By Seham Shahin, Victoria, Australia | Wednesday, July 18th, 2018
FAREWELL They say all good things come to an end, however we beg to disagree. The best things in life led us to new beginnings. Eleven days is all it took to change our lives forever. We all grew up as Palestinians lost in diaspora. Searching for our identity while being shaped by our lives abroad. We’d sit and listen to stories from our parents about our homeland. But still searched for the missing pieces of the puzzle that forms our identity. We set off for what would be the best journey of our lives. We found each other; Palestinian youth from Canada, America, Colombia, Nicaragua, Australia & Denmark and formed lifelong friendships. Our hearts were captured by the locals from the very first moment we arrived, when the whole town was present to welcome us. We were home. The Palestine we once knew through biased articles and the edited sound bites of the media no longer existed. We will never forget the smell of freshly baked Jerusalem Ka’ak, the Knafe in Nablus and the Falafel of Bethlehem. We will never forget the man who longs for his olive trees, the annexation wall that separates the land and people, the child selling soap in the sweltering sun and the children of the refugee camps who love high fives. We will never forget the richness of the culture, from women who create handmade dresses decorated with intricate tatreez to youth who dance Dabke. We will never forget the peaceful protesters who are criminalized, the students who were imprisoned for no reason and the books which were denied entry. We will never forget the climate that is warmed by the passion of people. We challenge David Ben-Gurion’s (founder of Israel) statement that: “We must do everything to ensure they [the Palestinians] never do return … The old will die and the young will forget,”. The Palestinian people are displaced all across the globe. Yet even the roots of displaced olive trees find their way home. We left our hearts in Palestine. And home is where the heart is at. We will return and we will never ever forget.
With love from the 2018 KTH delegates.