestine. Very few can come back here, so if you are able to come back, then you have to. As Palestinians, our entire lives are based on the right to return, so if you can and you don’t then who are you leaving the land to? Learn about it, there are hundreds of resources. No other cause in the world has as many resources as ours. We have 69 years worth of resources. Don't read what they write about it, read what we are writing about it. For example, read what people in jail wrote, because these are the people who gave a lot [to the cause]. Can you share with us your perspective and tell us the significance of what happened with the protests in Al-Quds? So what happened was two soldiers were shot at Bab Hota before Friday prayer. The three people who did this ran into Al-Aqsa and they were chased by Israeli police authorities and were shot and killed inside AlHaram. One of them died under the Dome of the Rock, so the Israeli authorities said there will be no Friday prayer that day. That was the first time that happened in about 60 years, so people went crazy. They thought, “you can't just cancel Friday prayer like this,” so this caused people to gather at the gates and pray outside instead. That same night, they wanted to fix these metal detector gates and so that no one would go to Masjid Al-Aqsa until they passed through them. People thought this was unacceptable. This is our place. This is our Aqsa. It was a very civilized protest for two weeks, they decided that no one will go into Al-Aqsa and that’s what happened. Everyone committed to this and everyone refused to go through. Even the keys of Al-Aqsa were not given back so that became political. This also started some clashes because people would come down to pray and close up the streets and the Israeli police would just use violence against them. They wanted to stop the protests with rubber bullets, sound bombs, horses, sewage water, anything. This caused friction with the people and clashes would happen. So on the seventh day, everyone was called to pray the Friday prayer only at Al-Aqsa. So everyone who wanted to pray could only go to Al-Aqsa, but no one would enter the mosque, they would pray at the gates. The numbers were crazy. About 100,000 people committed to this. I was there that day and I prayed on Salah Al-Deen street. Once the second the prayer was over, the Israeli army attacked people with rubber bullets, sewage water, and sound bombs. They wanted trouble. This all escalated very quickly, especially when a settler shot an 18 year old boy in his head and he died on the spot. This poured gas over the fire. People were done. Three other people died that night, it was really bad and bloody. But they didn't give up. That same night a guy named Omar from Qobar attacked a settlement and killed three people there. The issue became even bigger to the Israelis because 4 people were killed there and now three people killed here. The people in Al-Quds rioted against the Israelis for the next week and everyday there were clashes and problems, every night until the morning there was fighting. It got to the point that the police department was begging Netanyahu to just withdraw. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE 23


THE QUDS MAN: Continued They couldn't control the city and created problems they couldn't handle. Netanyahu refused because he couldn't hurt his image, so it stayed bad until they took the metal detectors off. And then people knew they won, so that night until 6 am we were celebrating in the streets, it became a full festival. The next day people said let's all gather whoever was there for the two weeks and whoever wasn't everyone come and let's all go into the Al-Aqsa together. So the people all gathered before Asr prayer and everyone entered but “Bab Hotta,” where the soldiers were killed, was still closed. When they asked the Israelis to open it, they said, “Not even in your dreams,” so people were like we aren't going in until they open this gate and we are only going to enter through this one gate. This took about two hours of negotiations, so after they asked if the people could just go in and the people said no only through this gate, so finally we won again and they opened the gate and everyone went in chanting “God is Great.” Then out of nowhere, another problem happened again. It all started with a slap. A guy slapped a soldier so the soldier pushed him, and then it escalated from a fist fight to rock throwing, and Al-Aqsa quickly turned into a battlefield for a good six hours. They shut the gates and everything. So that night everyone left, and the next day was Friday which means trouble for the Israelis, because everything started because of Friday prayer. So when this happened the night of Friday, they were scared that the next day was going to be bloody, so all the soldiers were pulled out and the city was closed so no one would go and start trouble. Eventually, the masjid was open completely and now everything is fine. So what happened here is a perfect example of a very civilized protest. For the first couple of days, it was very peaceful. We were there because the masjid is closed and we wanted it opened. So it was beautiful to see. As always, it wasn't only the men involved. It was more women than men, the women played a very big role. They went everyday and every night. This made me happy having everyone united and standing together, everyone standing for one goal from the beginning to the end and then winning. I'm very happy to have been here and lived it.

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Photo taken by Rania Mustafa


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This is my Home Aya Mustafa I feel as if there is something missing I can not stop my constant reminiscing Of a place that fits the description of heaven Of a place that has the tastiest lemons A kingdom a person dreams to place his or her throne A land that everyone wants to call their own Could this be where I may find my missing piece? Will my mind and soul finally be at ease? But how can this place be the cure When I have to go through hell before opening its door? Entering this place is not a breeze How can it make me feel at ease? I was rejected from entering its blessed capital Looked down upon by the settlers as if I were an animal But I have no sharp teeth, no claws and no tail At least I was not taken to their tormenting jail The list of horrors goes on and on But this truly is the place I dream of at dawn The place that makes my heart complete The place that has my favorite sweet The place that leaves my soul singing This is the land that life is worth living This is the true home of the brave This is where I yearn to lie in my grave This is the land that gold and riches cannot buy This is the land where all the Prophets have passed by This is the place where women give birth to warriors This is the place we will continue to fight for until victorious This is Palestine This is my Home

