Life Story by S. from Gaza, Palestine

In 2012 I traveled to Egypt with my brother and stayed in Moqtam. When I was there I learnt a new principle in life: First of all, I learnt how to deal with people from different backgrounds. For example, I made friendships with Christian girls. I loved all of them, I learnt how I could listen to their life views and learnt the real meaning of different cultures and how to respect them.

A new principle entered my mind: that all humans have good things in their mind or heart, we just need to listen, understand and learn not to judge people because of environmental or cultural differences. After I came back to Gaza, I put my mind to applying for a masters scholarship. I applied for a scholarship in Malaysia and I got one at the Islamic university there, so I started to prepare myself for it. Suddenly my father changed his opinion. He said he was not comfortable with me going so I accepted his view with an open mind. What shocked me is that I accepted his view comfortably. All my family members said it’s not like me to accept this. After, I said maybe my god did the best for me. Day after day my speech became reality when I met Mahmoud. I will write who Mahmoud is and how I met him. I was in a long day of training in Catholic relief services and he was there. We were working with each other in training.

After training ended I couldn’t see him again but Allah wanted me to see him. I saw him in youth conferences at the Roots hotel in Gaza. When I met him I felt like something happened to me. I don’t know what exactly, but something happened. Mahmoud is a very educated man. He is a nutrition doctor and he has worked in the United Arab Emirates. He is open mind, dealing with many people and knows how cultural differences work. He also knows how to deal with people who have great principles about life and human rights. Day after day, meeting after meeting, we became close friends and I asked him to teach me about cultural differences and how he was dealing with different people. He travelled to many countries and met a large number of people with different backgrounds so Mahmoud started to teach me and saw his achievement. Well I consider Mahmoud my teacher in life, for some days I couldn’t connect with him because of Gaza 2014 war. At that time I knew how much I missed him and missed talking to him. I felt like I loved this man. I told my mum and myself I fell in love with him. Try after try we connected and went out. When we talked we forgot war and danger. We sat in our restaurant and the first thing he told me was ‘S. I missed you so much and I missed talking to you. S. can I tell you something, I love you and at this time I totally forget war’ and I said I love you too. This was the first man I said these words to. Until the days when we are together and our families know our story to live our life together.

Lesson learned from my story: love our life built by peace and love. We are all human, we deserve a life filled with peace, love, and respect to each other.

Mahmoud is my life story the man who held my hands towards success and happiness.


This is just one example of the important work produced YaLa’s citizen journalists, a program funded by the European Union’s Peacebuilding Initiative in order to enable young leaders from across the Middle East and North Africa to document and share their experiences of the region. 

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