Monday, 1 December 2014

Memories of Living Under War and Occupation

While I was away the past twelve days learning how to meditated I noticed that whenever my mind wanders during meditation, it always went back to my memories and my childhood in Palestine. I remembered things, I couldn't believe I had forgotten. Here is what I remember in chronological order.

1989- age 3 
First Palestinian Uprising 

My earliest memory as a child was when I was 3 years old, and it was during the 1st Palestinian uprising. The Israeli Occupy Forces (IOF) used to come to our home to search for youth that were throwing stones at them during clashes. It was common for the youth to seek refuge in peoples home or use it to get from one safe place to another without being on the main road. My mother would always hide them in our house and then when it was safe enough for her to leave would drive them home. Whenever the IOF would come to our home my mom would say to me "the Jews are coming" "the Jews are coming" and I would run under the table in our living room to hide until they left. I of course our of fear would always pee my pants when I was under the table. 

1990- age 4
Gulf War 

When we would hear the alarm siren go on that indicates that the bombing was about to begin, my parents, sister, brother, and my paternal grandmother who was living with us at the time would all come to my sister and I's room. It was the safest in the house. We had the the windows and door sealed with duct tape, we had stocked up on enough food for at least 1 week and we had buckets to use when we had to go to the bathroom. Amin my brother had a Canary bird that was in the veranda outside my room and he would listen for any noise it would make; we knew that if it made noise it was still alive and we were not hit with chemical gas. However, to be safe my dad would drench towels in Clorox that we would have to keep on our nose, because he believed that if we were hit with chemical gas that that would save us, but my dad would put so much Clorox on the towels that my mom would say if you didn't die for chemical gas, you will sure enough die from inhaling too much Clorox. During the war my parents tried to get gas masks from the U.S embassy but there was a long wait to get them. Finally we got a hold of one gas mask. My dad couldn't decide which one of his children he should give it too so he decided to give it to my grandmother. My mother immediately got upset and stated that if her kids didn't get gas masks then no one gets gas masks and we die together. Finally, my parents decided to leave to the U.S for a couple of months hoping the war would be over by then. On the day we were getting ready to leave to the airport we finally got our gas masks form the U.S embassy and they were expired. 

1993- age 7 
Oslo Agreement

I remember exactly where I was during the time it was declared. I was in my uncle's apartment in Ramallah and him and all my cousins were sitting in his bedroom watching the news. I remember the energy of people in the city was hopeful people wanted peace. However, my mother being the realist that she is wasn't hopeful at all. I remember her saying "when the Israeli's punch you in the face it hurts, wait until your own people start doing it to you" and she as usual was right. 

** More updates tomorrow. Second Palestinian uprising and beyond.