Photo taken by Sereen Tartir 28


Eternally Ours Reeham Farhat The blessing that fell upon us from The Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful, The Most Gracious: Allah The most precious home to billions of Muslims around the globe Delicately placed in the land owned by many Palestinians; you are the soil to our land ‘O the joy you bring to the many Palestinian Muslims who kneel down on your floor, thanking God for the beautiful gift he had brought upon us. You are the gem to our land in which you prospered You give the 1.6 billion Muslims and the 11.6 million Palestinians hope that Palestine will be free, Insha’ Allah Masjid Al-Aqsa, the dearest gift from God, we won’t ever let you go, our eternal gift.

To be a Child of Diaspora Lina Abdul-Samad To be a child of Diaspora is to sit at family gatherings and fervently pray that when your uncle speaks to you in your mother-tongue, the syllables don’t get lost on the way from your throat to your lips. You practice saying basic sentences over and over until they finally fit your mouth like the figs from your grandfather’s backyard that are laying in front of you. You strengthen your weak American tongue in exchange for Arabic, the language of your homeland. Yet, they still call you “American”. They still snicker, with nostrils flared up, the laughter, choking on superiority and pride, when you switch the letters from their acquainted place. Even letters in a word have a home. To be a child of Diaspora is to walk with your cousins, your uncles, and your aunts, and feel like an imposter, and attempt to be more like them. You mirror their exaggerated gestures and learn the taboos of society. You nourish yourself with more figs. Maybe eating from the land of your relatives will remind your tongue of who you were supposed to sound like. You go back to America, the land of diversity. Your olive skin and dark hair do not mix well with whiteness. They tell you to go home. You wish you knew where that was. To be a child of Diaspora is to have to explain your hyphenated identity to be an Earth that is made of two continents and the tectonic plates are always pulling f u r t h e r and f u r t h e r apart.

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‫الدبكة الفلسطينية‬ ‫غزالن الحج‬ ‫يحرص الفلسطينون على توريث فلكلورهم و تراثهم الشعبي من جيل إلى آخر خوفًا عليه من الطمس و الضياع و حفا ً‬ ‫ظا على هويتهم من االندثار‬ ‫ً‬ ‫طويال عبر التاريخ‪ ،‬حيث تشتبك األيادي خالل‬ ‫و تعتبر الدبكة الشعبية إحدى أهم صور هذا التراث الذي يستند إلى إرث فني وثقافي يمتد زمنًا‬ ‫أدائها كدليل على الوحدة و التضامن‪ ،‬و تضرب األرجل باألرض داللة على العنفوان والرجولة‪ ،‬و ترافقها أغاني تعبر عن عمق االنتماء لألرض‬ ‫الفلسطينية‪ .‬حيث كانت الدبكة قبل االحتالل تأخذ طابع المناسبات و بعد نكبة عام ‪ ٨٤٩١‬أصبحت الدبكة شكل من أشكال النضال الوطني‪.‬‬ ‫وتنقسم الدبكة إلى عدة أنواع و هي ‪:‬‬ ‫‪ -٨‬دبكة الشعراوية‪ :‬تدبك عادة على اليرغول‪ ،‬و هي الدبكة التقليدية حيث تكون ذات إيقاع سريع و تدبك مع شبك األيادي‪.‬‬ ‫‪ -٢‬دبكة الدرازي‪ :‬و هي نفس حركات الدبكة الشعراوية و لكن بحركات بطيئة وهادئة و تدبك مع شبك األيادي‪.‬‬ ‫سميت بهذا االسم ألن الحركة تبدأ بالرجل الشمال و تنتهي بالشمال‪.‬‬ ‫‪ -٣‬دبكة الشمالية‪ُ :‬‬ ‫‪ -٩‬دبكة البدوية ‪ :‬من نفس فصيلة الدبكة الشمالية و هي دبكة السبعوية تدبك مع رفع األيادي على األكتاف‪.‬‬ ‫‪ -٥‬دبكة العسكر ‪ :‬تدبك مع رفع األيادي على األكتاف و حركاتها تشبه حركات المشية العسكرية في بدايتها‪.‬‬ ‫‪ -٦‬دبكة الدلعونا وزريف الطول‬ ‫‪ -٧‬دبكة الدحية ‪ :‬و ينتشر هذا النوع من الدبكة عند البدو‪ ،‬وهي خاصة بهم و فيها تصفيق بصورة خاصة تسمى تسحيجات و يردد المشاركون‬ ‫كلمات قد ال يفهمها اآلخرون ‪.‬‬ ‫صقورا طائرين‪ ،‬وسنموت أسودًا‬ ‫فلنعتز بتراثنا و إرثنا فهو رمز هويتنا وحضارتنا‪ ،‬ولنغرسه في عقول و قلوب أبنائنا‪ .‬و ليكن شعارنا سنعيش‬ ‫ً‬ ‫شامخين وكلنا للوطن وكلنا فلسطين‪.‬‬

