Saturday, July 09, 2005

Stand Up Straight...

Ever been the refugee camps in Jordan? Camps like Zezya, Shnelar, Baqa'a, Al Hussian. When my parents were young, they travelled along with the hordes of refugees in 42' and 67'. And although, they spent a short period of time in those camps, just like almost any Palestinian did, a forever connection was built. I was born in Amman, in a life of luxury and prosperity, I never knew the meaning of being kicked out of your own country, or suffering poverty, or living in tents. I cried when my parents refused to buy me a guitar, when others in those camps cried searching for jobs to support their families. And maybe because my parents were young, they don't remember much of it. But yesterday i visited my distant relatives who never managed to propser and get out of those camps. And unlike what you think, am not ashamed of who i am. Those are my people, and those are my family.

They heard about my writings about Jordan and it's current situation. They heard am criticising certain aspects in our country, and one of them said as i drank the most delicious tea in my life, sitting on the ground. "I think you came to the right place, i don't think you'll find anything positive here."

But, actually, let me tell you something that means the world to me. I came from my world where I complain about not going out with my friends or bad quality cinemas, to see the reality, to wake up from this bogus i am living. And although they didn't have much, the streets were muddy, and the houses where small... I saw the highest class of people. People who were generous, kind, and white-hearted, and i although i haven't been visiting them for a long time, they greeted me warmly and i didn't feel like a stranger. I sat there, and i don't know most of the faces, but i felt welcomed and happy. The neighbors knocked, and sat, all like family. The babies i barely knew, came to play with me refering to me as their "cousin" and although i am not, that's how they were raised: commitment, family connection, and hospitality.

Their simplicity dazzled me, and i talked to the old ladies asking them how they got here. And their storage of almost 70 years of memories flowed into my notebook. How the tents were blown in the winter, how the UNRWA helped them build their modest homes and distrubted various supplies every month. They revealed to me their mysterious connection with Sardines, that were distrubted weekly to the refugees. And before i could finish my sentence, one of the younger mothers said to me "You should be a journalist. Did you finish the Tawjihi?"

And i paused for a second telling her that i didn't sit for the Tawjihi exams, rather sat for the IGCSE externals. And of course they were baffled, and in the end i said "Yes i finished Tawjihi." And they smiled at me, wishing me the best of luck, and praying for god to keep me safe. And even though, they didn't get the best of life, the best of education, and the best of conditions... some of them suceeded and obtained their MA's and Phds. On my way home, i thought of them... and their courage. And i felt the sudden urge to write this, and tell you, one of my countries best qualities: we may complain, we may live a harsh life, but we have hearts of gold ready to accept anyone in need.

A lot don't admit that their relatives,parents,siblings lived in refugee camps, or still do. But I am
telling you my friend, you shouldn't be ashamed of where you come from, especially if they're the refugee camps, because they are the most bold, courageous, and determined people in life, who strive for change all the time. Why i wrote this? As i continue to live my privilaged life, that my dear parents gave me through their struggle and hard work, I tell you we should be grateful for who we are now, no matter what's the situation. Stand up straight, now is the time to make your change.

5 Comments:

Blogger SugarCubes said...

I enjoyed reading this so much and I'm looking forward to reading more about those camps. Well done girl :)

5:14 AM  
Blogger Basbooos said...

thanks amino for this posting. i am glad that there are young people who are not afraid to talk honestly about their roots. i just wish the priviliged young generation in jordan would just wake up and start looking around them to reality.

7:55 AM  
Anonymous Ziad said...

At first, I didn't think I'd be visiting your blog often, because I'm not too thrilled about reading what I had assumed would be a teenage girl's rants. Well, you continue to prove my initial assumptions wrong! I really enjoyed this post. You have a very preceptive outlook (not to use "grown up" or "old" :p ).

I'm still straining my eyes to read the text though. Maybe I'm just getting old :)

-Ziad

8:21 AM  
Anonymous Ibrahim said...

Thanks for this post Amino you are such a good talent writer...

i enjoyed reading this post, keep going girl you have a good future ...

Ibrahim

7:29 PM  
Blogger Amino said...

Sugarcubes - Thank you buddy :)

Basboos- A person without his roots, is like a fallen tree. (damn i should make proverbs)

Ziad - Thanks Ziad, no seriously am changing my blogger template soon, into something more comfy, eye wise (nahh u're not getting old!)

Ibrahim- Thanks :)

9:40 PM  

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