Click here for more current events lesson plans matched to national standards.
Wiped Out: Where Should Palestinians Live?
By: Waseem, Age 17 Posted: 08.24.00
A student living in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, describes life without a place to call home. If you have a story about how a news event affected your life, contact us.
Oh, of course there was the problem of the original inhabitants of that land. Solution: they were just kicked out. My grandparents were among those people.
I am not going to bore you with what the Palestinians went through, nor am I going to try to explain why the last Camp David Summit failed.
I will simply tell you of the impact that choice of the Jews had on a person who, probably, just like you, knows Palestine (or rather Israel) only through the camera lenses of news reporters: me.
For most Palestinians, the Israelis (I am not going to use the word Jews anymore, because I have nothing against the Jews themselves) have taken their land, holy places, homes.
As for me, a person of the third generation of those that have been sent on a short, fifty-year 'camping trip', the Israelis have robbed me of one thing: my identity. I no longer know where I belong.
When my grandparents left Palestine, they made a forced
Maybe a few thousand years ago, Socrates stood in front of a group of Greek philosophers and bombarded them with weird questions: How did the Universe come into being? Are things in our world shadows of other things somewhere else?
Since such questions are beyond the scope of my simple essay, let me ask you a simpler one: From what you read so far, can you figure out my nationality?
Oh, don't move that mouse pointer to the close button of your browser... I completely assure you, when I wrote these words, I was in possession of my full mental powers.
If you think I am a Palestinian, then think again. Remember, there's no such thing as Palestine. So? Syrian? A UAE citizen?
Boy, I wish time machines were for real. Maybe then I'd be able to go back to 450 BC, get hold of Socrates, tell him to stop pondering his silly questions and find an answer for mine.
Now let's think more systematically. I faced the same problem when I was filling an online university application form. The university wanted to know my nationality. The first (and most obvious) nationality to choose was Palestinian. Probably, you're familiar with the drop-down boxes used in Web pages. Well I had to choose a country from the list.
There was no Palestine.
Anyway, is ancestry enough to make me a Palestinian? I never saw an
inch of Palestine. I scrolled down to Syria, my parents' birthplace
and the country which gave me a wonderful document similar to your passports,
Then again, I did not enjoy Syrian rights. Only left with the UAE,
my country of residence. Scroll down a bit more. Move the pointer. Wait!
The rights problems again (as if I
All this may seem pointless to you. Why should I worry about my nationality?
That's probably because you're American or European. Unfortunately, I'm a Nowhere-ian, so I have to worry a bit now and then.
You take your nationality and citizenship for granted, while I have nothing of the kind.
Copyright © MacNeil-Lehrer Productions All Rights Reserved