12 November 2009

Between two Worlds

Born to a Palestinian father and a Slovak mother, the word land has different meanings for me. I was born in former Czechoslovakia, and at the age of eight, immigrated with my parents to my father’s homeland in Haifa, Israel. My connection to Czechoslovakia was lost, as it never had time to set deep roots. For years after coming to Haifa, I couldn’t connect to the new place. There was a world of difference between the East European town I grew up in and this Middle Eastern world with its amalgamation of sensual textures, colors and tastes, intermingling with a vibrant mix of cultures and an edgy political atmosphere.

As a Palestinian, I’m a second-class citizen of Israel. The state is by definition the state of the Jewish people, which on the most superficial level means I can’t relate to any of the state symbols. I am continuously marginalized – politically, socially, culturally, economically. In my homeland, I have to cope with racism on a daily basis: people who don’t want Palestinians in “their” Jewish state, and a government that wants to delete the Arabic names of cities from signs. All this leaves me with a desolate feeling that there will never be a place I can call home. There's a feeling they want to delete me and my history.

My identity will always be intrinsically connected to land. Being an immigrant, I long for a place to call home. Being a Palestinian, I have no such home at the moment.


  1. Khulud: You have saind that your identity will be intrinsically connected to the land. But which land does that refer to - the land of your birth or the land of your growing up. The idea of home is very integral to one's being but I think an individual has more than one home. Home is a place where one feels secure, comfortable and happy. The middle-east does not offer that to you. Do you think if you go back to Czechoslovakia, you will be at peace? Can you call that your home?

    I guess this is the greatest 'gift' of the post-modern times -- Dualism. The 'gift' is sarcastic!! Does the dualism stop when we stop thinking about it. 'Home' is the most crucial issue and without realising that many are quite caught up in several entanglements.

    Sorry about that long comment. But I would definitely like to know your views on the questions I have raised.

  2. Susan, thanks for this elaborate comment. Actually, this post was originally longer, but I had to cut it to 250 words because I submitted it to "World Pulse". Anyway, no Slovakia is no longer a home for me. Along with my feminist political awakening came a deep sense of belonging to this land and to the Palestinian people.
    And of course it's ironic - this dualism, because on the one hand we want to get rid of this belonging, but on the other hand, it is something that is so deeply rooted in us and we still feel this need for a place to call home and a little piece of land we can cal our own.

    p.s. sorry I haven't been following your blog lately - I'm now in Bangkok, on my way to Kathmandu, Nepal for a 2-week intensive training on violations of women's human rights, and so I've been very busy with the preparations for it. But I will visit your blogs soon, I promise.
    hugs, khulud

  3. I wish you could come to India - Chennai. It would be lovely to meet you!

    Joy and passion to you wherever you are and whatever you are doing.



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