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Tala A. Rahmeh

Being Palestinian


When death is in the air there is always a heavy silence that fills the lungs with a suffocating sensation. Everything seems gray and colorless. Life stops in its tracks.

It seems to be godís way of reminding us of his presence; his breath approaches the back of our necks and chills run down the spines.

When death is present we feel hollow, echo fills our bodies and we find nothing to say. Words run away and we stumble inside ourselves in an attempt to fill the inevitable void.

Hope escapes the strings of our thoughts, and a heavy sense of loss sinks our hearts, screaming inhales our silence and sucks it in.

After the world falls to pieces it gathers itself again and springs up from the blueness of the sky of this country, Palestine, the one place on earth that always seems to gather its pieces, and our pieces.

We hurry everyday to collect the remnants of an ordinary life. We wake up, have a light breakfast, reach our destinations and swim in seas of things that seem to matter at that specific earthly moment.

We could have been other people, somewhere else where those moments linger to fill up a day, make up a memory or create a being. But here, we have to shake ourselves up and remember the existence of checkpoints, soldiers and indefinite waiting.

Waiting, waiting to cross a checkpoint, get a permit, lift up the curfew, end the occupation, waiting to reach home, inside home.

The harder we try, the more numb we get, most things stop mattering, the way we see ourselves, the way the rest of the world sees us, the way we make our tea and coffee, even our eggs, we stop being recognized, our faces blur entirely, we even start looking alike, even when our colors differ, that sad look blends with our original features and erases what could have made us different.

And then as we are sitting somewhere, we read a story, watch a child run around or listen to a song and just like Palestine we manage to remove the dust gathered over our thoughts and stand up to face the waiting.

Faces start to clear up and we could finally remember ourselves through other peopleís eyes, smiles begin to break the heavy silence and the aroma of death, the greenness of land begins to unravel, our feet loosen up and we feel like we could walk again, feel the sensations we forgot about again.

We grab our senses and push ourselves out of that unsafe refuge, then fumble and stumble towards humanity that awaits past checkpoints, hatred and bullets.

Tala A. Rahmeh is a student at Birzeit University in Ramallah, Palestine. Her major at Birzeit is English Literature. Her work has been published at , and .

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