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An Old Friend

Everyone has a talent. Some people discover theirs early, while others talents remain hidden only to be found after much searching. I was lucky to discover mine early on.

When I was 11 years old, my friend and I wrote poems. We even wrote a short story complete with stick people
drawings!! I have saved it with my important papers.

For years I constantly wrote, but then there came a time when university, marriage, a baby, and a major move occupied me, and I stopped writing.

The move from the States to Israel was unanticipated and not something that I wanted, but isn’t it usually the woman who makes the sacrifice?

I am a Palestinian American and my husband is also Palestinian. I should have been eager to move back to the land of my forefathers, and seen it as an adventure. But I didn’t. I wanted my husband to hate it as much as I did. No such luck!!

With no goals, I didn’t understand what I was doing here, what was my place here.

And then I started writing again. I found a magazine written for children in simple English. Connected to a top Israeli newspaper, it was geared to Jewish kids, and had no coverage of Arabs in Israel or the West Bank.

It is rare that Israeli Jewish children and Arab children associate, and they know very little about each other aside from negative stories they hear on the news. Through my stories about Palestinian singers, Muslim holidays, Palestinian folktales, and light politics, I gave the Jewish children a glimpse into the lives of the Arabs.

Then luck found me! I started to write for the newspaper’s Friday edition. My first article, a story, about domestic violence, was a cover story!!

Writing is more than just turning out article after article. It has helped me to understand myself as a Palestinian, a Muslim, and as a woman.

People, Jewish and Arab, have often reminded me that I am in a unique position in Israel. I am a Palestinian American woman who speaks English living in an Arab town in Israel – and I am a writer. Many have told me to take advantage of my new-found political, social and cultural knowledge, - and spread it.

I have written about many inspiring Jewish and Arab women (and many other subjects). I believe everyone has a gift to offer. We have to look beyond the negative and find the positive in each other. I really believe that peace in this region will begin with the women. I try to create a platform of understanding through my writing.

I found World Pulse in an online search for writing opportunities. I liked the idea of a site, a place where women all over the world can express themselves. It is inspiring.

Writing has been like an old friend offering support in times of trouble. As I write my thoughts, I am able to smile or cry. I hope that through the stories that I post, World Pulse readers will gain the insight and understanding that I am trying to pass on.


mirette's picture

A beautiful story

Salam Noreen,

I love your story and how you made use of your skills and passion in bridging the gap between two communities that are often times hostile to each other. I love the fact that your write children's stories because this is a critical time in a human's life where values are being shaped. I hope there are more women like you in both Palestine and Israel who can become the light bearers and peacemakers in their communities, enough with violence and hostility.

lll the best,

noreens's picture

Hi Mirette, Thanks! I think

Hi Mirette,

Thanks! I think in our area it's so hard to get across to some people or make an indent in their opinions. There are so many prejudices and stereotypes, and it's not easy to break the barriers. However there are some really good people from both sides who are trying. It needs a lot of time......

All the best to you too!

Adepeju's picture

Dear Noreens

" I believe everyone has a gift to offer. We have to look beyond the negative and find the positive in each other.'' Thank you so much for this.

noreens's picture

Thank you Adepeju!! Noreen

Thank you Adepeju!!


Maddy M.'s picture

It's beautiful what you're

It's beautiful what you're doing through your writing: bridging people and building understanding. I send you my best wishes of PEACE

noreens's picture

Thanks Maddy! If everyone

Thanks Maddy! If everyone tries to do just a bit in their own way, good things can happen. But the reality is different, and the situation is not easy. I wonder what the future holds ............


Nusrat Ara's picture

Glad you have started writing

Glad you have started writing again. Keep sharing.



noreens's picture

Thank you Nusrat! I am glad

Thank you Nusrat! I am glad to be back!

Susan Studebaker's picture

Susan Studebaker

I really enjoyed your essay.... it is positive, despite the difficult issues you write about, and is clear and concise. Your passion is revealed through your writing. I anticipate-- and look forward to-- more of your articles! Susan,.


noreens's picture

Thanks Susan! I appreciate

Thanks Susan! I appreciate your comment - glad you liked it!


Kaleidoscope Girl's picture

Insight and Integration.

Dearest Noreens,

Most people choose to look upon the more challenging chapters of their journeys with very little positivity or possibility. I really admire how you CHOSE to embrace the forks in your road and CREATE something with your GIFTS.

May you continue voicing your voice with much heart, poetry and lots of stick people ; )

Best wishes to you,

Kaleidoscope Girl.

"Write your life so others may be ILLUMINATED."

noreens's picture

Hi Kaleidoscope Girl (nice

Hi Kaleidoscope Girl (nice name!),

Thanks for your sweet comment! I love to write and I consider myself lucky that I have been given the opportunity to write about the issues closest to my heart. I just hope that through my writing, I have been able to create a bit of understanding.


desertmuse's picture

There's a book in here!

I was amazed by your process to educate children and I think those articles could become a powerful learning tool as book. As you said: "It is rare that Israeli Jewish children and Arab children associate, and they know very little about each other aside from negative stories they hear on the news. Through my stories about Palestinian singers, Muslim holidays, Palestinian folktales, and light politics, I gave the Jewish children a glimpse into the lives of the Arabs."
We could all use those insights. Maybe you can connect through Pulsewire to a publisher. I would love to see this book in print. Thank you for stretching yourself again through VOF!


noreens's picture

Hi Yvonne, What a

Hi Yvonne,
What a coincidence!! About 3 years ago I met a girl who came to the West Bank with a Christian group to volunteer her time. We met in a restaurant, talked for about 15 minutes and have stayed in touch by email. Just this morning I was telling her that I have been toying with the idea of a book or blog. A book is more limiting, however maybe I can do both. There are so many directions in which it can go so I need to give it more thought. But I think that it is something that I will do. Thank you for reading my article. Without knowing it, you gave me the encouragement to pursue my idea!

All the best to you!

desertmuse's picture

About that book...

I know that blogs are more immediately available; however, readers quickly move on to the next and the next and the next piece. With a book---which doesn't have to be a novel, just your collection of stories and sharings and the reactions from the readers---is a permanent collection to be used in schools, libraries, community centers, synagogues, churches. It has a permanence that is not possible with blogs. Look over the stores you wrote at that time and see how you feel about them. The ones that still stir you or make yousmile or that you knew were well loved or interesting to the readers, those are the ones to pull out right now. Others may come to mind later to fill out the book. We need good teaching and sharing tools from those who know their culture and life from the inside out. Too many people THINK they know about the situation in Palestine or Israel or how it is to be a woman married to a Palestinian. We need learn from those living those lives. It will help us connect our humanities. I vote for a book proposal and you can then use the blog to promote it. Good luck!


noreens's picture

You made some good points.

You made some good points. I'll give it some thought, If it's a book, the first copy is your!!! You are right - many people think they understand the situation here and are so quick to make judgments. I think the best person to tell the story IS a Palestinian!

Thanks again!

desertmuse's picture

My copy

Must have your autograph in side! : )


noreens's picture

hahah - sure!!

hahah - sure!!

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