About a month ago I returned home from a trip. I left as K, the ordinary me but it was not that K who came back. It was a different one. Or at least a changed one.
I spent a week in Beit Jala, Palestine. A country which many people does not acknowledge as a real country. A country which is largely occupied by another. A country which is not free.
There I met a lot of new people. Youths. Men and women who are full of dreams, just like me. Men and women who are limited. Men and women who are not free.
They cannot leave their country whenever they want to. They need special permits to enter places that once was their own.
I cannot begin to describe the state of the situation in which a Palestinian lives. It is unbearable even to think about. But through the humiliation of having to remove ones’ clothes in a checkpoint something survives. A smile. My friend Elias said: “We’re still smiling”.
Hope. It is a curious thing. It seems to come and go through societies. For the Palestinians it has left some and for some it has never once been questioned.
I cannot do my expirience in Palestine justice. Words are not enough. But what want to urge is that everything you see on TV is only one picture. And it is a generally false one. Because the Palestine I saw was not a demolished one. I saw no stones being tossed at military carrying heavy automatic weapons. I met no terrorists, only people. Youths that were just like me.
My stay in Palestine was amazing and never once frightening. It changed me. The way I look at the conflict and the way I look at myself and others. After all we are just people, all of us.