[Imc-beirut] EI: How can you send love with a missile?
christoff at resist.ca
Sun Aug 6 16:55:46 PDT 2006
EI: How can you send love with a missile?
Ussama Abu el-Sheikh writing from Shatila refugee camp,
Beirut, Electronic Lebanon, 6 August 2006
My name is Usama Abu el-Sheikh, and I am from Tabaria, Palestine. I am of
course a refugee and have never been to my hometown in Palestine though I
learned about it from my grandparents and I read some books about it. I
have never been to Tabaria, but I am Tabarian, and will remain so, as I am
from Shatila too and will remain so. Although I always dreamt of
corresponding with my country and my hometown to see if I still have
relatives there, I was unable to because there is no mail between Lebanon
and the State of Israel. Ironically, only the missiles of Hizbullah can be
sent to Israel. We are not allowed to return, but the missiles go where we
cannot. But how can you send love to Tabaria with a missile?
I am nineteen now, and I grew up in Shatila camp. As a child I wanted to
be many things, sometimes a doctor, other times an engineer or a
journalist. As a child, you know, I could dream whatever I wanted to and I
wanted to be many things. As I was growing up though, my dreams started to
be hit by my reality, by my being a refugee in Lebanon where we have no
civil rights. Being the oldest son of a widowed mother with seven children
and no one to care for after the death of my dad when I was just seven
years old, I lived a real struggle inside. My father's words as he was on
his death bed asking me to "care for the family" are words that keep
echoing in my head. I got to be the "man of the household" without
choosing it, without knowing it. As a child, it was ok, but as I was
getting to be a teenager, I wanted always to fulfill this responsibility,
always. I was not able to stand the fact that I'm not fulfilling my
responsibility as the head of the household. My mum, like all Palestinian
mothers, wanted me to get my education. For her it was the way to help the
family out, because the identity "educated" is kind of a compensation of
our lost identity as Palestinians -- not lost in terms of our own feelings
but in terms of how the world deals with us. It was hard to focus though,
especially because I couldn't see a future. How could I be a doctor in a
country where we have no rights? So I left school, and now I work in a
telephone calling shop in the camp.
Maybe you are wondering why I am writing to you about my personal life at
a time of war. I just wanted to express that this war reinforced my ideas
that what we need is a collective solution for everyone, not individual
solutions such as are offered here and there. Just as being "educated"
will not replace my loss of identity, a solution for Palestine, separate
from Lebanon or Syria or Iraq is not going to be possible. I sit in the
camp and think about how much effort is put to separate us all from each
other. And now we have the F-16s over our heads joining us together all in
one camp. I do not mean Shatila camp, but a much bigger camp for all those
whose lives are cheap in this world, the camp of those who die like bugs,
the camp for those on whom they test their weapons. As proud as I am of
Lebanon's resistance, I do not think I will be returning to Palestine
soon. I will keep sending my love to my hometown in Palestine. I know that
the world never hears our cries. But they do hear the roar of the
missiles. Can you send love on a missile?
With love from Shatila.
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