The Story of My Birth
In Palestine, no one can pursue the full range of their dreams; they have been denied the right to dreaming. However, they never give up dreaming. In Palestine, people are in a big prison restricted by Israeli authorities in their breaths, steps, and even their dreams. In Palestine, children are not allowed to live normally as other children around the world, because they grow up living hard lives, in which the terrifying sound of shelling and the sight of the blood flooding from fallen martyrs are all too common. In Palestine, children hope one day to live peacefully in an independent country– a safe place where violence is not a constant companion. In Palestine, the taste of living is bitterer. In Palestine, you see people resisting by living. They handle their grief and go on challenging.
I was born on the 24thof August, 1991. Mum always described how difficult I came to life. Her memories of the day of my birth cannot easily be forgotten. That day, Jabalia camp was besieged by Israeli soldiers. My father couldn’t be around when my mother was laboring as an ordinary husband. The thirteen years of suffering that my father spent in a narrow cell were not enough for those terrorists. It’s worth mentioning that Dad had been sentenced to seven lifetimes plus ten years, but thankfully, he was released in the 1985 prisoner exchange after serving ‘only’ thirteen.
In fact, he was never free. He was restricted in his movements and was always worried that he would be rearrested. They deprived him of the basic right of a husband, sharing his wife the most difficult moments of pregnancy. When my mother felt she was ready to give birth, “assisted by your old grandmother, we went to the Jabalia Clinic, holding a lantern so that we could see the rugged alleys of Jabalia camp in the middle of the night.” Mum said. “Unscrupulous Israeli soldiers obstructed our way, wanting to interrogate us even though it was clear that I was about to give birth.”
She brought me into this life, where safety, peace, and justice are not guaranteed. When she got better, she went back home to let me see my father. They defiantly celebrated my advent, but in Palestine no smile could ever last.
”In the middle of the night, a month after you were born, a huge force of armed Israeli soldiers suddenly broke into our home, damaging everything before them.” Mum said while recalling her tough memories. “They attacked your father, bound him with chains, and dragged him to the prison, beating him the whole way. The happiness of the new baby – me – didn’t continue for the whole family. ” My traumatized mother was able to breastfeed me for a month, but then she couldn’t anymore; her sorrow ended her lactation.
Dad was held for six months under administrative detention, without any charge. Prior to this time, my father served this term two times during Mum’s pregnancy with my elder two siblings. We have always joked about that saying, “Dad’s detention was Mum’s birth control”.
Administrative detention is a procedure the Israeli military uses to hold detainees indefinitely on secret evidence without charging them or allowing them to stand trial, and it can be renewed indefinitely. Over 200 Palestinian political prisoners are serving administrative detention orders now, and tens of thousands of Palestinians have experienced it since 1967.
The day my father got his freedom back, six months later, mum was awaiting him as if she knew he was coming. He couldn’t believe how big I was after seven months: he couldn’t stop hugging and kissing me for even one second. I am writing my childhood experience, and my eyes are full of tears, that this experience always repeats itself across Palestine. Every Palestinian is convicted to a life of uncertainty without having to commit a crime. Being a Palestinian is our only offense.
With my father being around, our home returned back as warm as it always was. That time was the third and last time that my mother’s heart broke since my father was thrown into the prison, mentioning that she experienced the same thing twice with my two elder siblings.
Two years after my birth, the Intifada of stones ended. The celebrations were non-stop in Palestine, but their happiness again didn’t last. Another Intifada began in 2000, when I was in the fourth grade but who knows when it will end. It’s seemingly never-ending cycle. In Palestine, no smile can last forever. However, In Palestine, no one seems to give up dreaming in brighter future for Palestine, in a just peace that will guarantee us with freedom, dignity, and justice.