Friday, August 7, 2009
So I know this is long overdue. I should have written ages ago. I actually had a million and one things to write about too. So I went to Palestine again with a good friend of mine last week. For those of you who don't know Palestine is currently being occupied and militarily controlled by Israel. The situation is extremely difficult on Palestinians because they're being caged into smaller and smaller lands and their IDs are taken away so they're not allowed to work. If you can't work you don't have income and if you don't have income you can't sustain yourself with food and shelter. So this time around, I absolutely loved my visit. I actually got to go to the West Bank, see the Apartheid Wall, and talk to locals about their situation. Honestly, just talking to people gave them hope that there are people on the other side of the world that actually care about them.
We checked out the Jewish Quarter too in the Old City. The local Israelis weren’t too happy about that. Imagine two hijabis at the Western Wall surrounded by religious Jews doing their thing. I was so intrigued by the whole thing and all of the sudden this lady comes up to me and starts yelling at me to leave because I’m Muslim. Then she calls some soldiers from the IDF to come check us out. So this soldier starts checking our American passports while this group of kids starts hovering around us waiting to see what entertainment they were going to get. After going through the passports the soldier turns to lady and says ‘they’re American, I can’t do anything,’ and walks away. The lady at this point was boiling red in anger and stormed off. My friend and I then started leaving and the whole time this lady was staring at us, fuming.
Thank God I’m American. Seriously. I don’t know what would have happened to me if I didn’t have that blue little book with me everywhere I went. I think it’s such a blessing for us because we can actually do things. We have leverage to have experiences many people around the world can’t. As Muslims, it’s a bigger responsibility on our shoulders I think.
Alhumdulillah (Thanks to God) I got to pray Friday Prayer at Masjid al-Aqsa. It was amazing. The entire Masjid al-Aqsa was filled with men and the Dome of the Rock behind it filled with women. After prayer the streets were filled with Palestinian families and little kids running around. It was so beautiful and peaceful in that moment... such a rush of hope came over me. It's impossible for a people to be oppressed forever. Justice will be served one day, I just don't know when.
On a lighter note, Palestinians are known to make amazing candies… gummies, Turkish delights, jelly beans… you name it. I think I spent most of my money buying almost 5 pounds of candy. Oh boy will my dentist have fun when I come back home.