In my very first blog entry, I talked about how easy life was abroad (in the U.S.) and how free life was of the daily humiliation we face here in Palestine due to the Israeli Occupation -well, I wasn't completely honest. I had my share of humiliation and self-loathing half-way across the world as well.
So, confession time!!!
The reason I was able to go to New York and study at NYU for a whole semester is how my journey to self-loathing and humiliation started in the U.S., but I won't get into that now. This story would need it's own blog to get to the bottom of it.
BUT, after I was already there walking around New York City streets. Enjoying Mocha's at its Coffee Shops, not missing one bookstore that I came across ... and so on; the self-loathing and feelings of humiliation had to disappear somehow, and they did.
You see, for any Palestinian (or at least most of us) to be able to enjoy our stay at the U.S. we have to completely disconnect ourselves of the reality we're in at that moment, to live in complete denial. I had to keep telling myself that I have to forget the fact that I'm currently staying at the country that has Israel's back.
The country who's the main source of weaponry and military equipment to Israel. The country that doesn't even recognize Palestine as a country, merely as a nation! Technically as a Palestinian, I don't even exist to the U.S.!
So let's go again. Life was easy and free of humiliation; only in contrast to life under the Israeli Occupation. Meaning that, it was nice to live for four months without checkpoints. Or having to witness someone's house get demolished because the Israeli government would rather give building permits to Jews who came from all across Europe over Arab Palestinians who were already living there, and hence get their houses demolished. Or have a cultural Palestinian event in Jerusalem get shut down by the Israeli Government because to them it's a threat to "security". Or not to get arrested for raising the Palestinian flag or having a lecture about the current racist policies applied by the Israeli government over Palestinians. Or not being able to see your favorite Hiphop Band because most of the time they're not allowed to perform in Jerusalem.
I mean, I had the chance to address a huge number of students about the current situation in Palestine under the racist israeli occupation, a chance I would've never had back home. I even got to see DAM (favorite Palestinian Hiphop band) at a concert live, that for sure never happened back home. Hell, for a change I got the chance to talk about the Apartheid\Annexation\Separation Wall and not have to actually feel its physical presence when looking through my bedroom window.
Therefore, in order to be able to enjoy the luxuries I don't get to have back home I had to completely forget where I truly was. For instance I had to completely deny the fact that part of the money I spent on mocha's at Dunken Donuts went (as part of taxes) to the Jewish National Fund and U.S. military; both of which are destroying lives back home every single day. Back then, I won't lie, I did enjoy most of my time there but now that I'm back home, it's something I have to live with every single day!
While being there a friend of mine and I would joke around and say, "Before coming here we had " half dignities" (you can guess why by now), but after coming here with this program (which we'll discuss later) we no longer have any dignity left in us". We were joking then, but now it couldn't have been more real.