Friday, 15 October 2010

Swimming against the tide of oppression

The news is that we board ship on Sunday 17th in the morning. It will be strange to be moving out of the little hovel we have come to call home which I share with 5 other girls in the Palestinian Refugee Camp. It is almost 'our' village now. We brew tea outside under the tiled canopy which runs the length of the compound, sit and chat with our fellow convoy members and take the bus into Lattakia when we need to. We know the drivers, the neighbours and many of the refugees, whose older generations regularly bless our voyage and cry pitiful tears as they recall their homes, their families, their houses and belongings which they thought they would return to in a matter of days. That was 1948. They thought the international community would not tolerate their plight and would rally to restore their rights. Instead they live as prisoners in exile. No right to travel, no right to see their loved ones who stayed behind, no right to vote, no right to that which is theirs - their homes and land.

These are good, polite people, still bewildered that their needs and rights have been forgotten - worse, deliberately ignored. They have brought children into this world, and their children have married and brought them grandchildren and still all the generations of Palestinians still have no freedom, no vote, and cannot go home. They daily provide us with beautiful home made food, ply us with cake and biscuits, tea and wonderful arabic coffee then wave us goodbye as we go on our way to their rightful home which lives only in the mind as a distant memory.

The Palestinian people only ask to live an ordinary life. We bring the hope that they have not quite been forgotten. We on the convoy are their only hope. We few. We unworthy few swimming against the tide of repression and daily trying to persuade our own governments and media to tell the truth about what has happened, for they know the truth but will not tell it.

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