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I have been looking for a home since I came to this world

Israel/PalestineMiddle East
on 19 Comments

Being born as a refugee is a destiny that has always been the main factor in shaping each step of my life. Since my first steps in this unjust world, my grandmother who fled her homeland Beith Jirja at the age of 18 holding two children in her lap, used to spend whole nights telling my siblings and I what it means to be displaced and forced to leave home. I was raised in Gaza Strip where my grandparents fled to as it was the closest and safest place to our origin village. However, I have never felt it was my home. I think we refugees are unable to find out what home is because we have an image of home related to our homelands. Till this day I have internal conflict towards “home”.

My greatest hero, my dad, had many ambitions and dreams when he was my age but he couldn’t achieve most of them. The Israeli occupation imprisoned him for 15 years as a consequences of his political activities due to his stubbornness and strong will. Dad was able to study high school inside the jails but couldn’t continue his bachelor studies due to the conditions and regulations of the prisons at that time but that never buried his passion for education. Instead, his thirst and urge to study inspired him to make his own library at our home today. It also made him do all that he could just to make sure that we would have a good life and a good education.

I know that I talk about my dad so much; not only in my articles but also in my daily life. I think it is quite normal when one has such a father. I remember, since I started going to primary school, my dad’s promises to send me to Europe if I got high marks on my exams. At that time, I was trapped between studying to go to that unimaginable place – Europe – and trying to figure out the “home” I was living in. However, unfortunately all my efforts to define “home” had failed. I got so lost that I buried myself into being a nerd in high school. My dad used to repeatedly say “You have to know that a high school diploma is the door to Europe”. All I was dreaming about was just satisfying my teenage curiosity, about the other world, which required traveling. All his sayings were out of knowledge and experience that having a good life, reaching to where we want to be, in the Gaza Strip is quiet impossible. Despite all the difficulties I have been through, I was lucky enough to purse my studies. Not in Europe but far outside the biggest open-prison. Yeah, don’t worry I visited more than 15 cities in the “unimaginable” continent.

As a 19 year-old teenager years ago; I brought all my excitement and energy all the way from the dark side of the world to Turkey. I came holding the dream of finding out what home means. It wasn’t easy at all for a young girl who has no clue about the “other world” to discover everything by herself. In the very initial period, I felt myself as an alien, but with time I was able to manage the hardships successfully. Few months separate me from my graduation ceremony, I should be happy but a Palestinian cannot enjoy this stage of life due to the unknown future. I am unable to plan my future because of my identity as a Palestinian refugee. Many people are curious about my future plans and keep asking me “What are you going to do after graduation?” I just HATE this question. No, it is not a simple question at all. Why don’t they think before asking me this silly question? Why don’t they put their feet in my shoes? Let me tell you the reasons. Gaza? Well, we all know that it is already an unlivable place. Even I am not welcomed to Gaza because of the ongoing siege.  Europe? It is not easy at all. How about Turkey? It is difficult to even obtain a residence permit in Turkey. Then where to go?

I have been looking for a home since I came to this world for almost 23 years. I know that this is the destiny of each Palestinian. To be honest, returning back to our origin village is a dream that we, Palestinians, are going to keep fighting for. Knowing what “home” feels like is also a dream. There is a positive point here. Dreaming is free of consequences so we can dream as much as we can. Let’s dream!

Tamam Abusalama
About Tamam Abusalama

Tamam Abusalama is a Palestinian blogger and journalism student pursuing her M.A. in Communication Studies with a focus on New Media and Society in Europe at Vrije University in Brussels. She’s originally from Beit Jirja-Palestine. She blogs at : http://palestineistamam.wordpress.com/ and tweets at @TamamAbusalama

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19 Responses

  1. Citizen
    Citizen
    January 21, 2017, 8:49 pm

    So poignant…so young.

    • annie
      annie
      January 21, 2017, 10:50 pm

      i know, an impressive person in many ways. integrity in spades.

  2. aloeste
    aloeste
    January 24, 2017, 1:18 pm

    so sad your leadership refused to capitulate and compromise. while you never would have been [nor ever will be ] able to return to the village, there could have been both a State on west bank , and prosperity in Gaza. alas, it was not to be .

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      January 24, 2017, 2:20 pm

      “while you never would have been [nor ever will be ] able to return to the village”

      Put a cork in it, “aloeste”.
      At the rate you Zionists are going, it won’t be long before very, very few people will be willing to admit they are Jewish, let alone support Zionist criminality. Not to mention a few other factors.

