By Dalia El Athamna
It amazes me how much Palestinians are connected to their land, their heritage, and their culture. Generation after generation born outside Palestine with the majority of us never stepping a foot on this holy land, yet we are connected to it emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. We are attached to it through stories passed on from generation to the other, we are attracted to its beauty and most importantly we need to feel that we have a home and an identity.
We are Palestinian, we say … But what does that really mean to someone who has never seen that land? What does it mean to someone who hasn’t lived the real true struggle of a Palestinian living there? What does it mean to someone who has lived in several countries and has had several places to call ‘home’? Who are we really? I was born in Kuwait, raised in Australia and now residing in Canada. I hold nothing that says ‘Palestinian’ on it. I am Kuwaiti by birth, Australian and Canadian by citizenship. My parents escaped Palestine for a better life in Kuwait, only to escape again to Australia for yet another better life. Our fellow Muslim Arab countries treated us like aliens on the place we called home, on the only home we knew…
We are Palestinian, we say … We represent a different struggle than those living on the holy land. We are the true definition of ‘identity crisis’ The reality is most of us will go through life not knowing who we really are or why we live so far away from our ‘home’. We will go through life never knowing how it feels to belong, how it feels to have a land.
We are Palestinian, we say … A nationality that has a curse tagged to it, you are immediately looked down upon, and you are immediately treated differently by your own people. Unless you are lucky enough to spend years in the West to get a citizenship, then your curse is removed and you become as worthy and human as others.
We are Palestinian, we say … Yet we live thousands of miles away from this land, some of us don’t speak the language and some of us can’t even point to a village on the map where we ‘originally’ came from, for the simple fact that it doesn’t exist anymore! Yet we still call ourselves Palestinian, we still love this part of our crushed identity.
We are Palestinian …