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:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

January 19, 2017
Melvin Goodman
America’s Russian Problem
Dave Lindorff
Right a Terrible Wrong: Why Obama Should Reverse Himself and Pardon Leonard Peltier
Laura Carlsen
Bringing Mexico to Its Knees Will Not “Make America Great Again”
John W. Whitehead
Nothing is Real: When Reality TV Programming Masquerades as Politics
Yoav Litvin
Time to Diss Obey: the Failure of Identity Politics and Protest
Mike Whitney
The Trump Speech That No One Heard 
Conn Hallinan
Is Europe Heading for a “Lexit”?
Stephen Cooper
Truth or Twitter? Why Donald Trump Is No John Steinbeck
Binoy Kampmark
Scoundrels of Patriotism: The Freeing of Chelsea Manning
Ramzy Baroud
The Balancing Act is Over: What Elor Azaria Taught Us about Israel
Josh Hoxie
Why Health Care Repeal is a Stealth Tax Break for Millionaires
Kim C. Domenico
It’s High Time for a Politics of Desire
Shamus Cooke
Inauguration Day and Beyond
Clark T. Scott
More and More Lousy
David Swanson
Samantha Power Can See Russia from Her Padded Cell
Kevin Carson
Right to Work and the Apartheid State
Malaika H. Kambon
Resisting the Lynching of Haitian Liberty!
January 18, 2017
Gary Leupp
The Extraordinary Array of Those Questioning Trump’s Legitimacy (and Their Various Reasons)
Charles Pierson
Drone Proliferation Ramps Up
Ajamu Baraka
Celebrating Dr. King with the Departure of Barack Obama
David Underhill
Trumpology With a Twist
Chris Floyd
Infinite Jest: Liberals Laughing All the Way to Hell
Stansfield Smith
Obama’s Hidden Role in Worsening Climate Change
Ron Leighton
Trump is Not Hitler: How the Misuse of History Distorts the Present as Well as the Past
Ralph Nader
An Open Letter to President-Elect Donald Trump
Binoy Kampmark
NATO and Obsolescence: Donald Trump and the History of an Alliance
Zarefah Baroud
‘The Power to Create a New World’: Trump and the Environmental Challenge Ahead
Julian Vigo
Obama Must Pardon the Black Panthers in Prison or in Exile
Alfredo Lopez
The Whattsapp Scandal
Clancy Sigal
Russian Hacking and the Smell Test
Terry Simons
The Truth About Ethics and Condoms
January 17, 2017
John Pilger
The Issue is Not Trump, It is Us
John K. White
Is Equality Overrated, Too?
Michael J. Sainato
The DNC Hands the Democratic Party Over to David Brock and Billionaire Donors
John Davis
Landscapes of Shame: America’s National Parks
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Politicians and Rhetorical Tricks
Chris Busby
The Scientific Hero of Chernobyl: Alexey V. Yablokov, the Man Who Dared to Speak the Truth
David Macaray
Four Reasons Trump Will Quit
Chet Richards
The Vicissitudes of the Rural South
Clancy Sigal
“You Don’t Care About Jobs”: Why the Democrats Lost
Robert Dodge
Martin Luther King and U.S. Politics: Time for a U.S. Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Jack Sadat Lee
I Dream of Justice for All the Animal Kingdom
James McEnteer
Mourning Again in America
January 16, 2017
Paul Street
How Pure is Your Hate?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
Did the Elites Have Martin Luther King Jr. Killed?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail