The idea of writing about something very personal is haunting me. As a Palestinian, it’s really hard to know where to draw the line between the political and the personal. But, in Palestine, the personal is political and the political is the personal. I’ll keep the political away and dig down into the personal. This blog has been the vent for me to write some simple and humble accounts coming from a very ordinary person living under extraordinary circumstances. I can’t exclude Gaza; Palestine from anything happened-happens and will happen in my life. Simply put, being a woman from Gaza formed the person that I am today. Proudly and luckily, I consider myself born and raised in Gaza though I was actually born in Kuwait and moved to Bolivia before coming to Gaza. I feel like that I discovered my voice between the digits of these electronic pages, so it’s so much like a small note where I write a blend of the heartily minded digests of my life. I feel now that I am getting married, it’s the time to share my story, a life story, a love story, a Palestinian story.
In the past few months, I’ve been living very fast-paced events. I’d be lying if I say that I 100% fathom all of them. But all I know is that they look like everything I hushed to myself in my sleepless dreams but ironically never thought they would happen. But they did happen!
I’m a few days away from reuniting and getting married to the man that I really respect, admire, and love. Our story proves that love knows no borders, no siege, no time, and no occupation. It all started by a tweet debating whether the loud bang that was heard across Gaza was an Israeli bomb or just some thunder.
We started as friends who shared the same interests. We tweeted together as Egyptians were toppling Mubarak in Tahrir square. After a while of chatting online, Mohammed became my best friend. Long chats about Palestine, the world and the future dreams led us to feel that we can build a future together.
Mohammed is Palestinian South African working in Qatar, Allah (SWT) brought us together through , I am listing all the social media tools we used to communicate, Twitter, WordPress, Facebook, and Gtalk, then later on Skype. He left Gaza just a few days before I first knew about him. The last thing I expected in my life is to be engaged and married to A Palestinian South African! Even my parents when I first told them,(yea am a Muslim woman who didn’t have arranged marriage, get over your stereotypes), they were like SOUTH AFRICA?! And I was like “CAN U BELIEVE THAT?!” But love knows no difference between South Africa and Palestine. Actually between South Africa and Palestine there’s the love of freedom and dignity.
April, we were officially engaged. But it was without meeting Mohammed in person. From April to September, our chats were often cut by the electricity outages, bad internet connection, and the Israeli siege on Gaza. Hearing the ghastly stories of Rafah crossing, the continuous closures and the difficulty of going out and in Gaza, made us more determined to meet. But there were times when I used to tell Mohamed: “being engaged to a Palestinian is a pain, isn’t?” “I love you more because you are a Palestinian” that answer was enough for me to stand the days, weeks and months of talking on Skype.
Palestinians don’t have airports, to travel anywhere, so we have to cross a 6 hour trip though Sinai to Cairo then from Cairo’s international airport to the intended destination. So, a trip to South Africa took about 6 hours in car and 8 hours in plane, but the result was totally worth it.
Finally I met my future husband. I enjoyed South Africa for the richness of its history. I just need to mention going to the Apartheid Museum where similarities between the Israeli occupation and the former Apartheid system are striking. I felt like I was home in South Africa. And indeed, now, it’s my second home.
After a 40 day trip between Gaza, Cairo, South Africa, Cairo again, Jordan then Cairo again, I came back home with my parents. Mohammed went back to Qatar. Going back to Gaza was like sending me back to the prison. We both felt the fear of not being able to go out again. But I’m from Gaza-Palestine, and our wedding must be in Palestine, too. Time flew by, very soon I’m uniting with the man that I love in the country that I love, but I’m also a few days away from leaving my family and Gaza. Though I’m moving, I know that no matter where I go, I’ll carry Gaza, Palestine and the struggle along with me. Home is where my heart is. And my heart, mind, and roots will be in the country and the city where I grew up.
As I am starting my new life in Qatar, I’ve been buying Palestinian crafts, Gaza mugs, Palestinian embroidery, Palestinian traditional dress and kufeyiahs. I am moving a part of Palestine that I really cherish into my small house. And I know that I’ll be telling stories about the sea, the war, and the contradictions of life in this part of Palestine.
The goodbye will be difficult. Leaving my family, especially my mum, will be the hardest thing I’ll do in my life. The fact that Gaza is not free makes it difficult to visit it whenever I want. Any trip would take me to cross a desert and withstand the humiliation of Rafah crossing let alone the possibility that it can be closed anytime. So, I’ll live on the hope that I’ll be seeing them again, in sha Allah.
I wrote this post to the man that I want to spend the rest of my life with, to the city that gave me so much, to the family and friends that I will aguishly miss.
I’ll leave you for love not for not loving you.
And as we met through a tweet, some of my friends will be tweeting from our wedding, and maybe Mohammed and I will be able to tweet from inside the wedding hall :D.
You can check my Twitter account :
my friend Amal