March 31, 2013
Aspiring writer-editor. // In search of peace, love, and happiness.
I ain't lost, just wandering.
It is not how much we do in life that shapes our experiences, but what we do, and the change that transpires from it that matters most. At a very young age I learnt to accept and appreciate life as it came, unconditionally. I never expected special things for myself, nor have I ever asked for them. Yet I seem to have accomplished far more than I could have ever wished for and in return received the greatest gifts of life.
I was born in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, as the youngest of four sisters. At the time of my birth, the United Arab Emirates was only beginning to make its appearance internationally, which eventually skyrocketed after it hit an economic boom due to the discovery of oil. It became home to my family, a concept unknown to them after being expelled from their homes in Palestine at a very young age, where they would eventually be treated as an ‘other’ in Lebanon. We later immigrated as a family to Canada, where I have been raised for the majority of my life. I am proud to have a place to call home, a place where I can feel as an equal, and a place that has provided me with a variety of opportunities.
Although I have never directly been affected by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it has completely defined where I am living today and why I am living here. I am of Palestinian ethnicity, but I have never touched Palestinian soil, I have never seen a land that respectfully defines so much of who my parents are, or their parents more-so. Yet, it is still a part of me, and a great part of every decision I take in life to fight for human dignity, respect, peace, and justice that needs to be achieved worldwide.
In 2010, I was given the chance to speak publicly about the reality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as Middle Eastern politics and aspirations for a Palestinian homeland. Although I was nervous to be presenting in front of a completely Jewish audience, I persevered due to my eagerness to make a difference in the advancement of peace and human rights. It took much bravery to speak so formally and directly towards them, but I kept reminding myself of my goals and what I stand for.
Soon after, I learnt of the Alternative Spring Break program at Concordia University that offers service learning experiences in various locations. My first choice was Peru, and I was lucky enough to get chosen to go. Peru must be one of the most naturally beautiful countries I have ever seen. The Peruvian people were so welcoming, they seemed genuinely happy and grateful, which made it that much more of a pleasure, both spiritually and emotionally, to be at their service when and where needed. It was clear from the second we landed that although these people may face poverty to extremes I could never imagine, these are people who suffer less than we do because they are content with what they have. We may have helped out and lent an extra hand, but the changes they brought to our lives, let alone mine, will last forever. If there is anything I learnt throughout my trip to Peru, it is humbleness, adapting to cultural differences, finding peace and love within myself, doing something completely selfless, and detaching myself from the mainstream lives we can get so involved in.
When I consider the significance of my past, the beauty of my present, and the life changing goals I can only hope to achieve in the future, a recurring theme that highlights my life thus far is passion. My passion for the diversity of life and all the good it entails is what drives my soul and motivation because all we, as a human race, can hold on to is humanity. Without humanity, all will be lost.
If I can manage to provoke a thought or spark some hope and emotion in the lights of human dignity and justice, then I will have fulfilled a great accomplishment that gives my life purpose and satisfaction.