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‫لباس المرأة الفلسطينية‬ ‫رجاء غزاونة‬ ‫‪::‬لباس المرأة ‪::‬‬

‫‪ -٨‬البشنقية‪ :‬وهي منديل بـ(أوية) أي بإطار يحيط المنديل و أشكالها مختلفة‪ ،‬وفوق المنديل يطرح على الرأس شال‪ ،‬أو طرحة‪ ،‬أو فيشة؛ وهي‬ ‫أوشحة من حرير وصوف‪.‬‬ ‫‪ -٢‬إلزار‪ :‬وهو بدل العباية مصنوع من نسيج الكتان األبيض أو قطن نقي‪.‬‬ ‫‪ -٣‬الحبرة‪ :‬قماشة من حرير أسود أو غيره من األلوان‪ ،‬لها في وسطها شماره أو دكة تشدها المرأة على ما ترغب فيصبح ما دون الحبرة‬ ‫كالتنورة‪ ،‬وتغطي أعلى الحبرة كتفيها‪ .‬المالية‪ :‬أشبه بالحبرة في اللون وصنف القماش ولكنها معطف ذو أكمام يلبس من فوقه برنس يغطي‬ ‫الرأس ويتدلى إلى الخصر‪.‬‬ ‫‪ -٩‬الفستان أو إليلك‪ :‬وهو فستان من قماش أبيض يسمى بالبفت أحيا ًنا يسمى باليلك‪ ،‬و يحاك من القماش المخمل في الشتاء أو األقمشة الخفيفة‬ ‫كالبرلون في الصيف‪ .‬في حين تلبس الصبايا إليلك من القماش المزخرف بالرسوم الورد واألزهار‪ .‬وينتشر إليلك في قرى جنين وطولكرم‪.‬‬ ‫‪ -٥‬الثوب أو الخلق‪ :‬يتنوع قماش الثوب بين القرى ويختلف وفقا ً لفئات األعمار و باختالف الفصول؛ فهو في الصيف قماش خفيف على األغلب‬ ‫وأكثر سم ًكا في الشتاء‪ .‬و غالبًا ما يكون معرقًا للصبايا؛ أي مزرك ً‬ ‫قماش ذي لون واحد لكبار السن‪.‬‬ ‫شا بالرسومات الوردية‪ ،‬ومن‬ ‫ٍ‬ ‫‪ -٦‬ثوب المردن‪ :‬ينتشر في شمال فلسطين وهو ثوب فضفاض من القماش األبيض أو المزركش السميك أو الخفيف الذي يصل إلى حد‬ ‫الشفافية‪ .‬أما اسمه المردن فيعود إلى أكمامه الواسعة الطويلة حيث يطلق عليه اسم الكم المردن‪.‬‬ ‫‪::‬عصائب المرأة ‪::‬‬ ‫الصفة‪ :‬لما يصفون عليها من الدراهم الفضية أو الذهبية‪ ،‬وربما زاد عددها عن ثمانين قطعة وقد تكون هذه الدراهم حصة المرأة من مهرها ويحق‬ ‫لها التصرف بها وهي منتشرة على الخصوص في قضاء رام هللا‪.‬‬ ‫نادرا ما تلبس العذراء‬ ‫الصمادة‪ :‬تُصنع الصمادة من قماش الثوب وتربط بما يحيط بأسفل الذقن ويعلق برباطها قطعة نقود ذهبية للزينة ولكن ً‬ ‫الصمادة فإذا لبستها صفت نقود أقل من المتزوجة‪.‬‬ ‫البرقع‪ :‬ويسمى في بعض األحيان الشناف وهو قطعة نقد تعلق باألنف وال تتشنفها في المعتاد سوى البدويات‪ .‬والبرقع عادة يضاف إلى الصمادة‪.‬‬ ‫الشطوة‪ :‬وهي قبعة اسطوانية صلبة تغطى من الخارج بقماش أحمر أو أخضر‪ ،‬وتصف في مقدمتها النقود الذهبية أو الفضية فيما تزين موخرتها‬ ‫بالنقود الفضية فقط‪ ،‬وتربط الشطوة إلى الرأس بحزام يمتد إلى الذقن ويتدلى الزناق من جانبيها‪ ،‬وكانوا يصفون فوق الدراهم صف مرجان‪.‬‬ ‫وتطرز الشطوة تطريز دقيق ويوضع فوقها خرق من الحرير األبيض تعرف بالتربيعة‪ .‬والشطوة تخص نساء بيت لحم وبيت جاال وبيت ساحور‪.‬‬ ‫الطفطاف أو الشكة أو العرقية‪ :‬تلبسها نساء قضاء الخليل والقدس ويافا وتصف عليها حتى األذنين نقود في صفين فتسمى الطفطاف أو الشكة أو‬ ‫العرقية‪ ،‬وتصف من الخلف أربع قطع نقدية أكبر حجما ً من النقود التي تصف في اإلمام‪.‬‬ ‫الحطة والعصبة‪ :‬وهي تكون إما لفحة كبيرة أو شال‪ ،‬والمتزوجة عادة هي التي تعصب‪.‬‬ ‫الطواقي أو الوقاة‪ :‬ومنها ما يصنع من قماش الثوب‪ ،‬وتطرز تطريز زخرفي ويربط بشريط أو خيط تحت الذقن‪ .‬ومنها الطاقية المخروطية‬ ‫المصنوعة من المخمل األرجواني ومزينة بالنقود الذهبية‪.‬‬ ‫االغطية‪ :‬ومنها الغطاء األسود ويسمى القنعة وهي قماشة سوداء غير مطرزة تلبس في قطاع غزة‪.‬‬ ‫الحزام‪ :‬ويسمى الشملة أو الجداد و يوضع حول الخصر وهو مصنوع من قماش الستان أو الحرير تضعه الفتاة بعد لفه عدة لفات‪.‬‬

