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Living away from Gaza

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They keep saying to me that I will get used to the fact that I am forced not to have my parents physically around. But no, I am entering my 6th year of living far away from them and my brain is unable to accept this fact. I just don’t want myself to normalize this situation because it is simply not.

I have been resisting insomnia in the last few days. Therefore, it is a struggle to wake up early. However, today’s morning was different than any other morning. A smell of coffee managed to reach my cozy bed in the 3rd floor of my current house in Brussels where I am pursuing my master degree. I got confused and got up from my bed immediately and went down to the living room and see what dad has been doing. I saw my beautiful French home-mate Elise and Dutch home-mate Eva (whom I am thankful for their existence in my life) but not dad. However, it was disconcerting not see him since I prepared myself psychologically to hug him and make fun of how oppressed he is by the feminists he is living with while he is preparing our morning coffee and playing Fairouz. That was the moment when I had to slap myself and wash my face so that I can awaken my lost brain between different homes in different continents.

Shahd Abusalama, Tamam's sister, talking with their father over Skype.

Shahd Abusalama, Tamam’s sister, talking with their father over Skype.

What a weird and painful morning was that! Almost 6 years passed since I took the decision of leaving Gaza to run after my ambitions and live the normal, humane life I had drawn in my mind. And still counting. Probably at some point I will not be able to count the years anymore.

I am completing my 24th year of survival at this crazy world in 17 days. It is indeed going to be my sixth birthday far away from my parents. That was a long time ago! They only know the teenage me as they couldn’t get to know my mature side due to the forced physical separation. Despite the passing time, I still remember as if it happened now how startling it was to see dad’s tears falling on his cheeks while hugging me when I left Gaza six years ago. It seems that he felt that it was our last hug and would be difficult to meet again in Gaza. And I am still unable to believe how can oppressing authorities have the power to deprive me of my right of hugging my favorite man on earth. Expressing these intense feelings may not be important. But, what is essential to keep in mind is that there are almost 2 million Palestinian being punished collectively, locked up in the biggest open-air world’s prison by the heinous collaboration between the Israeli occupation and the Egyptian government.

Palestine has been under the Israeli Occupation for 69 years. Gaza has been under siege for more than a decade. The majority has been watching the ongoing daily oppression in a deep silence. Palestinians as human beings may get hopeless and exhausted sometimes. Yet, we keep forcing ourselves to survive for the sake of our just cause and reminding each other of the importance of being one hand and one spirit against the Zionist and imperial alliance. Because we believe that it is in unity that we find hope, strength, and support to stand firm against the multiple faces of hate.

One last thing; no matter how much destruction is aiming to plant between us, we, Palestinians, will always try our best to keep the love we have for each other as a tool of struggle.

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 : and tweets at @TamamAbusalama

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One Response

  1. JosephA on December 8, 2017, 6:58 pm

    Tamam, keep studying and keep writing. The world will bear witness to stories like yours. Thank you!

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