Need to go somewhere in Palestine? Here’s how

Guest contribution by Deena Kishawi

Need to go somewhere?
Here’s how.

Walk into the street, about a third of the way in,
Put your arm out.
Within moments, taxis will swarm around you,
Honking to you.
The window is down so you tell the driver where you need to go.
Sheikh Ridwaan.
He tells you he’s going in the opposite direction.
You say thank you and exchange a final salaam.

You repeat the process.
This time, the taxi is going in your direction.
You get in, squish yourself next to the lady with a little boy sitting on her lap.
You take out a shekel and tell the driver “Itfadal
He extends his hand.

“Enjoy the ride” he says.

You have a long ride to Sheikh Ridwaan.
You open the window a bit to let the Gaza breeze in.
The smell of the beach,
The sand,
The charcoal and burning wood from the grilled corn on the side of the road,
The smoke from the driver’s cigarette,
All penetrate the cab’s cabin.

The taxi slows down and the man sitting in the passenger seat steps out.
You and everyone in the car sends blessings his way as he leaves.
The taxi drives off,
But one block later, it slows down once more,
This time picking up another passenger.
The passenger hands the driver a shekel and says “Sheikh Ridwaan”.

“Enjoy the ride” he says.

You see your destination in the distance.
You inch up in your seat,
Point your finger out the windshield,
And tell the driver to drop you off there. Right there.

He pulls to the curb and you thank him again.
The driver and the passengers share their salaam and you hear an “Allah ma’aak” as you walk out.
You’ve reached your destination.

So next time you need to go somewhere, here’s how.

Deena Kishawi

Deena Kishawi is a high school senior who devotes her time to raising awareness about the occupation of Palestine and the use of Islamophobia as a intimidation strategy in mainstream media. Her family is from Gaza City.

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