|My beautiful Palestine transcends space and time.|
By Samah Sabawi
This is to all of the Palestinian parents in exile and the long trail of olive trees they've planted around the globe.
A few days ago, my father emailed me a photo of my mom and him standing proudly next to my newest sibling; a young olive tree they've planted in their garden in Queensland Australia. I was moved beyond belief looking at that photo and thinking of my beautiful Palestine.
My father always told us “To be a Palestinian means you must speak truth to power and you must never give up.” He was always busy teaching us through his poetry and his stories about being good citizens of the world, identifying with the oppressed and standing for the rights of those who have none. He brought home dozens of movies including "Ghandi", and "Cry Freedom" and he sat us down to watch the series "Roots", always discussing the movies and stories afterward. It didn’t matter if it was about abolishing slavery, apartheid in South Africa or non-violent civil disobedience in India, the message was always the same: Palestine is not one battle, it is an epic human story told again and again of how the oppressed stand up against the oppressors. "To understand our story, we must understand the age-old human battle for freedom". My father had a strong conviction that to be of use to Palestine you had to be a part of the world at large. “Palestine is not about a tiny spot on the map,” he always said, “it is about the awakening the human conscious”.
As for my mother, she never failed to give us doses of a quiet yet infinite love filled with all the colors of a culture that could not be crushed, denied or forgotten. If you spend some time with my mother you will know Israel has a losing battle on its hand. She kept Palestinian food on the table, told Palestinian folk tales, sang us Palestinian lullabies and when we were ready to move away and start our own lives, she orchestrated for us Palestinian weddings that didn’t miss any of the details they had back home. Palestine lives uninterrupted through the army of millions of exiled Palestinian mothers who like my mother, have became a solid bridge to the homeland for their families.
I look at the photo my parents sent me, how extraordinary their journey has been and what examples they've set for us. Indeed, my beautiful Palestine transcends space and time. It is much larger than any one country on a map. It is a trail of Olive trees planted around this globe. My beautiful Palestine is the undefeated and unbreakable human spirit soaring above borders, over walls and beyond oppression.