United States- It is a beautiful scar that we are born with, a pain we all feel. It is a shiver on our cold chills, a warmth in our beating chests. It is the reason I write this, the reason you read. It is the passion of a Palestinian, one that has flamed through generation to generation, igniting every soul to stand, lit.
My father is 70 years old and every time he says the word Palestine or I watch him introduce himself as a Palestinian, a fiery youth overwhelms his body making him brave and confident, 70 years young, not a stutter in his voice. His heart takes charge and speaks for him. At the sound of the word “Palestine”, I see my father’s heart escape out of his chest, wrap itself around his body and shout to the world, “I am Palestinian.” If you look closely, you can see a tear in my dad’s glowing eyes, every single time. It is a tear of oppression yet a tear of hope. Powerfully, it is an uncontrolled tear of passion, the very same tear every Palestinian sheds.
The spirit of the Palestinian has been beaten for 64 years; it has been brutally punched, violently kicked around and thrown yet somehow it remains unharmed, growing, unmeasurable. The passion from one Palestinian to the next is vivid; it is overwhelmingly alive in our faces and roaring from our lungs. So dominant that our mere spirits challenge our oppressors. It has been 64 years since the occupation of the Palestinians, 64 years of injustices that are unspeakable. Crimes that are brutalizing, taking from Palestinian blood. Nonetheless, it has been 64 years of unsuccessful attempts to rid the world of the Palestinians, attempts that have in turn strengthened the Palestinian spirit each and every time. We remain, prevailing or weak, armed or unarmed, with land or without; we remain and with passion so strong for the land that is and will forever be ours. 64 years later our passion and our spirits as Palestinians perfectly unharmed, so much so that our mere existence, even when peaceful and calm, is an urging threat to our weak hearted oppressors. How can it be, they must wonder, after everything we have put them through those Palestinians are still here, standing? How can it be, they must wonder, after all of our cruel oppressions, their passion remains invincible?
Our culture as Palestinians is endowed by such a force that I begin to get chills just as I type. I begin to shake as I feel my bones strengthen, my mind awake, my heart ready, all at the thought of Palestine. This passion is equal among us all; it is vibrant and existing in our music and debkah, our foods and our clothes, our art and our writings. It is thriving in the hearts of our men and women, easing them to continue being Palestinians under even the harshest of circumstances. We are inevitably resilient because our passion will never change: The liberation of our people, the peace for our land. While the lines between our deepest pain and our truest passion diminish, we found a power. And somehow in such a terrible crisis, such a disastrous ongoing oppression, we the Palestinians have found a way to turn our pain into passion empowering us on. Empowering us through. And ultimately, surely, empowering us to return.
Lena Ibrahim is a Palestinian, born in America. Lena is freshman in college, studying Human Rights and hopes to one day write and direct films about human injustices, specifically for and about the people of Palestine. Lena tweets here.