What’s your connection to the land, and what does it mean to you?
I am a 24-year-old American- born Palestinian. My mother’s family still lives in Nablus, Palestine, and my father’s family is from Khaleel/Hebron. I have spent much of my life in the Middle East and in Palestine, as I often visited, and when I was 2, [I] lived with my grandparents in Nablus for about a year.
I am very, very proud of my Palestinian heritage. Whenever I am in the Middle East, I make a point to visit my family in Nablus despite the difficult border crossing, and I will continue to do so despite any situation. I feel that since members of my family on both sides had to flee Palestine in both the 40s and ’60s, the least I can do is return and appreciate Palestine’s land, community, and culture.
It is my true home, and I will not forget it.
Is there any one word that captures how you’re feeling about this situation?
Hopeful. After this past year, my generation had an awakening with regard to recognizing the clear societal injustices within America as it relates to the African American community and policing. More people than ever are aware of how a people can be oppressed through the fine print and how government systems can cover up, excuse, and perpetuate racism and oppression.
As a result, after the recent tensions and tragedies in Palestine, people have been more sensitive to patterns of systematic oppression and have seen and recognized these issues as it relates to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. I have seen friends of all likes and kinds speak up against the brutal treatment of the Palestinian people on social media and in person. This gives me hope for the future.