Palestinian parents are different, sure. I think we use the word ‘unique’ now. But for some odd and unexplainable reason, they all tell identical stories about their lives back home to make us Palestinian children feel guilty about our apparently luxurious lives here. Many of us have grown increasingly suspicious about the nature of this story, but until we can formally figure out how they are all able to recite the same story, here it is in full:
“Ya baba (or ya mama, depending on which parent is telling the story), when I was your age I used to walk over mountains. I never had the privileges you and your friends have. You wish it doesn’t take you an hour to get to school? Consider yourself lucky. Back in my day I used to walk three miles up a hill, barefoot, over Israeli tanks and broken glass, just to get to school. I would have to wake up before fajr. And when school finished, I would walk another three miles up the same hill, barefoot still, over more tanks and glass. Dinner was a single zaytoona and I would always save the pit so I could play glool with the neighbors. When it was time to do homework, I lit the candle and shared a desk with my fifteen brothers, sisters, and cousins. I also had just one notebook throughout all my years in school. At the start of each year, I would erase all of the pages and use them again. Sometimes I didn’t even have an eraser because it fell down the hill I climbed to school or back home. You have too many luxuries.”
Mind you, this story is typically shared once the parent sits on the fancy sofa his or her children are not allowed to sit on.