70 years of the Nakba, Right of Return is Ours

70 years of the Nakba

Right of Return is Ours

 

They killed you.

How am I supposed to forgive that?

They put a bullet through his head

They put a bullet through my heart

How do they expect me to forgive that?

 

They accused him of a crime he did not commit

Mesh Mtzaker (I don’t remember)

Wallah mesh mtzaker (I swear I don’t remember)

He is just a kid, they’re all just kids

How do you expect me to react?

Nefse afham (I want to understand)

Wallah nefse bes afham (I swear I just want to understand)

 

They call me a terrorst

Yl3an dee5 kelmit erhabi (curse the word terrorist)

O meen el erhabi? (And who is the terrorist?)

They are the ones who have ripped my people to shreds

They have ripped his body open and left it to bleed

How do they expect me to trust them?

Thika2? (trust?)

Am I supposed to trust the people who have arrested my father

Who have beaten my father

Who have tortured my father

They have Dehumanized my father

How do they expect me to accept that?

 

1948 – 48

I see that number everywhere

It’s 9:48 A.M

48 seconds left

48 trucks, 48 colors, 48 emotions

48 different screams

48 shades of red

48 trees gone

48 cents

48 months

48 days

48 hours

48 minutes

48 seconds

It’s 9:48 P.M

48 – 1948

 

They arrested my father

They tortured him for 48 days

48 days

How long has it been?

1948

Mama ya Mama, make it stop

I tripped into barbed wire

And I saw 48 different shades of red

Tata ya Tata, make it stop

Allah yer7amha (May God bless her soul)

She left the world with the key to her home in her hands

فلسطين الحرة (Free Palestine)

She did not see a Free Palestine

 

My grandfather is older than the occupation

1948

He watched his family die that die

48 different shades of red

 

They say I can’t be trusted

I must be caged

Dehumanize me

How dare you try to silence me when my people’s narratives are written all over my arms

They flood into my blood, overflowing me, acting as though they were oxygen providing me with life

There is so. much. pain.

My people’s narratives are stabbing into me

48 tears

48 different screams

48 different shades of Red!

 

Your last words were inaudible

because I was not there to hear them

yl3an dee5 el 3’orba (curse the diaspora, the exile, the displacement)

 

Jrash wenak ya Jrash? (Jrash, where are you Jrash?)

Why can’t I see you?

My identity card is green and I cannot see you

I wonder who keeps you company

I wonder if these people know about my 48 shades of red

Because sometimes the only thing I hear is my people screaming

The only thing I see is my people’s shades of red

And I am choking on my people’s narratives

I forget where I am, and I have to remind myself that I am not crazy. I am not crazy. I am not crazy.

Refugee camps are cramped spaces with no air to breathe from

We are choking on our own narratives

Mesh methaker (I don’t remember)

Wallah mesh methaker (I swear I don’t remember)

How do you expect me to forget that?

 

They put a bullet through his head

Which put a bullet through my heart

 

They killed you.

Do not expect me to forgive that.

 

Part 2

My parents are refugees

My parents are children of refugees

I am the daughter of refugees

We will forever be children of Palestinian refugees

Forever

Children

Palestinian

Refugees

These are words that break me

Words that suffocate me

Refugee: for a normal person, it is a term used to label people who are displaced

For me, it is a word that traps me

Its hands are wrapping around my neck – choking me

 

Refugee camps are cramped spaces with no air to breathe from

We are Palestinian Refugees and we are being choked by our own people’s narratives

 

Every time my Biology professor says the word, ‘checkpoint’, I feel a lump in my throat and I am unable to breathe

Every time my Chemistry professor says the word, ‘uranium’, I feel my entire body shake and then I shut down completely

Every time my Political Science professor says the word, ‘citizenship’, I cannot help but stutter because my kind of citizenship does not hold words like freedom

Instead, my citizenship holds the necks of Palestinian Refugees

Instead of me owning my identity,

My haweya owns me (Palestinian identity card)

Every time I hold my haweya, (Palestinian Identity card)

I want to set my hands on fire

And I am crying because how dare I want to burn this identity that tells me I am a Palestinian

How dare I want to set myself on fire when my people are suffering

When my own parents are alive and suffering!

You are all flying, and I am burning, sinking, crying

You grew up with butterflies in your stomach

While I grew up with hot coals in mine

Your butterflies were gentle to you, tickled you, loved you

While these hot coals were hurting me, eating me, destroying me

I was throwing up fire as I was calling for you

How dare you watch me as I am calling for you to help my people

I am screaming; they are beating me, they are burning me

Please, do not watch me

Do not close your ears

Hear me!

Do not try to solve me

Do not make me your “two-state solution”!

Do not talk to me about Peace

Fuck you and your bullshit solutions

You are trying to convince me that you are keeping my people’s best interest in mind,

Yet you are the ones who have been force feeding me and my people hot coals that create this fire that eats us from our insides out

You are trying to show me that you care about my people’s displacement

 

Yet instead you are screaming words that sit as lumps in my throat.

 

Checkpoint, Uranium, Citizenship, katalu (they killed him), jesh (military), a7mar (red), aswad (black), hope, occupation, alleged, mo5ayem (refugee camp), oppression, jebha, apartheid, conflict, radical, kanabel (bombs), terrorist, ghettos, gas, rooftops, yahood, 3asafeer (birds), i7dud (borders, limitations), olive, german shepards, religion, airplanes, soldiers, baniadam (human being), time, Allah, helicopters, lage2a (refugee), katalu (they killed him), jesh (military), a5thar (green), abyad (white), shaheed (martyr),

mama, he’s dead!

 

Israel

 

These words sit as lumps in my throat that soon turn into hot coals that burn in my stomach

 

Do not call me the terrorist, when you are the ones who have displaced me!

Don’t you dare ignore my narrative

Don’t try to erase my existence

Don’t ever think you can speak for me

 

How foolish of I to want to set myself on fire and erase another Palestinian’s existence from this world

Isme (my name is) Rania Yousef Mahmoud 3atteyah Salem Ramadan

And this is my narrative

My roots come from a land called Jrash,

which was ethnically cleansed in 1948

My people murdered

And we were displaced

Now my people live in Dheisheh Refugee Camp in Bethlehem

A camp that gets hit so frequently by Israeli soldiers, young children know the difference between fireworks, gunshots, and bombs dropping

The word refugee suffocates me, but I feel free because my people hold this hope inside them that reminds me of my dearest Palestine and of her well deserved freedom

I am surrounded by refugees that allow me to think of the one day Palestinians won’t feel heavy lumps in their throats – from lumps like occupation, oppression, and apartheid

We are Palestinian Refugees

and we don’t dream of Freedom

No, we are the ones who know it will happen

We are Palestinian Refugees

We are the people who fight to free Palestine as we hold our keys in our hands

One day, we will swallow these lumps in our throats

And to our homes we will return

And refugees we will be no more

 

Jrasheya, Lage2a, Idheshiya, o Falestinia

(A person from Jrash, a Refugee, A person from Dheisheh, and a Palestinian)

 

Ana isme Rania Yousef Mahmoud 3atteyah Salem Ramadan

And you can never erase me.

Rania Salem

Rania Salem is a Palestinian-American. She is a Junior at Loyola University Chicago with a major in Political Science and is a pre-med student. She is a spoken word poet and an active member of SJP at Loyola.

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