By: Nadia Abuelezam
Lena Ghannam, our storyteller featured in Episode #31, describes her First Kiss and the new type of connection she felt with another human being. This connection is rudely and abruptly severed, just like her hair, when her family finds out about it.
This reminded me of my (and many other young Palestinian Americans’) relationship with Palestine. Having visited (and experienced my first kiss with) Palestine more than 15 years ago, I was in love and obsessed with her. I wanted to be present with her and her experience again and again. Sadly, there has been a great deal of distance and separation with Palestine, as I haven’t been back in over 10 years. The conditions of our separation are not ideal, and I am constantly longing to go back to that initial “honeymoon” phase filled with novelty and discovery. Just as young Lena longs for a return to the cruise ship and her long hair.
In similar ways, Basel Zayed and Ayn Trio’s music hearkens to foster human connection through music. As Basel Zayed explained to me, the Ayn Trio’s music aims to unite listeners from both Western and Mediterranean backgrounds through familiar instruments and sounds put together in new ways. Through the common understanding of music and musical style, listeners are united and assimilated into ONE audience with a diverse set of experiences and connections to the music.
We all long for human connection in one way or another, whether it’s conversations happening around the water cooler at work, the hugs and kisses of loved ones after a long day, or listening to Palestinians Podcast to find connection to one’s dispersed community. As Palestinians, we also have a connection to Palestine, and like Lena’s hair, that connection was severed and disrupted by powers with power and control. Like Lena’s hair, we must learn to find new ways to grow and thrive in difficult circumstances.