(BAPD) – My time in Palestine.

15 05 2009

This is the first time I’m taking part in something like this and I have been racking my brains trying to decide on what to write for Blog About Palestine Day. There is so much to choose from… History.. Culture.. Embroidery.. The people.. The list is endless and then it hit me, what better way to write about Palestine day than my own personal experience.. Firstly today is BAPD because it marks the Nakba – 61 years off exile and occupation.

*Nakba – “The catastrophe”
1948 was the year that the Israel state was established by expulsion and disposition of hundreds of thousands Palestinians from their homes and their lands, and more than 500 villages were depopulated and later completely destroyed.

My time in Palestine.
When I was around 14 years old I first went to Palestine with my dad and my sister. The first place I visited and also stayed was with my aunt in Bethlehem. Their house sat among farmland with one of my cousin’s house opposite. My first memory was my first day of arrival, I’m laying down suffering from travel sickness and my cousin comes running in excitedly.. Leila Leila ta3lii shoofi meaning come and look. So I got up and followed her to be greeted by a slaughtered goat needless to say it was slaughtered for that days dinner, which saw me going back to the room feeling worse.
I, my sister and some cousins used to walk along to the lands containing vine and olive trees which belong to my family taking with us a donkey, yes a donkey. We picked grapes from the vine trees, roamed the land laughing and having fun. At night time we took our farahsat – mattresses to the roof to sleep in the cool air under the stars and mistakenly placed our farashat right in the middle of the roof forgetting we would be waking up to the heat off the morning sun burning down on us.

Surbaher is another place where we stayed, in the house belonging to my dad’s cousin, Surbaher is also the village that my family originate from. A road on a slope with buildings on each side from top to bottom that house various members off extended and distant relatives.
Family members also came from Jordan to spend time with us in Bethlehem and Surbaher, and we also enjoyed big family trips to the beach in Jaffa, smaller family trips into Jerusalem exploring the capital and all it has to offer. Hanging out with my sister, first and third cousins playing pranks on unfortunate family members kept us laughing constantly.

On the sadder side of my trips to Palestine every where we went there were Israeli control checks, soldiers occupying every corner, outside al-aqsa (dome of the rock) an innocent male passer by getting beaten by Israeli soldiers that my aunt intervened saying he’s her son to stop and leave him alone, my dad pointing out the cave that he and my family had to take shelter under while under attack, demolished homes, everything run by occupiers.. It’s endless.

Among the many memories I have… Walking along the beaches of Eilat and Jaffa, exploring the souq’s – markets of Bethlehem and Jerusalem, climbing the spiral steps to the bell tower off the church overlooking Jerusalem, entering al-aqsa seeing the bloodied clothes of martyrs and wondering through the dome of the rock taking in all its beauty, the bomb scare at the airport which was caused by my sister forgetting to pick a bag up, travelling through all the borders, picking grapes, long night time walks throughout Bethlehem and spending wonderful quality time with my family especially my cousins and my third cousins in Surbaher.. Made Palestine alive to me, Palestine lives in the hearts of all Palestinians whether half Palestinian like me or full Palestinian.. The Zionist’s can take all they want but they can’t take our memories and one day Palestine will be returned to the Palestinians.

 

* Surbaher – Is located in the East of Jerusalem, and unfortunately its town is one of many that has been crossed by the segregation wall.

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* Bethlehem – In Arabic Bethlehem is pronounced Beit lahem literally translates to House of meat.  Also the birth place of Jesus.
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