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To the soul of my father

December 13th, 2009

Najwa Sheikh Ahmed

At the age of 80 my father passed away, after a long journey of suffering, and working hard to obtain us, his children decent life, a life that is better than his own. As many refugees my fathers’ life was not normal nor easy, he had to work harder than any body to change a reality that he has nothing to do with it, the reality of losing the home, the land, the reality of being a refugee, an adjective that stolen all his rights as a human being, the rights of having a home, and living in dignity and respect.

When my father passed away I felt so sad, overwhelmed with anger and pain that a person can hold, not only for loosing my father, but mainly because he passed away without fulfilling his main dream of seeing his homeland again for the last time. A wish that he was looking forward it, a year after a year, without any feeling of desperation or tireless.

In his last days, my father lost his interest in anything, even in seeing us, his sons, his daughters, his grandsons whom he adored very much, he was so weak that he could not speak, or may be he did not want to try, to struggle any more because he discovered how much words became worthless when you realize that life is so short. He was at the hospital for almost a week in an attempt to find a medical solution to help him, at that time and in one of his illusionary moments, to recall and to live the past my father spoke loudly, not about his children, or his wife, not about his grandchildren or house, but about the time when he was a young man working as a weaver to save money for his family, he was moving his weak hands as if he is weaving, and was talking about every thing that he remembered since that time. He even imagined that he is collecting the woven fabrics to go and sell it, and as he was trying to leave his bed he felt on the ground and hurt his head, he was unconscious of the blood coming from the wound on his head, and was screaming when we tried to hold him and get him back to the bed, all what he wanted is to go and sell the woven fabrics, to live in the past for the last time.

I was listening to my sister telling me this and was crying, because I understand how much my father was missing his life when he was home, when he was at Al majdal, where he really belonged. I realized that the good life that my father lived in the camp where he settled after he fled from his homeland did not mean anything to him, and that he preferred the life where he was working from the early hours of the morning to the sunset for some Pennys on his current life. And that all the harshness, poverty, and hard work were the key words of enjoying and tasting the real life.

Though my father died at the age of 80, spending most of his life waiting, hoping, and praying that peace could be achieved so he could go and visit his homeland and find the rest he was looking for, however, his ultimate wish was not archived, and he died as a refugee. Buried in a place that is not his, where he never belonged.

I wonder how many others like my father from the first generation are buried the same way with the word refugee on their death certificate as well as in their birth certificate, and how many others are waiting to face the same end, of being implanted away from their origins.

Isn’t enough for this generation to suffer the fleeing journey, the harshness of the life, being homeless and ignored, isn’t time for the world to move, to stand and stop this unfair destiny of the Palestinian refugees? And to give peace a chance so the souls of our parents and grandparents could rest? Or it is our destiny as refugees to suffer in our lives and in our death?


Najwa Sheikh Ahmed, Nusierat Camp, Gaza Strip. Najwa Sheikh's blog: http://www.najwa.tk/

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