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The Case of Issa Amro: Non-Violence in the Face of Injustice Kristina Brunner and Ariel Gold, CODEPINK: Women for Peace It’s August 1st, 2017 and Issa Amro, Palestinian Human Rights defender, is leading a peace delegation in AlKhalil, Arabic for Hebron, in Occupied Palestine. The delegation he is with is comprised of multiple activist groups, including American Muslims for Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, Interfaith Peace Builders as well as his own group, Youth Against Settlements. They are walking down a street together in front of the Ibrahimi Mosque when Israeli Forces prevent the group from going any further. According to these soldiers, only Jews and Christians may use the street for the rest of their walk, while Muslim members of the delegation must use an alternate path. This is when CODEPINK’s Ariel Gold begins live streaming the ordeal on her Facebook page. The violent occupation and settler terrorism of Palestinians is normalized under Israel’s apartheid regime. A regime that, in Hebron, does not even try to hide its apartheid status. When asked why Muslims must walk on a different street than the Christians and Jews of the group, the Israeli soldier responds, “Why? I don’t know. This is a very large area that is divided.” Gold, in an attempt to refute this segregation, tells the soldier, “Sounds like apartheid to me.” The camera turns to Amro, a renowned peace activist who has dedicated his life to the non-violent resistance of Israel’s illegal occupation. As he listens to the soldier attempt to explain why Muslims must take a separate route, Amro calmly asks, “Can you listen to me now?” He advocates for the members of the group, informing the soldiers that they are all United States citizens. Despite this attempt, all Muslims, Americans and Palestinians, are forced to separate from the group. Injustices such as these are nothing new to Amro. He has been advocating for justice for Palestinians since organizing demonstrations against the closure of the Palestine Polytechnic University by the Israeli army during the Second Intifada in 2003. In 2007, he co-founded Youth Against Settlements (YAS) in Hebron to involve young people in resistance of the occupation. YAS’s main campaign, “Open Shuhuda Street,” calls to open the streets and marketplaces that have been closed since violent settler Baruch Goldstein murdered 29 Palestinians in the Ibrahimi mosque in 1994. His dedication to Palestinian liberation through non-violence has garnered him international recognition and has shed light on the injustices of the occupation. He has been recognized as a human rights defender by the European Union and was awarded “Human Rights Defender of the Year in Palestine” in 2010 by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. This attention and international legitimacy given to Amro’s work has threatened the shaky ground the Israeli occupation stands upon. In an attempt to silence and delegitimize Amro’s work, the Israeli Military Court has brought up 18 separate charges against him between 2010 and 2016, some of which he has already been cleared of. Amro has been arrested numerous times for no reason other than for organizing peaceful protests, an illegal act under Israeli military law. These arrests, Amro states, are “...a kind of intimidation to stop the nonviolent activities” that he and his group engage in. The charges, issued in September 2016, are all based on Amro’s demonstrations and range from “illegal demonstrations” to incitement, and even spitting in the direction of a settler. To challenge these old and exaggerated charges, as well as to speak out against the 99% conviction rate of the Israeli Military Court, CODEPINK joined a campaign asking U.S. members of congress to take action against the politically-motivated charges against Issa Amro. In a historic moment, 32 members of Congress--more than ever before to support a Palestinian--signed a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to pressure the Israeli government to drop the charges against Amro. 32


