75 years of brutal occupation lives deep in my soul. 75 years of brutal occupation chips away at my bones. 75 years of brutal occupation finds a home in my words as they gush out of me.
I have spent the majority of this semester speaking. Speaking at events on campus. Speaking at protests and vigils. Speaking to university administration. Speaking to the media. Speaking through unbearable pain. Speaking. Speaking. Speaking.
Inviting people to try our food. Inviting people to listen to our music. Inviting people to learn about our tatreez (traditional embroidery). Inviting people to experience the joys our culture has to offer. Inviting people to come sit under my olive trees and see the Palestine that I see. Inviting others to see all the beauty that comes with being Palestinian. Inviting people into the depths of my being. Inviting people to come look into my grandmother's eyes, and witness the horrors she endured. Inviting people to come look into my eyes and try to feel a sliver of the pain that I carry, recognizing that it is but a sliver of the pain my people have had to carry. Inviting people to meet all the murdered Palestinians I hold within me. Inviting people on a walk through a graveyard of dreams. Inviting. Inviting. Inviting.
Asking people to seek out and listen to the Palestinian voices that the world keeps trying to muffle. Asking people to hear the voices of the journalists living in Gaza. Asking people to ask questions about what they think they know. Asking people to think critically about the media they consume. Asking people to look pain in the eye. Asking people to not look away. Asking people to interrogate their own complicity. Asking. Asking. Asking.
Begging others to see us as human. Begging others to see me as human. Begging others to see our voices as worthy of amplifying. Begging others to care. Begging others to feel. Begging others to act. Begging others to beg others too. Begging. Begging. Begging.
When did I become the kind of person who begs?
I have spent the majority of the last semester speaking, inviting, asking, and begging. I wonder, have I said the right words yet? Have I touched your heart and soul yet? Have I moved you? Is your heart tender enough to be moved by pain that is not your own? Can I use my words to make your heart softer? Do the right words even exist?
I have spent the majority of the last semester speaking. Were you even listening?
I refuse to waste another second begging others to see me. I will not beg, but I will keep speaking. We, the Palestinian people, will always keep speaking. Please find us when you are ready to listen and care.