Palestinians teach us Life everyday

I've been raised up on the picture of Mohamed El Durra, the 12-year old Palestinian kid, who was killed next to his father while crouching behind a cylinder in the middle of crossfire between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian security forces. I was 13 by that time and I've never forgotten that picture... the idea that this child's life ended there while I feel I've just started up my real life-adolescence- was a little weird... I was a child too...I had no insights into the political, geo-strategic and historical implications but I was old enough to think that this child could be me if I had Jamal Durra as my father or if I was born in the occupied territories... I was also knowledgeable enough at that age to know some words as Sharoon,  ,Alquds Freedom, Victims, Zionist and Jewish (but didn't know the difference for sure), democracy, etc... and my jargon was a puzzle of the pictures I see everyday as part of every national or/and international reporting though I definitely didn't understand most of their meanings...the same I still now don't get the meaning of "democracy"...anyway... My tool of expression has always been writing and poetry... I used to write simple poems about my mom, my school, my dreams then it came the day I wrote the poem about Palestine...

I still have the poem and I will share it the way I wrote it since 2000...It is in Arabic though:

في هذه الدنيا وبين البشرية * في هذه الأرض أين هي الحرية
 يندد الصهيوني بالديمقراطية *  لكنها أحاديث بالزبدة مطلية

نحن نرى نشاهد ونسمع * ثم نسكت عن هذه الوضعية
   شعب في مسجده عن الصلاة يمنع * فيصارع ويقتل الضحية تلو الضحية
 طفل على الأرض يسجد ويركع * داعية لقدسيه بإسترجاع الحرية 
 أم تمد يدها لله تتضرع * بإسم الأرض والحب  والوطنية

 هذه حجارة هذه رصاصة * تلك هي القضية الفلسطينية 

 والله حرام الأم تولول والأب * يبكي بدمعة القهر  الرهيبة
   والإبن الشهيد بالورد مكلل * تحمله أيادي عن ارضها غريبة

شارون قد إستبد و ظلم * وقتل وعذب بطريقته الفريدة
وكل أم من ابنها حرام * ببرودته وقسوته الشديدة
لكن الشعب يقول لن ننهزم * وسنظل قلوباً صامدة عنيدة
  والبنت لقدسها ستبتسم   * وعلى ارضها ستموت شهيدة

I think not much has changed since then except my writing style... and if I re-write that poem I would change nothing in the meaning or the message but I would probably replace "Sharon" with "Netanyahu"... Since that time but even years and years before I was born, till today, it still the same ongoing strive for life, land and identity... but that picture of the Palestinian child has never gone because actually thousands and thousands of El Durra are terribly dying every day in most inhuman ways..

Now the tension, that made a Breaking News week,seems over  ....will channels be filled with more interesting stuff for them to show?... will they forget again about Palestine for a while until the following big bombing- though it's bombing everyday-?...  Maybe Egypt now is a better scene to put on TV ...protests, teargas, Tahrir Square, that's pretty intense after a Revolution and elections, right?

It is so ironic that young Palestinian's aspirations are as simple as going to school while the international community is fighting over power! and the media is competing over manipulation and propaganda!

Last week in Doha, I was sitting next to a Palestinian young lady, Ragda Awad, when the events started in Gaza. She received a phone call from her family reporting the event and she told me "Gaza is on fire and it will be on Al Jazeera tomorrow". This young woman has one determination to pursue her higher education and become one of the very few females in Palestine to hold a Ph.D. in computer engineering. One of her primary reasons to have this commitment is to inspire Palestinian children and especially girls that they can do it and face all the challenges. She indeed said:" My dream is to get a Ph.D. degree in computer science and come back to my country to inspire other girls to pursue their studies"...
The following day, we've been together on a show on Al Jazeera and I was thinking how she is feeling to be on TV for the first time not to report about mass killing or bombing but to just express herself and thoughts,as a young Arab women, about her education, aspirations, youth rights and concerns... She is indeed that Palestinian child, that though it happened to be born in a conflict zone still have the right to pursue a life,speak out and be treated as his peers.

She was teaching me Life every time she talks and I dedicate this poem of  Rafeef Ziadah to her...
"We teach Life,Sir"


Anonymous said…
very inspiring
George Entenman said…
You're in the US now. I can only imagine the life and light you're bringing to your students and the people you meet.

I can tell you that while the US is still a long ways from the point where we really start pressuring Israel to change the way it treats Palestinians, the attitude of many Americans including myself has changed dramatically over the years.

Small consolation, I know, but we're each pretty small in the scheme of things. Let's be as big as we can be.
Aya.Chebbi said…
Thank you George for your continuous support.

I think education should play a great role for Americans who had never visited an Arab country or interacted with Arabs to change their ideas about us and listen to our stories.I believe your openness stems also from your visits to North Africa.

As you said we should be as big as we can to make a change and pressure international community policies.
Yasmine Nour said…
thank you Aya. priceless lesson...
Kamar Bazarek said…
Asslaama, Shukran jazeelahn for writing - with such emotion and knowledge. May Ya Rabb reward you greatly - and give you the desires of your heart. Ameen. Very, very proud of you. FANTASTIQUE! I look forward to reading more...


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