Where are you from?

The question “Where are you from?” to Palestinians is an odd one. Sometimes it marks the beginning of the happiest part of our day – an opportunity to share a little about who we are, what we live for, and how different we are from what is written about is in the paper. Other times, it reminds us of how much work there is to do. You can be Jamaican, Thai, Venezuelan, Irish, Congolese, or Israeli and expect to have an enriching conversation with coworkers, new friends, and even interviewers. We Palestinians, however, run the risk of isolating ourselves, of closing doors and casting ourselves aside. We are asked and expected to condemn Palestinian leadership, to set aside decades of history and to conform to popular orientalist beliefs, to pledge our allegiance to the American flag once more. We are encouraged to “be from somewhere – anywhere – else” if we want that job or that law school acceptance or that recommendation letter.

We are better liked silent, so it is up to us to change that. Excel at what you do, don’t let the intimidation ever compromise your rationality, be proud of who you are, and represent your people well, because one day, our daughters and our sons will be asked where they are from.

“I am Palestinian. My family is from Palestine. I’d love to tell you how beautiful our land is, how strong our people are, and how rich our culture is.”

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There are 4 comments

  1. Ruba

    I am a proud Palestinian. But honestly, I believe it’s for my best interest to shut my mouth close and change the subject right away if someone asked me that question.
    It is sad not to be able to admit the truth about who one is. And we aren’t talking about any country; it Palestine for God’s sake.
    It will kill and burn for a while to keep it to ourselves, but leading to hide the truth should teach us to be more patient and more in control.
    GOD BLESS PALESTINE🙏🏻

  2. judeledawieh

    Beautifully expressed! I can simply relate to this for being a Palestinian as well. I understand that in order to approach you must fight, to express your words you have to shout. Ous silence is not and, will not accomplish. To some extent thete are people don’t know we exit, don’t know about Palestine with its goods and bads; the suffering of the oppression as well as the beautiful culture, tradition and people. I once was asked by foreigner as I was travelling where I was from. I said Palestine, and he replied you mean pakistan? Honestly it was frustrating! Our land itself speaks plenty, it simply needs a bit of support of us Palestinian to speak out and break the silence. We have much to say, express and show. Our land and culture are beautiful and rich as you said.

    1. Roba

      Yes. Palestine sounds a lot like “Pakistan” to ignorants! We have to live with such mentality until Allah frees Palestine inshaallah.

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