My name is Sulaf, and I am a 19-year-old girl. I was born and raised in the Gaza Strip, which is about 60 kilometers from the village of Hatta from which my grandparents were forced out and became refugees.
I see the world in colors and love people regardless of their faith, color, sexual orientation or political views. My biggest dream is to see the people of the world living in peace and harmony.
During my 19 years on this planet I have lived through three wars. I live under the constant treat of another one. It is exhausting! What makes me sad is to see my city turned into a big prison. My family and I are not allowed to travel outside of the Gaza Strip for any reason including medical treatment or higher education. I was accepted to the pre-medical school in Cairo but due to the siege on my city I could not travel and pursue my dream of becoming a doctor. I have always wanted to be a pediatrician and help the poor children of my city.
I have a dream of waking up one day to a free Palestine. A free Palestine in which I can travel to other cities and enjoy the mountains in the north on a hot summer day or travel to my holy city of Jerusalem and pray for world peace.
When I close my eyes, I dream of a day and a world where everyone reaches out to help others without having any ulterior motives. I dream of a place that has no wars, no killing, no bombing and definitely no suffering. But when I open my eyes I just see wars, smoke, darkness, poverty and ignorance everywhere.
Instead of losing hope I have decided to dedicate my life to improve the lives of my people. Therefore, I have always been active in my community doing community service since I was young. I have defied all the restrictions imposed by traditional social customs that would limit women’s growth and success. Women have to understand they can influence the world positively and their job is not only to raise kids and do housework. As women, we must take on the responsibility of changing our present way of living and thinking and be part of the changes we want to see in this world.
Dear men, what if we stopped fighting to belong and realized that we already belong? What if we acknowledged, in each interaction with ourselves and with others, the eternal, beautiful, interconnected energy that flows between us? What if we recognized our equality and celebrated our differences? Imagine how the world could be.
We need more peace, to stay in harmony with our brethren. We need more understanding to tackle our misunderstandings. We need more justice and less injustice. We need more peacemakers and fewer revolutionaries. Peace will come about in the world from the perfection of individuals. If you have peace, I have peace, he has peace, and she has peace. Then and just then, a world peace would become a reality.
Don’t wait for a better world. Start now to create a world of harmony and peace.
Age 19, Gaza