Despite this, the Israeli Military Court pursued their trial of Issa Amro on July 9th, 2017. Ariel Gold has been in Palestine throughout the summer to bear witness to the trial and provide media coverage of Amro’s statements about trial proceedings. “It is not about justice,” Amro states as he is interviewed behind the fence of the Ofer military court, “It is not about law.....we are not [just] talking about a fake trial, we are talking about a military system that should be ended after 50 years of occupation and Palestinians should get their freedom.” Amro remains steadfast in his pursuit of justice, and says he will not give up and will continue his nonviolence. Despite this attempted silencing tactic of the Israeli Military Court against Amro by exaggerating charges, he continues to use his voice in the face of injustice in order to bring awareness of the occupation to the international community. Back in al-Khalil, the Muslims of the peace delegation are forced to separate themselves from the group under the soldier's orders. Amro takes this moment to reconvene the group from engaging with the soldiers, and assures the Muslims of the group that they will walk with him. He turns to the live stream and sends a message to the world: “...that is the ‘Israeli Democracy’ and that is the Israeli justice. Let’s do what they [the Israeli Forces] say, and we will challenge the system, not this commander...he is implementing the orders, but we can challenge the system and we will work against the system. How will we work against the system? We go back home and start working hard in making what happened known to everyone. And put pressure on them to make the changes we want to do.” In solidarity with Issa Amro, and the people of Palestine, we will continue to work at home to challenge the system that allows for the oppression of Palestinians and share the truth with the world.

Illustrated by Fawzieh Osman 33


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Homeland Project Day 5 Marah Siyam Hello Jesus, we went to Bethlehem. We saw where you were born and paid our respects with our hands crossed behind our backs. We chuckled slightly since we know you aren't dead, and left. We then went to what was arguably the coolest part of the whole trip, the Walled Off Hotel by Banksy. The Hotel and its art exhibition was one of the most perfectly detailed and designed things I have ever seen. I cried the whole time, so I'm pretty sure my vision was too blurred to really see everything, but from what I did see, I loved it. What happened after the Banksy Hotel is an experience I will never forget. We went to our first refugee camp, Dheisheh. I knew I was going to cry, but I wasn't expecting to be ripped apart. As we got deeper into the camp and we saw more and more people with limbs missing, with pieces of their hearts missing, and with a sadness that extends beyond crying and trivial emotions; I lost it. As everyone's tears began to fall, the little strength I had been desperately holding onto crumbled away beneath my feet and I started running, literally. Between the guilt I felt for wearing pants that could feed three families, the anger and hatred I felt toward all the people who could change their situation so easily, and the images of my own family happy flashing in my head, I couldn't handle it. I wanted the world to end in that moment, I wanted everything to end. How was I supposed to go on with my life and leave these people here? The guilt I felt was the strongest emotion I've ever felt in my life. I looked up and saw a boy with a Hatta tied around his head, smiling the warmest smile at me. I was too messed up to compose myself so I just looked away and continued my spiral down the rabbit hole. But he kept moving closer and closer to me, something which was unusual for a stranger to do, but he did. When I became aware of his presence, I looked up again and saw him smiling, telling me to do something. He was sending something within himself to me, a feeling instead of words. It worked. I felt the comfort and hope he was trying to send me. After some time and some deep breaths , I saw him sitting on the other side of the street. I looked around, taking in the camp, the guilt I felt, and the way my brain was slowly shutting down. I looked back at the boy to make sure I wasn't hallucinating, and walked towards him with a warm smile and gave him a water bottle without saying a word, a thank you for showing me his smile amidst the spiral of guilt I was in. He refused with a small laugh pushing my hand towards myself. I still don't know if he was real, but I honestly think he was an angel. If I hadn’t snapped out of my guilt-induced panic attack I was in, I'd probably still be in it now. You can visit any part of the world, learn about its history, its food, its people; but in Palestine, you learn about yourself. These small moments that forced me to think about certain things and see myself in a different light changed me. Palestine has forever changed me. Some people don't like who I have become., calling me rash and uncaring about the people closest to me. Others understand that once Palestine talks to you, you want to go back and listen to the rest of the conversation. I had to leave in the middle of the song Palestine was singing, and these small experiences were the drums and bass of that song, this song’s chorus is a mother whose son was filled with frustration and ended his life defending his country. The little notes are the children who don't know what stability is. All these things come together as you're walking on this land. You feel lighter on this land, as you see in the corner of your eye the Prophets making their way towards God. All of this happened on the trip, I learned and felt all of this but now that I have left, it has become a memory. And the trip wasn't even over yet‌... 36


