Stories

No one in Gaza has the luxury of deciding “when” to travel

All the young people are leaving.
We say goodbye
over and over again.
We never ask ourselves
Will they return?
We know the answer without asking.
We simply say goodbye.

Many of my friends have gone abroad.
For work, for study, for treatment or to marry.
A question:
Why can’t we do all these things at home?

In our home,
the purpose of life is nil.
The light of passion has turned off,
like our electricity.
We are jailbirds.
We shout but the world turns deaf ears.

Abroad, I hear, you feel light.
Shoulders without burden.
Abroad, they pack their bags with ease
Fly like birds without borders.
They can work to support
those they love,
so they work with passion,
rather than desperation.

We can achieve this and more,
with a foreign visa.
But because we are Palestinian,
we draw the short straw
at every ‘checkpoint’ along the way.
Again and again,
we are reminded:
We don’t want you.

We have a choice:
Stay, and make the decisions you have to,
or leave (If we can)
and make the decisions you want to.

(Source: we are not numbers)

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