The Trials and Tribulations of a Palestinian student


“Aha, I found it” the recourse that I’ve been desperately looking for. Then I happily whispered to myself, “what the world would be like without Google books to solve my academic impasses?!” Signs of relief relaxed my facial expressions that had been worn out by looking for resources for my paper.

Excitingly, I scrolled down the page of Google books, but I got hit by every student’s nightmare “limited preview” message. “DAMN” still whispering to myself!  But driven by the need to finish the paper, I thought one omitted page wouldn’t do any harm, but for my surprise, it’s the whole topic being included in the limited preview!

After I am struck by the Google Books slap, the electricity slaps the other cheek. 8 hour outage, one can sleep, eat, but electricity is needed to write the paper, after all it’s the 21st century, and no one hands a hand-written paper!

So, I ended up bookless, powerless, and hopeless, and this is part of the academic trials and tribulations of a Palestinian student who wants to graduate!

Universities in Palestine, Gaza for most, provide the students with access to the central university library only.  So, academic journals, books, and articles if not found for free on internet are not accessible to Palestinian students not even to their teachers.

The central university library is as poor as Gaza. It may have some really valuable books, but, by the end of the term gusts of check outs leave the library barren of its already arid content. Plus, the library does not always contain books that suit the topic of your choice.

As a result, our teachers often warn us “choose a topic which has recourses” So if you like a topic, but you found no accessible resources; you must completely change your topic. In the end, JSTOR will deny you access unless you show it your nonexistent money, and Google Books slammed the door in your face, so you show your nonexistent money.

So, bookless, hopeless, and powerless Palestinian student…what to do?!

As I am writing my Metaphysical paper, I found almost no accessible resources. And as I am professional at procrastination, I found myself stuck with the strangely “original” topic that I chose and cannot change now.

Most of the recourses I needed were from JSTOR, and from Google’s limited previews. I contacted two professors in the US asking them for additional recourses on the topic, but found no good answer. So, in the end I asked my friends who have JSTOR accounts, from the US, to Lebanon to Pakistan, to get me the needed articles, and they were very kind and got it for me. As for the Gooogle book quandary, I also asked several friends, who had big libraries in their universities, to obtain me the pages omitted. And after days of suffering, I got photos of the Google Book omitted pages. And I won over the scarcity of resources by cyber –foreign aid…!

I am lucky to have friends who could help, but what about the vast majority of Palestinian students? It’s not fair for us to go through all these hardships for papers, and it’s not rational to quit writing papers for the previously mentioned reasons. I still cannot help not to think that the trials and tribulations of the Palestinian students are just part of the trials and tribulations of the occupied, dehumanized, and “ignorized” Palestinian people.


6 responses »

  1. Pingback: تجمع المدونين الفلسطينيين

  2. well, I understand that suffering, since I was a student in Gaza before, my thesis was about literature, mythology, and education … I assure you, it was a real suffering, as topics like mythology aren’t accessible for Gazans, but there is always a feature that Gazans have more than anybody else ” the strong will ”

    I like your blog … and good luck!

  3. Hey…I recognize that picture 🙂

    Foreign aid, eh? Haha! Now if we could only find a way to get tangible goods to Gaza we might be in business.

    I wish you all the best

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