FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Exiled from Palestine

by ELIZA ERNSHIRE

Amman.

It is a terrible feeling to be in exile. Even from a country I have only called home for 9 months. As I sit here in Amman many questions fill my mind, not least among them the question of how all the Palestinians exiled for life manage to accept this injustice. I have come across enough of these cases in the last week to make me try and be more realistic about my own frustrations. The first example was at the Bridge crossing where I sat with an older Palestinian man who very sympathetically asked me if I was being turned back. I said yes and launched into my tale of sorrow: how everything I owned was in my home in Ramallah, how I had work and friendships and projects half-started, how I had a cat who is only six months old waiting for me. He kindly comforted me and then told me his tale. His family was in Hebron. His wife, children and land. He had been turned away six times in the past two months. His wife bore his fifth child in October and he has not yet seen his son. He shrugged his shoulders and said “I hope. I keep hoping and that is why I am here again.”

For the next two hours he walked up and down the waiting area, chatting at times to the security officers, never revealing the terrible stress he was feeling. At times he came up to me to ask how things were going and in shame at my earlier complaints I kept assuring him that I was fine. Yes,they were sending me back, but that was only going to break my heart and not that of a loving family

I was glad to see that he got into Palestine as I was being packed into the bus returning to Jordan.

On the bus was a young 16-year old boy who was also being sent back. He came to Jordan to visit his sister who is married in Amman. His mother and father are in Bethlehem and he was denied entry to return to them. Dear boy! He also shrugged his shoulders and said he would just try again the next day.

Today as I caught a taxi to the Australian Embassy the driver asked me where I had learnt to understand a little Arabic. I said Palestine. He said “welcome!” and then told me he was from Bethlehem “near the church” and he used his hands to show the church spire. “I am from that part of Bethlehem” he said. The way he spoke made me think he had left there a week ago. I asked him how long since he had been home.

“I have never seen Palestine”, he answered.

As we wound our way through the traffic we discussed Bethlehem and I assured him how beautiful his home was. He seemed very pleased to hear this and I could not bear to tell him how scarred his city was in reality by the Wall. When we arrived I said I hoped he would one day see Palestine and he said “insha’allah”.
I found myself repeating this phrase as well as I walked home. Insha’allah I will also be allowed to see my home again…one day.

While I was away the army invaded Ramallah. I watched the TV coverage in horror as army jeeps roamed around the center of the city shooting and causing chaos and death. As army bulldozers crushed cars and fruit stores in the market where I always bought my fruit and vegetables. I wept as I saw familiar faces flashing past the camera, shouting and crying in disbelief.

I cannot explain my feeling of guilt because I was not there suffering with the people who had become my brothers and sisters. Because I could get out and they couldn’t. Yesterday I read an article in Maan News that named Khalil the coffee vendor of Al Minara as one of those innocent bystanders killed in that invasion. How many times had I stood by his store and enjoyed a street coffee and his hospitality. In the course of my stay in Ramallah I had come to know him quite well. There was the time his son was hit by a car and I would sit with his family in the hospital passing the time. There was the time when the Israeli army invaded Ramallah in May 2006 and I was standing shell-shocked in the middle of Al Minara not sure what was happening and Khalil rushed up to me and grabbed my arm and dragged me to a garbage bin behind which we both sheltered as bullets flew in all directions.

And now he is killed.

I am sorry, Khalil! For you and your dear son who was so loved by you. For your city whose pain and joy and life I cannot share in anymore.

I imagine as time passes I will get used to the fact that I am not going back. Get used to waiting for some future peace deal that will allow the Allenby Border to be monitored by Palestinian forces.

Then it will be an exciting time as all the thousands of people in my position make a journey back to the country that is their home or in which they were always welcomed, to celebrate.

To lay wreathes for those friends who didn’t live to see the freedom of their homeland, to collect belongings dust-covered, clothes years out of fashion
Insha’allah we will live to see to see this day.

ELIZA ERNSHIRE can be reached at eliza_ernshire@yahoo.co.uk

 

 

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
July 01, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
Hillary: Ordinarily Awful or Uncommonly Awful?
Rob Urie
Liberal Pragmatism and the End of Political Possibility
Pam Martens
Clinton Says Wall Street Banks Aren’t the Threat, But Her Platform Writers Think They are
Michael Hudson
The Silence of the Left: Brexit, Euro-Austerity and the T-TIP
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Marx on Financial Bubbles: Much Keener Insights Than Contemporary Economists
Evan Jones
Ancillary Lessons from Brexit
Jason Hirthler
Washington’s Not-So-Invisible Hand: It’s Not Economics, It’s Empire
Mike Whitney
Another Fed Fiasco: U.S. Bond Yields Fall to Record Lows
Aidan O'Brien
Brexit: the English and Welsh Enlightenment
Jeremy R. Hammond
How Turkey’s Reconciliation Deal with Israel Harms the Palestinians
Margaret Kimberley
Beneficial Chaos: the Good News About Brexit
Phyllis Bennis
From Paris to Istanbul, More ‘War on Terror’ Means More Terrorist Attacks
Dan Bacher
Ventura Oil Spill Highlights Big Oil Regulatory Capture
Ishmael Reed
OJ and Jeffrey Toobin: Black Bogeyman Auctioneer
Ron Jacobs
Let There Be Rock
Ajamu Baraka
Paris, Orlando and Turkey: Displacing the Narrative of Western Innocence
Pete Dolack
Brexit Will Only Count If Everybody Leaves the EU
Robert Fantina
The First Amendment, BDS and Third-Party Candidates
Julian Vigo
Xenophobia in the UK
David Rosen
Whatever Happened to Utopia?
Andre Vltchek
Brexit – Let the UK Screw Itself!
Jonathan Latham
107 Nobel Laureate Attack on Greenpeace Traced Back to Biotech PR Operators
Steve Horn
Fracked Gas LNG Exports Were Centerpiece In Promotion of Panama Canal Expansion, Documents Reveal
Robert Koehler
The Right to Bear Courage
Colin Todhunter
Pro-GMO Spin Masquerading as Science Courtesy of “Shameful White Men of Privilege”
Eoin Higgins
Running on Empty: Sanders’s Influence on the Democratic Party Platform
Binoy Kampmark
Who is Special Now? The Mythology Behind the US-British Relationship
Mark B. Baldwin
Russia to the Grexit?
Andrew Wimmer
Killer Grief
Manuel E. Yepe
Sanders, Socialism and the New Times
Franklin Lamb
ISIS is Gone, But Its Barbarity Still Haunts Palmyra
Mark Weisbrot
A Policy of Non-Intervention in Venezuela Would be a Welcome Change
Matthew Stevenson
Larry Cameron Explains Brexit
Cesar Chelala
How Tobacco Became the Opium War of the 21st Century
Joseph Natoli
How We Reached the Point Where We Can’t Hear Each Other
Andrew Stewart
Skip “Hamilton” and Read Gore Vidal’s “Burr”
George Wuerthner
Ranching and the Future of the Sage Grouse
Thomas Knapp
Yes, a GOP Delegate Revolt is Possible
Gilbert Mercier
Democracy Is Dead
Missy Comley Beattie
A Big F#*K You to Voters
Charles R. Larson
Mychal Denzel Smith’s “Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching: a Young Black Man’s Education”
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Four Morning Ducks
David Yearsley
Where the Sidewalk Ends: Walking the Bad Streets of Houston’s Super-Elites
Christopher Brauchli
Educating Kansas
Andy Piascik
The Hills of Connecticut: Where Theatre and Life Became One
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail