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.