Homeland Project 2017

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UNRWA’s Human Rights Dilemma Sarah Shedeed What is the purpose of education? Is education simply meant to give students basic knowledge of language, literature, mathematics, natural sciences, and history? Is it an exchange of perspectives between teachers and students? Should it encompass subjects beyond the traditional scope such as music, art, and debate? Does education have different meanings and purposes for diverse groups of people? Should education encourage socio-political change and challenge structural injustice? What is the purpose of education for Palestinian refugees who are entering their seventieth year of displacement? Since 1949, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has provided both humanitarian assistance as well as spaces for Palestinians to maintain their distinct identities. Education has also been a focal point of UNRWA’s work and UNRWA students are some of the best-educated in the Middle East. The organization has been a major source of hope and power for Palestinians. However, UNRWA also faces harsh criticism regarding its funding, oversight of curriculum development, and perpetuation of the Palestinian refugee crisis. UNRWA has implemented a Human Rights, Conflict Resolution, and Tolerance Education Toolkit (HRCRT)with the purpose of creating a culture of human rights in UNRWA classrooms. The objectives of the Toolkit are undoubtedly positive; however, the delivery of its objectives is problematic. Human rights and conflict resolution are taught almost exclusively regarding the school, rather than broader society. In particular, the rights of return and freedom of movement—as presented in Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—are completely overlooked. Conflict is defined by the Toolkit as something that happens between two people (rather than peoples, countries, groups, etc.). Tolerance is defined in a condescending manner which implies that Palestinian culture is defined by intolerance. The Toolkit even describes the act of Palestinian children attending protests as “manipulation.” The Toolkit is apolitical, uncritical, and ahistorical; and therefore, I question the effectiveness of teaching these subjects through such a passive lens. Paulo Freire, renowned scholar of critical pedagogy, the method and practice of teaching, argued that talking about the problem is not sufficient; rather, students and teachers must discuss why problems exist as well as the political and ideological implications of oppression. This is relevant to the Palestinian refugee situation but is not invoked by the Toolkit. For example, students are expected to discuss how human rights are upheld in their schools by the administration. They are not prompted to discuss why, how, or by whom their human rights are violated when they cannot attend schools that were damaged by bombings, or when their schools lack electricity, or when they are bulldozed. They are not encouraged to discuss the human rights violations and conflict situations that have caused UNRWA’s schools in Lebanon to have the highest dropout rates. Clearly, these topics are household discussions because they represent reality. However, if they are going to transform their situation, Palestinian refugee students require the human rights, international law, and political language necessary to have these discussions on the international plateau. And where should this language be taught if not through a curriculum about human rights and conflict resolution? I’ll bring us back now to my opening question: what is the purpose of education? If the purpose of education it to provide basic information irrespective of the students’ context, then the Toolkit does a fantastic job: it relays knowledge about human rights and how to resolve conflict calmly. However, the Toolkit provides an apolitical understanding of the Palestinian refugee situation in an attempt to alter the narrative, without any guidance as to how Palestinians can translate the rights they learn about into reality. Therefore, if the purpose of education, as I argue, is to propel and create social change, the Toolkit is severely lacking. Studies with UNRWA teachers and students have illustrated both sides of the argument: some believe that the Toolkit is great as is and hold the belief that Palestinian history—filled with tragedy—should not be taught in UNRWA schools. Others take a more critical approach and believe that Palestinian history should instill a sense of pride and resistance. Regarding the Toolkit, teachers and students alike have expressed that there is no power behind teaching human rights when Palestinian students cannot claim these rights. One student even noted that the Toolkit is an example of Israeli “cultural occupation” of Palestinian education. In my own conversation with a Palestinian UNRWA teacher from Lebanon about the Toolkit, her reaction to its mention

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was, “We do not yet have that in our camp. Keep it the hell out of our camp.” This does not mean that teaching human rights and conflict resolution is irrelevant—it means that these topics have to be taught in a critical manner that gives students the tools they need (i.e. writing, public speaking, and debate skills, as well as the correct language) to become active agents of change. Human rights and conflict resolution education should create leaders, not passive bystanders who cannot effectively challenge structural injustice. It is important to remember that the Toolkit is implemented by UNRWA teachers who are also Palestinian refugees. Therefore, while the Toolkit has its shortcomings, we can assume that the teachers as individual actors may include a more critical approach to its implementation. However, we must also remain cognizant of two facts: UNRWA teachers are closely monitored both by UNRWA as well as the host country governments and there is a technical ban on the teaching of Palestinian political history in UNRWA schools. Furthermore, Palestinians in UNRWA schools learn the curricula of the host country (Lebanon, Jordan, Syria); some of the history and civics curricula in these countries blatantly ostracize or discriminate against Palestinians. How much of the classroom space truly belongs to UNRWA teachers? Edward Said defined unjust geographies (in this case, the camps) as spaces of both oppression and potential emancipation. I argue that this is true of any classroom, but particularly those in refugee camps. Ultimately, education should not be affirmative of one’s political and socio-economic status. The HRCRT Toolkit essentially tells UNRWA students that they should make the best of their displacement, rather than claim justice from their various oppressors. In the words of Paulo Freire, “To affirm that men and women are persons and as persons should be free, and yet to do nothing tangible to make this affirmation a reality, is a farce.” UNRWA is responsible for some of the most significant assistance to Palestinians, but its vulnerability to the Israeli, Western, and Arab oppressors of Palestinians creates damaging effects.

