Life in six words

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I am the founder and director of  We Are Not Numbers, a storytelling project for Palestinian youth in the occupied territories and refugee camps. One of the practice exercises recently was to write a story in just six words, reflecting one aspect of life in Gaza or Lebanon (wherever they live).  Participants loved it so much that many wrote more than one! Below, I share some of the results–six-word glimpses into the inner life and thoughts of refugees.

Gaza reality – Heba Zaher

  1. “Let’s study.” The power went out.
  2. For sale: Gazan passport, never used.
  3. They killed her; something changed: numbers.
  4. She decides to rot in bed.

Holocaust to Palestine – Ghada Al-Haddad

  1. Expelled from Europe; holocaust in Palestine.
  2. Kills Palestinians; yet he’s called “hero.”
  3. War. Ceasefire. War. Ceasefire. Pause. Fire.
  4. Stray shrapnel hits, now paralyzed forever.
  5. War has ended, but trauma hasn’t.

In the caravan – Basman Derawi
As described in a recent story, many Gaza families are still homeless following the 2014 Israeli assault and are living in caravans, or trailers.

  1. Only three: me, darkness and cold.
  2. Given a blanket; still not warm.
  3. Miss my old, broken-roof home.
  4. Lamp light: two hours until power.
  5. Waking up: the only work available.

Resistance – Ghada Ahmed

  1. He pointed his gun; she smiled.
  2. The right to belong—a reason to die
  3. The child’s no longer a child.
  4. The story of their home, now ashes.
  5. Mother’s eyes: gloom, but light remains.

Simple math — Yasmin Hillis

  1. Their dad left, in a coffin.
  2. An air strike; no one left.

Refugee forever – Huda Dawood

  1. Syrians too? Palestinians are enough.
  2. Live in camps; just no tents.
  3. Qualified for the job, but Palestinian.
  4. Have an opinion? Not your country!

Women struggle for justice — Duaa Ardat

  1. Colorful clothing doesn’t mean vivid life.
  2. Gender-based violence stole her femininity.
  3. Peace is not absence of war.
  4. And then we faded into oblivion.
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Well done (even those over six). :-)

Palestinian potential is huge. They just need to get over the Zionist phase

I can barely manage a comfortable life after 70, I don’t know how the Palestinians do it. I sent the info to Ivanka Trump on Twitter

Probably say more in six kalimat arabiyya?

People do recognize the allusion? There’s a legend – according to Snopes, not true – that Hemingway won a bet by writing a story in six words: “For sale – baby shoes, never worn.”
Good story, or rather stories – the six words, and the legend.