My name is Basma, and I’m a 22-year-old woman from Palestine. Maybe your country is a place you make up in your own mind, something you dream about and sing about. Maybe it’s not a place on the map at all, but just a story full of people you meet and places you visit, full of books and films you’ve seen. I’m not afraid of being homesick and having no language to live in. I don’t have to be like anyone else. I’m walking on the wall, and nobody can stop me.
Let me tell you a story, woman to woman, about my country.
If we all really saw war, and what war does to young minds and bodies, it would be impossible to embrace the myth of war. If we had to stand over the distorted dead bodies of schoolchildren killed in my country, “Palestine,” and listen to the laments of their parents and relatives, we, as women, would not be able to repeat clichés we use to justify war. This is why war is carefully sanitized. This is why we are told about war’s perverse and dark thrill but are spared from seeing war’s consequences. The mythic visions of war keep it heroic and entertaining. But, wars kill the beautiful memories inside us. I have lived through three wars and luckily I survived. I believe what helped me miraculously survive is the tears in my dad`s eyes, the prayers of my mom, and the strength and anger I felt when I saw our demolished house. The image of that devastation and the memories of the dear people who died in the last Israeli aggression on Gaza are the most horrible experiences of my young life.
Despite everything, we still have hope of fighting and striving for justice for our country, and ourselves because we want to live in peace. Wars are not the end of the road, but war makes you more rational, knowing life is fraught with difficulties. If you give up, you will completely collapse. I strive every day to create a better future for my family and me. Females here face a lot of troubles during our daily life, but we believe that we are born as free people. Without the support from our parents we wouldn’t be able to function in our societies.
Therefore, I ask all women around the world to be themselves and not be subject to the decisions of their communities; stand and fight for your rights like women in Palestine.
We are strong, each in our purpose, and we are all stronger together.
Age 22, Palestine