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Diaspora Stories Lina Abdul-Samad My mother tells me that during the first month of kindergarten, I grew quiet. Naturally, she found it odd: her daughter had an overflowing mouth, usually pouring with song. Occupied too much space with her trills and skips and laughter. Now, she slipped into a silence that was two sizes too big. Mama, I was making room for a new tongue. ♦ Seven years old. I am in second grade. My homeroom teacher assigns each student a country to explore its respective culture. We had to present our project on a poster. Since our class was generally diverse, each student was assigned their homeland as their topic. Pooja got India. Japera wrote about St. Croix, Virgin Islands. My best friend Rana was assigned Jordan. I liked the Jordanian flag the best out of the other countries because it looked just like the Palestinian flag, except with a white star inside the red triangle. To my surprise, the flag I that was assigned also had a star. Israel. I was confused as to why I was assigned the wrong country. I still remember the orange post-it Mrs. P gave me with “Israel” written at the center in blue BIC ink. It bothered me. I don’t know why, it just did. Mrs. P knew I was from Palestine. The next morning, I handed Mrs. P a note while she was sitting at her desk. I’ve always wanted to sit at her desk and explore all the drawers. It looked a like stationary funhouse with all her shiny star stickers, blue ice globes, and Hello Kitty calculators. “Since your mom doesn’t want your project to be about Israel, I’ll have to choose another country for you, Lina,” Mrs. P informed, while folding the note in half. “But, you know,” she begins coaxing. “Palestine and Israel are the same thing.” The next day, Mrs. P hands me a post-it with my newly assigned country. See, the funny thing is I don’t remember the name of my new country. Nor do I remember the photos I pasted onto the poster with Mama’s help. All that I can recall was that my new country was completely foreign to me. While presenting, I discovered that it was alien to the rest of the class as well. I really didn’t like that project. Everyone else had a lot more fun gluing pictures of their favorite foods and well-known landscapes. Each of my classmates shared something personal about their countries, whereas I had nothing to share. No favorite foods, no pretty landscapes, no silly uncle stories. Rana was lucky. She had pictures of hummus and falafel and kanafa on her poster. She talked about going back to Jordan during the summer and how her family always had big breakfasts and how they played marbles in the street or hide-and-seek at night with all her cousins and neighbors. She told us that her grandfather would always give her one dinar and about how she’d spend it on gummy things and Kinder surprise eggs from the village’s supermarket. I liked her presentation the best. 40


Being Palestinian is complicated. Being Palestinian in the Diaspora is even more complex. In simple conversations, we are left to truly ask, “Who are we?� We feel our tongues split into twos and threes. Imposters in both Palestine and the Diaspora. Sometimes whole. Other times ghost. Do they know how hard it is to speak when there is a wrestling match between two tongues in one mouth?

Photo taken by Rania Mustafa

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People of PACC Nina Odatalla What in your life has influenced the work you do at PACC?

I have always hoped for a center where Palestinian identity can be preserved, exhibited and celebrated. Growing up in New Jersey, I have met many people of Palestinian descent that knew little about our culture and the issues our people faced in the homeland historically, socially, economically and geographically. Once PACC was incorporated, I knew immediately that I wanted to be part of the great community and its efforts. I was honored to become a board member, where we work to promote ethnic and cultural projects and programs. The center has done much for our community already, including educating our youth with programs of Arabic language acquisition, cultural enrichment such as the folkloric debka dance and traditional musical instruments classes, informational events on political concerns both in the United States and abroad, and a variety of other educational and celebratory activities and events. My personal inspirations for my involvement are my children. I am pleased that my children have the ability to participate in the center and its offerings that were not around in my youth. It brings me joy seeing our youth become increasingly involved and active in the center and I hope that it will continue to grow and flourish.

