Reflecting on my time spent in Palestine with the Zajel Program is almost impossible. Not because the itinerary wasn’t full (it was, and then some more) and not because the people I met were not memorable (there are faces, names, students, volunteers and moments I’ll never forget) but because the experiences of one day affected the conclusions I had made the day before.
Some things, like the standard of facilities and the level of multi-language skills at An-Najah will make my university colleagues very jealous. Other things, like leaving behind a group of friends at a check-point because Israeli ‘security’ decided no Palestinians enter that day make me wonder how the Earth can still turn on its axis.
It’s difficult to write about something when your understanding of it changes so regularly. It’s even more difficult when experiences no longer exist in the abstract. “The Palestinian Struggle” is not some ideological/political/cultural/religious conflict happening thousands of miles away. It is my friend Jehad not being able to travel to the UK to become an even better dentist or to see the places I am desperate to show him. It is my friend Naser looking after his parents, studying for his degree, and leading two international exchange camps at the same time all so his fellow students know there is life outside the apartheid they live in.