This is the year when my family was first displaced from our homeland in Beer Sheva. It happened during the war, our house and farm were looted in cold blood. My grandfather passed away 10 years ago. He always told me it was a good life before the war, living as Bedouins and moving around the desert, as well as working in agriculture in the Negev. He told us the story: “When the war began, we thought it was maybe hearsay, and we did not know how soon it would end up coming to us. Just a few days later, we recognized it was coming, and thought there would be no way to leave our houses before we get murdered by Jews. We had to leave, but we thought at that time we would only leave our land for a short period and then come back. So, we left all our priorities until our return.”
When my grandfather told this story, he laughed in a very mysterious way and then said “we thought it will be few days, we were wrong, it took years away from our lives and we realized after fifty years that we will never come back. “So, we went to Jericho, where we were also working in agriculture. Actually, agriculture is a big part of our traditional way of life, but we had no idea that the instability of the past few years would continue.
The second war started in 1967, and we escaped from Jericho to Nablus. It is hard to be displaced twice in your life, and lose everything. We were owners in our land, and now, we are homeless strangers in a refugee camp in Nablus waiting for the UN to help us.”
These are the stories that my grandfather told me.
My grandma also told stories. She told me of terrifying moments, walking over bodies during the war. I can’t imagine why my grandma did not go to the psychologist. I don’t blame her, but I know this is why I carry the same pain, same stories, and the same trauma throughout my life. The war erased all our dreams. It seized everything, leaving us as strangers in the West Bank. The war is a stigma in our history, and it pains me a lot just to talk about it, just to think about it, just to remember it. My grandfather’s testimony will stick in my mind forever. I know I am here to present what my grandfather has told me. I know I must share his stories, that they cannot be forgotten.
To be continued…