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‫ُولد في الغربة‬ ‫أسيل زيناتي‬ ‫براء(نا) ال َحبيب‪ 6‬فستُقتي الصغيرة ‪..‬‬ ‫ّ‬ ‫ّ‬ ‫ي‪ 6‬سأقرأ عليك وصيتي في يوم مولدك ‪..‬‬ ‫أكتبُ لكَ ما لن تقرأهُ لسنوات حتى أعلمكَ القراءة‪َ 6‬و ما لن تفهمه حينها حتى تُعلمني أنت الفَهم‪ 6‬فأنصت يا بن ّ‬ ‫أذكر ابتسامة والدكَ ال ّ‬ ‫شاردة حين كان يتصور كيف ستكون ويروي شوقه لك‪َ 6‬و أنا المتيمة بهذا الوجه‪ 6‬أغرق فيه حتى تعلن عن وجودكَ بركلة قوية تستدعي‬ ‫ُ‬ ‫انتباهنا ‪)":‬‬ ‫كثيرا‪.‬‬ ‫ي و ال يعرف من غزة سوى اسمها َو أخبار أبطالها الذينَ سأحدثكَ عنهم ً‬ ‫نحنُ يا صغيري مِ ن هذه األرض الواسعة‪ ،‬والدكَ غز ّ‬ ‫َو أنا مِ ن حيفا‪ 6‬التي لم أرها بعد‪ 6‬لكنني أعلم جيدًا ّ‬ ‫نحنُ‬ ‫خارج أرضنا َو سأروي لكَ َما‬ ‫بحرا في داخلي يتذكر شواطئها و يتوق إليها‪ 6‬سأخبركَ بالتأكيد ل َِم‬ ‫أن ً‬ ‫كانت جدّتي رح َمها هللا تحكيه عن حياتهم قبل أن نصبح الجئيين!‬ ‫أورثك تشاؤم جيلنا حول قضاياه الكثيرة المتشعبة‪ ،‬و المليئة بالتناقضات‪.‬‬ ‫ال لن أتردد في عجن القضية بعظمك الغض‪ 6‬لكنني بال شكٍ لن ّ‬ ‫و ُرغم أنّنا نعيش فيما وراء المحيط‪ 6‬بعيدًا عن ك ّل الذين نحبّهم‪ ،‬فإنّني منذ عرفت والدكَ َو هو وطني و سيكون فيما بعد وطنك أيضًا؛ لتكون أنت عاصمتنا‬ ‫ي‪ ،‬يُطربنا إذا اشتد علينا صخب الغربة‪.‬‬ ‫المقدّسة‪ ،‬و صوتك الذي سيحبوا من البكاء إلى الكالم نشيدنا الوطن َّ‬ ‫ّ‬ ‫ً‬ ‫سر هذا الوجود‪.‬‬ ‫‪6‬‬ ‫الحب‬ ‫عن‬ ‫ني‬ ‫ن‬ ‫لك‬ ‫ّة‪،‬‬ ‫ي‬ ‫بسو‬ ‫ِئتك‬ ‫ش‬ ‫لتن‬ ‫ة‬ ‫جيد‬ ‫طريقة‬ ‫ال‬ ‫لن أقول لك كن و ال ت ُكن ليست تلك مهمة الوالدين على أي حال‪ ،‬و‬ ‫سأخبركَ‬ ‫ّ‬ ‫الحبُّ في رائحتك المالئكية و بشرتك الناعمة التي باركت بشرتي في تلك اللحظة التي ولدتُ أنا فيها معك أتعرف على الحياة من لحظة الصفر ألول مرة!‬ ‫متقن أصنعه للمرة األولى‪ ،‬في تع ّكز كلينا على اآلخر حين يعترينا ال ُحزن َو‬ ‫لطعام غير‬ ‫الحب في سهوة والدك و عينيه‪ ،‬في إيابه بعد يوم طويل‪ ،‬في التهامه‬ ‫ٍ‬ ‫ٍ‬ ‫الغضب َو الجنون‪.‬‬ ‫ي اعرف هللا تجد نفسك َو ال تعبده ألنني أمرتك بذلك‪ ،‬ابحث عنه فيك َو في األفاق أحبه؛ هو من خلقك و خلق الحب لك رزقا ً تطلبه حثيثًا‪ ،‬فاسأله الحب قبل‬ ‫يا بن ّ‬ ‫العطايا تؤت َها‪.‬‬ ‫صحبتها و العمل عليها‪َ ،‬و ز ّكِها بالحب تتط ّهر‪ ،‬ال يضّرك من أفسده البغض إن أحببت‪.‬‬ ‫ي اعرف نفسك تجد الفالح‪َ ،‬و أحسِن ُ‬ ‫يا بن ّ‬ ‫ي "رأيُنا صواب" لذلك نؤمن به و نحاجج عنه و نعمل إلحقاقه‪ ،‬و " يحتمل الخطأ " فال نتزمت به إن ص ّح غيره أو ظهر بطالنه‪ .‬و "رأي غيرنا خطأ"‬ ‫يا بن ّ‬ ‫لذلك تركناه و لم نختره‪ ،‬و "يحتمل الصواب" لذلك نتقبله و نحترمه و نحرص على أن يصل صوته كما صوتنا ال نكتمه و ال نمنعه‪.‬‬ ‫و ليس بالضرورة كونك ابني أن تأخذ برأيي فذاك مناطه التفكير و التأ ّمل و العلم‪ ،‬و في ثالثتها خصوصية كل عقل منّا فاختر لنفسك ما ت ُمليه عليك تجربتك‬ ‫الخاصة ال شيء أثبت مما تخوضه‪.‬‬ ‫و اعلم أنني قد أحيد عن الطريق و أخطئ أحيانا ً في تربيتك فال تتردد في تقويمي و ال تقف جانبا ً تلومني أو تحكم علي‪ ،‬و انصح لي كما أنصح لك‪ ،‬و أحب‬ ‫عثراتي و علّمني‪.‬‬ ‫ي إنما حياتنا محراب أندلسي كبير كما أحب أن أُس ِ ّمها‪َ ،‬و حين أتاني والدك خاطبا ً "إماما ً" كانت تكبيرة اإلحرام‪ ،‬ثم بزواجنا جاوزناها إلى االستفتاح‪ ،‬فكنت‬ ‫يا بن ّ‬ ‫أنتَ فاتحتنا َو الحمدُ هللِ ربّ العالمين‪.‬‬

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A series of original short stories, poems, opinion pieces, interviews, artwork, photographs and so much more! We’re providing our PACC community with the chance to contribute in any of the following categories, you just might get published. To contribute email: litmagazine@paccusa.org

To advertise email: sponsorship@paccusa.org

November 11th is the expected release date for next issue 46


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Copyright Š 2017 Palestinian American Community Center. All rights reserved. 388 Lakeview Avenue, Clifton, New Jersey 07011 48


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