By: Nadia Abuelezam
When the President of the United States declared that Jerusalem was Israel's recognized capital I felt as if my world was shaken. I don't live in Palestine, I wasn't born in Palestine. I was born and raised in the United States. Yet I still felt lost, confused, and sad. This is something I discuss in the latest episode of Palestinians Podcast (#23: Nadia, Not on the Map). This feeling like I don't have ownership or agency over these feelings of sadness and depression because I'm a member of the Palestinian diaspora.
And yet, I can tell many stories about my experiences of being denied my identity, my history, and my heritage. So how is it that I reconcile these feelings of belonging and not belonging. Feelings of being "too west for the east and too east for the west." Feelings of being torn between two places while having your feet planted firmly in one.
I do this through storytelling. I do this through the recounting of stories and experiences that have happened to me in the past and that continue to haunt or inspire me to this day. By going back in my memory and re-living painful (or happy) memories, I am able to process them, to find my place in the stories, and understand my feelings and emotions to the events happening around me.
In this episode I tell a story that some might find silly. A story that is shrouded in a costume of light-hearted laughter and slapstick injury - but the story means a great deal to me. This is a story about the moment I realized that being from Palestine wasn't like being from China or Italy or the Netherlands. That being Palestinian was it's own entity that wasn't always understood by those around me.
I've gone back and forth about whether or not to release this episode. Whether or not to include the political and social commentary I had written as opening and closing statements for my story. About whether it would alienate listeners or make them feel unwelcome or unappreciated. But those comments are also a part of my story and who I am. For me, and most Palestinians, our personal everyday lives are inherently political (even when we don't want them to be).
I hope the episode inspires you to think about your own stories and your own history. I hope the episode inspires you to find your voice and your place in this scary world we live in. We all need to tell our stories. We need to take back the Palestinian narrative. We need to re-write the erased and forgotten history of Palestine and it's diaspora. We at Palestinians Podcast are committed to continue telling stories of, for, about, and from Palestinians. We are committed to being a part of the narrative and public discourse.
Thank you for listening and spreading the world. May the New Year bring you and yours peace, joy, and love.