Gaza, my city

The other day, Yousuf came home from kindergarten with a small project. He was given a paper to fill out to help him learn his address. It listed several categories: Street, City, State, Zipcode and so on. He yanked it out of his backpack to show me enthusiastically. He had it filled out to the best of his ability (the teacher provided the correct address for them to copy). I tried to make out his elementary phonics-based handwriting and be encouraging all the while. I noticed though under “city” he had written something that did not exactly read like Columbia.

“Gosa?” I asked.
“It says Gaza” he said matter-of-factly.
“Oh-I see. But that’s not your physical address, you live in Columbia, Maryland” I instructed him.
“Mama, you don’t get it, that IS my address, its my my hometown, even if I live here, that is my real address!” he insisted.
“But its not even in the United States” I replied.
“So what. Its my city!” he answered.

Ok, obviously this was a losing battle. Forget about explaining geography and the limits of physical boundaries to a 5 year old. What does it matter in his mind anyway? His “city” is Gaza; he is IN Gaza, even though he is physically present in the United States.

That’s Yousuf for you. Even though he only spent a short part of his young life there (his first 2-3 years) Gaza has taken a big part of his heart and he never forgets it. I think in some way, that is how we all feel. No matter how far away we are, no matter how young or old, no matter where we are born and where we end up living, Gaza is in our hearts and is always our city. It casts a spell on you.

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9 Comments

  1. Very touching

  2. All I can say is “wow”. It gives me the chills

  3. I agree with Jamelle … Gaza is in his blood and bones, in his very soul! FANTASTIC!!

  4. Well done Yousuf! Like me you LOVE the place of your birth and I think that will always be where you think is your true home where your heart is. One day soon Palestine WILL be free. There are MILLIONS of people across the planet working hard to win equality and freedom for Palestine.

    Salaam from England

    Adam

    P.S. To anyone reading this: Please remember we must all BOYCOTT ALL Israeli goods until Israel give back to Palestine what they STOLE – their LAND, their FREEDOM, their WATER, their HEALTH, their MENTAL HEALTH, their freedom from PAIN, their freedom from GRIEF & LOSS & DESPAIR – the people they killed can never be returned in this life, but one day ALL Palestinian families WILL be reunited on this earth and also in Paradise.

  5. Actually, the ironic thing is, he was born in Boston! But we went to Gaza 2 months after his birth. I guess that is the point- not necessarily where you were born, but where your heart and blood is

  6. as sheikh imam said
    قالت بلهجة عرب, غزة في قلب العرب :)

  7. wow .. law ana mahallik my eyes definitely wouldve welled up

  8. oh iam soooo impressed by this little ones loyalty to his homeland may it remain in his heart forever im so glad that i have come across your blog and insha allah i can read more about your people .im by the way from south africa and the palestinian issue is always important for me soo i say to you that i admire you and your people and may you one day be reunited with the soil of your land and alaqsa as your son has intented by such brave conviction of a child. jazakallah

  9. people have the homeland they live … but the Palestinian people living in the homeland of their income in their hearts..

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