On my typical day-to-day life, I hang out with a group of young boys and girls like myself; and I realized their growing temptation for emigration outside Palestine to “anywhere” else in the world. The reason is just their urge of leaving the “Restricted zone”. Right then, I felt the need to refresh their memories and ask them; “What do you think of your life in Palestine?”
This was their feedback:
M.A: I wouldn’t call it life. We breathe oxygen, we eat and drink. These are just the necessities everyone automatically has. When I speak for myself, I still haven’t found life.
F.T: Despite the circumstances here, I can’t imagine living elsewhere. I love this country.
W.T: We are still leading a better life than others, yet this isn’t the life we ever wished for.
H.M: I cross checkpoints and see Israeli soldiers every day, and I’ve never felt comfortable with this. My life is always wasted; my thoughts and private life are always influenced by this. People around me have become lifeless and unproductive. I wish I could travel to learn from others and expand my horizons to invest in my country.
W.W: Our strong character and determination for life are the main reason why we hold on to our lives. Despite where we are, there are times when obstacles arise and we must have the drive for determination and survival.
W.W: I’d like to add that everything in this universe carries two sides; it’s our ability to choose the right one which determines who we are.
K.J: The young Palestinian life is simply restricted.
S.Q: I belong to this place to its deep core. Nowhere in the world can be how we picture it, but we make the best of what we have at hand.
S.D: I’d like to say to everyone complaining about their lives: “if you look back at every legendary success from those of leaders, scientists to writers, intellectuals, inventors, painters and to those of musicians and religious men, you will realize they were raised into this life in hardship.”
So, I wonder why do we have these different perspectives! Palestinian youth dream of a new planned world right after graduating high school. They picture a remarkable home, new friends and an imaginary world until these dreams carry them to a magical free world and space.
Then, for one reason or another, those dreams dissolve and fail, and the children find themselves in one of the local Palestinian universities with a major they never planned to study. Probably, it’s due to the fact that our schools haven’t guided us to make our choices in life; hence, we dream of opportunities possible elsewhere. Four, five years of college go by, the kids are feeling “frustrated” .. And right after graduating, we automatically barge into the career world… barely getting up early to work, off to work we go and back to “home sweet home.” Some may think emigrating to Europe or the USA is the solution to this lifeless routine. To exit from the boring family environment and off to private life control, the search for money and Aladdin’s treasure and fame. But once they achieved their dream of traveling, they discover it’s just a dream.
Traveling to different places can have a great influence on us for an extraordinary life experience. I do encourage traveling for intellectual and experiential gain, but why don’t we invest all this for the well-being of our country?
I asked this question at the beginning of my article to see how I can expand this positive energy to our life, and transit from this “laziness” to an energetic and productive stage where opportunities are available. I see Palestine as an ideal place to gain experience, make money, fame, love, and friendship. All this and more are what a young man looks for. How?
Try this: draw a smile on your face, learn to pass it on to your friends, co-workers, and feel the positive energy flow in your body. Entertain yourself with time, even if you have to fake your happiness; embrace obstacles and solve them one by one, then you’ll feel the difference and achievement.
Then go watch a play, a musical performance, or a movie, walk, listen to music, and most importantly, volunteer and become positive. Start with minimal energy and embrace it to grow and benefit yourself.
Palestine is known for its small size, no one is a stranger to the other, it’s easy to move within and success of invention is possible. Don’t wait for an opportunity in bed. Go volunteer, learn, initiate, take pictures, write, or even gather your social group and achieve together. Right then will you cherish your value and what you can do. Right then, you will look at life from a different perspective, with love and thirst for more and work longer and you will realize the society’s support. As for the big nations, these are worlds of big numbers and complex equations.
The thought of belonging is not only limited by staying or leaving as much as it demands work and creation of ideas and opportunities. I believe there are big opportunities out there…all we need to do is lie down, think and take action. Take initiative.
Before I end this, my friend had one concern last year, and that was leaving. He then became occupied with work and ideas and took them to the next level – Action. He worked hard and one month later his idea spread throughout Palestine. He received emails from everywhere and he continued expanding to further opportunities and ideas. His admirers grew around him and right then, he realized the importance of contributing to his country and the difference he is already making. If he were living elsewhere, the society may not have appreciated him as much. They are different people living in a different world. His energy and work may not have handled the million ideas and millions of people. He approached me saying, “My friend, I love this country and can never leave it unless it was for further educating myself; and I will return with a better me and more contributions.”
“Remember, culture is the tool to reflect our true side in the real world. We are humans, the spirit is within us, to either be with dignity or not to be, and children fly beyond the occupying wall, and the accordions are still dancing and dancing on the street of the small papers.”
Translated by: Amani Omari