      So, what’s the minimum number of Zionist Jews needed to hold Palestine for Zionism, “aloeste”?

    • eljay
      eljay
      January 24, 2017, 2:34 pm

      || aloeste: so sad your leadership refused to capitulate and compromise. while you never would have been [nor ever will be ] able to return to the village … ||

      If you don’t grovel before the invaders, you don’t get to return home. If you do grovel before the invaders, you…don’t get to return home. Huh.

      What’s truly sad is the deliberate and unapologetic evil – past and on-going – of Zionism, Zionists and the religion-supremacist “Jewish State” construct.

    • MHughes976
      MHughes976
      January 24, 2017, 3:45 pm

      Capitulation and compromise are very different things.
      If it is indeed true that a compromise leading to a degree of peace and prosperity was once available that must have been because Israel had a genuine will to compromise and made an offer accordingly. But a genuine will to compromise is not shown by making one offer and offering or proposing nothing more if that offer is rejected, but by keeping the same offer or a modified one on the table or at very least assuring the other side that a proposal will be made on request. I do not see Israel doing that: if I’m wrong, what is the proposal or assurance? So I don’t see any will to compromise on the Israeli side. I agree that the situation is, to put it mildly, sad. But to note sadness whilst attributing no blame to anyone but those in the saddest situation is to shed a crocodile tear.

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        January 24, 2017, 10:43 pm

        Hughes,
        The usual pattern in a negotiation is: offer, then counter-offer.
        If you reject an offer without a counter you are asking the other party to negotiate against themselves.
        The real question in this case is each party must determine their best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA). At this time, the Israelis feel that they have a reasonable situation if they do not reach an agreement and the Palestinians do as well. When both parties feel that the offer on the table is preferable to their BATNA they will get the deal done. Obviously both parties feel that any offer made has been inferior to their current situation. Either the offer must be improved or the BATNA worsened for things to move.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        January 25, 2017, 7:57 pm

        “Hopefully we learned something from the treatment of Germany at Versailles.”

        So if we aren’t nice to Israel, they will illegally re-arm, (under a Jewish Hitler?) and send millions of troops out in a blitzkrieg to occupy the surrounding countries?

      • eljay
        eljay
        January 25, 2017, 8:35 pm

        || Jon66: … The usual pattern in a negotiation is: offer, then counter-offer. … ||

        When the rapist “offers” to do great injustice to his victims, they should not be expected or required to make “counter-offers” to accept lesser degrees of injustice.

        What the I-P situation demands isn’t “negotiation” but:
        – an end to the commission of (war) crimes and other violations of international laws;
        – accountability for the criminals; and
        – restitution and reparations to the victims.

    • diasp0ra
      diasp0ra
      January 26, 2017, 7:12 am

      @aloeste

      I’m not sure if you’re being serious with that post, because if you are that is quite hilarious.

      “Yeah you and millions of others would never get justice or benefit if you get a Bantustan state, but at least some people would be 3rd degree citizens somewhere, am I right?”

      As for the [nor ever will be], I wouldn’t hold my breath. If we’ve learned anything from history it is that change is rapid and unexpected. Ask the Soviets and Mubarak. The way Israel is actively working on ending all hope for the two state solution will, imo, backfire massively and contribute to shifting the Palestinian cause from one of a sovereign state to equal rights, which would ultimately end with the implosion of Zionism as a ruling power.

    • Talkback
      Talkback
      January 26, 2017, 12:25 pm

      aloeste: “sad your leadership refused to capitulate and compromise. while you never would have been [nor ever will be] able to return to the village, there could have been both a State on west bank , and prosperity in Gaza. alas, it was not to be .”

      Wow, what a genuine despicable oppressor mentality. As if the Zionists were not interested in expelling most Nonjews and take over most of their land through perpetual terrorism.

  3. MHughes976
    MHughes976
    January 25, 2017, 11:54 am

    Trying to catch up with you this afternoon, Jon. Greetings. I think you’re right about the general logic of negotiation. However, I doubt that the Palestinians consider themselves in a reasonable position, but in a deep bad situation where both the status quo and the available alternatives are all awful. The Israelis find the sq pretty good and so don’t suggest any alternatives. In this position those in the deep bad mire have a permanent incentive to compromise if a better offer appears, those in the pretty good situation an incentive not to compromise, since that means giving up something they like having. So it is to them that we look for an act of will overcoming their reluctance. I accept that they don’t have to run ‘autonegotiations’ or keep up a public dialogue about what the terms should be, but they do have to say ‘We’ve made proposals before and they’re still there’ or else ‘Times have changed; if you want to know our current thinking come and ask – we’ll tell you’.

