Saturday, May 22, 2010

Israeli Settler Becomes Palestinian

A while back I promised to write a blog entry about something nice, so here it goes:

The Story about How an Israeli Settler Became a Palestinian

About eight years ago, Israel converted most of an illegal settlement close to Ramallah into a military base. The settlers who moved out, left behind their dogs. The dogs who were left became stray dogs and took to the streets and olive groves around Ramallah.

At this time, Tarek and his family lived in an area of Ramallah that is close to this settlement/military base, and one night Tarek found a young, white mutt outside the house. He gave her food to eat and water to drink and left her there on the sidewalk.

The next day when Tarek's Mom came home, she yelped:

"There's a dog in the house!"

Somehow the settler dog had managed to sneak inside the house, and seemed to have no intention of ever leaving again. Tarek's family eventually decided to let her stay.

This was eight years ago. The little white mutt was Jessy. She is nine years old now, and sleeps on the couch in the living room of my boyfriend's family's new house. She eats expensive food for allergy-prone dogs, drinks filtered water, gets vaccination shots from the vet down the street, and lives an all-around comfortable life in a nice neighborhood of Ramallah.

She understands all basic food, walk or other dog related words in Arabic, too, and probably can't even remember a life before her Palestinian family.

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Remembering Al-Nakba

Not to dwell on the past, wallow in self-pity, or cement a culture of victimhood, but today is the 62nd anniversary of Al-Nakba.

I remember those who 62 years ago lost their fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers, their lands, their homes, their orchards and fields, their livelihoods and their future in the creation of the Israeli state in 1948.

Not because Al-Nakba--the Catastrophe--is the worst thing that was ever done against a people, or because it was the most recent, or more memorable than other people's catastrophes. But because there are still millions and millions of Palestinians who live in refugee camps in what's left of Palestine, in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. Since 1948! Children are born into refugee camps, grow up there, and die there.

I remember Al-Nakba because there are yet millions who live under Israeli occupation in Gaza and the West Bank, their every move restricted by Israeli soldiers. I live this reality every day, too, and even though my EU passport can take me out of here whenever I want to, I have understood what this means. It's stripping people of their freedom, every day. For the last 62 years.

I remember Al-Nakba because it marks the day when independence was taken away from one people. So that another could claim theirs.

 Sabr--Patience in Arabic--the Symbol for the Un-uprootable Connection Between Palestinians and Their Land

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