Everyone can probably imagine how it hurts when you want to tell the world what is your hometown and someone comes along telling you, “Sorry it is not yours..!” I felt like my heart was on fire when my sister and I wanted to add our hometown to our Facebook profile and there was no option called “Ashdod, Palestine” but instead “Ashdod, Israel”.
This is what makes me, without any previous thinking, hold the pen and start writing about my hometown, Isdud. Actually, I cannot explain which feelings are controlling me in such a moment; hatred, enmity, love, nostalgia. All I know is that I want to return to my hometown, Isdud, to kiss its sand, to run in its land, to garnish my hair with its flowers and eat from its fruits!
My grandmother once told me “We never thought that we are not going to go back to our lands and homes, I even left the pipes of the water open, watering the trees there and the wheat is still in its cisterns under the ground”. I want to go there to close those pipes,and water my homeland’s trees with my tears but not tears of sadness, instead tears of happiness.
Yes, I live in Gaza now and was born here too, but I want to return to the place where my grandparents lived, where my first uncle and auntie were born, I want to return to the place where my people were living peacefully, the place they were forced to go out from after Al Nakba. I want to return to the place I rightfully own, that beautiful town on the Mediterranean coast, 42Km north of Gaza. I want to return because I have the key of our home,because it belongs to none other than its rightful owners – my family and I.
History will bear witness one day on the lands that were stolen from us! One day, undoubtedly, God willing we will return to our homeland. I am sure and so do everyone!
They call us “refugees” and I say we are “returners”!
Sorry to disappoint Facebook, but I will never accept your choice, Isdud or Ashdod is a Palestinian city. It should be Ashdod, Palestine instead of Ashdod, Israel. I will write my hometown next to my name on my profile to let the whole world know; it is:
who lives in Gaza
from Isdud, Palestine ..
Note: Isdud is the Arabic name for Ashdod, and Ashdod is the Canaanite name of the town, Israel did not give it any new name. You can use both of them but I prefer the Arabic one.