By Cilian Egle
I came to Palestine with many questions because I knew this country was suffering from the Israeli occupation, but my main questions were: how can Palestinians succeed in maintaining their culture and their way of life? Is there common ground between the Palestinian youth and the Western youth?
During the exchange I taught public speaking to Palestinian students, and it was incredible to see their willingness to bring their opinion about the world. They know, for example, that in western countries people have many stereotypes about Palestine and Islam. Through this programme, it was very interesting for me to listen to their convictions. In addition, they are committed to discovering new cultures and this is a beautiful desire!
I really enjoyed discovering the incredible landscapes in Palestine, especially when we spent a night in the desert with the Bedouins. It was an exceptional experience to admire the sunrise at the Dead Sea. Besides, Jerusalem is probably the most beautiful city I have seen in my life. I particularly appreciated the peaceful place of Al-Aqsa Mosque. In addition, the opportunity to visit refugee camps, Hebron and the Apartheid Wall in Bethlehem was very instructive. We cannot accept the situation; all of the volunteers will speak out against it in our countries in order to defend the human rights of Palestinians!
I discovered how Palestinian culture is the most powerful weapon against Zionism. I like to believe that the next Intifada will be social and cultural!
In Palestine, food is shared and served on plates on the table: it fosters a spirit of conviviality and togetherness. Then, Palestinians like to share their traditional music and to invite you to dance with them! Their spirit of sharing is definitely a life lesson.
To conclude, I am very proud to have been part of the Zajel programme and to discover this beautiful country. I will invite my friends to come here. This trip was probably one of the most enriching experiences of my life: I have learned so many things here! Finally, I hope my Palestinian brothers and sisters will come to France to help them discover my country and my culture!