    • Jon66
      Jon66
      January 25, 2017, 6:27 pm

      Hughes,
      I think a realistic Israeli analysis would believe that a settlement that leaves the Palestinians in an awful position is unsustainable and thus not ultimately in Israeli interests either. Hopefully we learned something from the treatment of Germany at Versailles.
      The minimum acceptable parameters of each side are nearly mutually exclusive.
      Olmert in 2008 was pretty close, but Abbas rejected it without a counter.
      It would be interesting to see how Israel would react to a modification of the Olmert plan, but with Fatah and Hamas divided there will be no proposals.

      • annie
        annie
        January 25, 2017, 6:52 pm

        Olmert in 2008 was pretty close, but Abbas rejected it without a counter.

        no he definitely countered it, according to Maen Rashid Areikat interviewed at a World Affairs Council event i attended in SF. he told the whole story, they were up all night writing it. they sent it by envoy the next day but olmert never responded, or said he didn’t receive it or something. a few nights before a bunch of us went to see olmert, again hosted by the World Affairs Council (where there was a filmed action by activists) and olmert was joking about showing abbas the map which he had scribbled on a napkin and then he holds his hand up like he’s waving the napkin across the table at abbas, smiling like this was funny and some members of the audience laughed. according to Areikat, olmert didn’t even let abbas hold the map or let him take a copy, just showed it from a distance across a table. which syncs with olmert’s sick little pantomime he performed for us that night.

        truly sadistic.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        January 25, 2017, 8:15 pm

        “Hopefully we learned something from the treatment of Germany at Versailles”

        Okay, you doubled down on this Versailles-Germany thing, so why don’t you tell us what we should have “learned” from the “treatment of Germany at Versailles” and how it relates to the Israel-Palestine issues?
        Please, go ahead, this should be interesting.

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        January 26, 2017, 12:22 am

        Annie,
        Here’s another perspective.
        http://www.thetower.org/2580-breaking-abbas-admits-for-the-first-time-that-he-turned-down-peace-offer-in-2008/

        Abbas says that Olmert wouldn’t give him the map. But, Abbas was able to draw the map years later from memory so he must have been able to at least see it. Abbas does not mention any counter.

        http://www.haaretz.com/news/olmert-abbas-never-responded-to-my-peace-offer-1.263328

        We have the details of Olmert’s offer, but no evidence or details of a counter.

        But I think we are lost in the weeds. The purpose of any negotiation is the attempt to reach a benefit for both parties. If either feels that the present situation is preferable to the maximum give of the other, than they won’t agree to a new situation.
        My point was simply that rejection of an offer without a counter is not a negotiation.
        I do think the Olmert offer was fairly close to a resolution.

      • annie
        annie
        January 26, 2017, 3:19 am

        I do think the Olmert offer was fairly close to a resolution.

        seriously? is this how states come to consensus, after decades:

        Abbas: He [Olmert] said to me, “Here’s a map. See it? That’s all.” I respected his decision not to give me the map. But how can we sign something that hasn’t been given us, that hasn’t been discussed?

        If either feels that the present situation is preferable to the maximum give of the other, than they won’t agree to a new situation.

        which is exactly why israel will not end the occupation. they like the present situation and think it’s preferable to whatever it is palestine will “offer”. and why not, when they can steal for themselves whatever palestine “offers”.

        My point was simply that rejection of an offer without a counter is not a negotiation.

        iow, your point is, regardless of the fact Maen Rashid Areikat interviewed at a World Affairs Council in 2009 inststed they did reach out to olmert w/ a counter offer you think palestinians had no counter offer.

        the idea of settling this 2ss scribble on a napkin without benefit of counsel is absurd.

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        January 26, 2017, 8:56 am

        Annie,
        I agree that the presentation of a map without time to review it sounds absurd. There seems to be two different views, both from involved parties about whether or not there was a counter. If such a counter was proposed, the nature of it is unpublished. Did Areikat describe it? We have details on Olmerts offer.

    • amigo
      amigo
      January 25, 2017, 8:08 pm

      “olmert was joking about showing abbas the map which he had scribbled on a napkin and then he holds his hand up like he’s waving the napkin across the table at abbas, smiling like this was funny and some members of the audience laughed ”

      Olmert,s “White Napkin ” has not reached the same notoriety as Monica,s “Blue Dress ” , YET.

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