Monday 27 April 2015

‘Everyone wants to go to London to experience how to be happy’

One of the things that have really gnawed at me about the occupation is the effect it is having on young minds. There is almost nothing that screams ‘success of Israeli occupation’ more than young people saying, and believing, that nothing will change. As a teacher, it breaks my spirit to know that hope is lost. From what I can see, some hope has been lost. 

During a morning’s activities, we were asked to ‘entertain’ the students who all had interviews for the student exchange programme. After failing to play any games, we all settled for having chats instead. And it was here I met Mumin. A heavy American accent and perfect Arabic had secured my full attention: where was he from? I’m Palestinian but my family used to live in California, he told me. Now it made sense. I took advantage of his English and asked him about why he wanted to visit London. It was then he explained that being a child here is not easy. The occupation makes it difficult to do anything, to want to be anything. ‘Everyone wants to go to London to experience how to be happy’ were his words. Never had I heard it put so painfully. 

Israel takes away what we fight to give our youth: the faith that they can be happy, that they deserve to be happy. 

This is for you, Mumin says and hands me a bar of soap. It’s Nabulsi soap made out of olives. He tells me there are only three factories left because production rights are now reserved by Israeli authorities. It is ours but they liked it so much they took it, he explained. 

The theft by Israel, its inhabitants, its supporters, is clear. But perhaps it is not enough to call it theft or bullying or inhumane when you take life away from those that have not lived it yet. It is more than theft. It is extermination. 

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