Safa was a 17 year old girl. She was the daughter of a Palestinian mother and a Tunisian father .Her hybrid nationality provided her with the opportunity of being exposed to two cultures with different rituals and traditions. She was a tall brown girl with black long curly hair and big profound dark eyes. She was as pretty as the majority of the hybrid marriages descendants. Her family’s mother fled from Palestine long years ago to dwell in the south of Tunisia, longing for peace and tolerance. Her mother had seven sisters and seven brothers, who had spent their childhood and adolescence in Tunisia before leaving to Europe and America , in the hope of finding brighter job opportunities and better life conditions.
When Safa went back home from a long busy school day, she had a warm fresh shower, and then did her missed prayers .After dinner; her mother brought her a hot delicious cup of tea with herbs and a slice of delicious chocolate cake. Her lovely spoiled cat hurried happily to place itself on her lap as usual since Safa was the only one to offer it tenderness and care .It started to suck her hands moving its tail as a sign of joy and satisfaction .The girl had got two sisters .The oldest was 24 years old and the younger was 23 years old. They were both unemployed, looking for decent jobs. Every day, they would wake up early in the morning, would buy with the money, that they still shamefully take from their father, as much newspapers and magazines as possible, and would highlight all the suitable job ads and would together go on a long job- hunting journey.
Being the youngest daughter, Safa was spoiled by her parents .She had a room for her own while her two older sisters shared one room, and she had a personal computer while her sisters shared a computer. It was 21pm, her father came back home from the cafe and Safa received him with a big smile, open arms and some sweet words of love and recognition, this strongly pleased him and made him feel cheerful and satisfied with her behaviour, and this was the introduction , that the clever girl would give, before any financial request or permission for going outs. The father was a hard-working agricultural engineer who had a strong determination to afford every thing possible to please his daughters, whom he loved endlessly .The three daughters, in their turn, never had the audacity to transgress the house moral code of conduct.
In the living room, Safa placed her personal computer on her lap to connect to the internet. She, from time to time, had a look at the television or gave a kiss to her father, or said a joke to her mother. On her face book page, she found videos showing the beauty of Palestinian clothes and rituals. She proudly showed them to her mother, this latter was highly moved by a wave of homesickness that swept suddenly over her, and quickly cleared some tears that, against her will, had escaped repression and had flown freely on her cheeks.
Safa received a message from her friend Basil, a Palestinian boy living in Tunis
‘Hey pal!’How ‘r you today?.
‘Hi Basil! So far so good and you?
‘I’m afraid I’m not fine .One of my best relatives was shot today in Palestine and I wish I could attend his funeral.
‘Oh no! That’s so sad!
“Don’t be upset darling! We should give room to hope, shouldn’t we?
“Yeh, we should”.
Safa lifted up her eyes to watch TV as a sad news had caught her attention. She was immediately seized with sob as soon as she watched the horrible pictures: Huda Ghaliya , a ten-year –old girl running along Gaza beach . “Father…Father…Father…”.She was crying and then soon falling, weeping beside his body .The girl soon grasped that much of her family was dead. The bloody video was terribly choking with the poor newly –orphaned girl’s sharp cries of pain and sorrow.
Safa headed to her room, wore her pajama and lay on her bed. Filled with sorrow, she couldn’t sleep at once.“Daddy ” …She said. “Huda invited me and my friends to a journey to Palestine, to visit Gaza beach, Ramallah and many other beautiful places”. “I don’t mind! Have a nice journey!” Her father replied. For the first time, Safa’ s father did neither ask many questions, nor refused to give the permission at once.
Safa devoted the whole night to inviting her friends via phone to a fantastic journey to Palestine :Her face book friend Bassil, Mark from France, Bassim from Egypt, Joseph from USA and Salem from Jordan” The friends were excited. They couldn’t wait to see Jerusalem.
-“I love Palestine”, Joseph said. “I can’t wait to visit the tomb of the Virgin Mary”, he added”.“I want to see Alharam al Sharif from where the prophet Mohammad (peace be upon himself) rose to Heaven. ”Salem replied .Huda received the friends at the airport after a comfortable three - hour flight from Tunis. She happily said: “Welcome to Palestine, we are going to visit the old city of Jerusalem first”.
The friends were surprised to see people from different faiths praying God. Alharam Aharif which is the third holiest site for Muslims and the holy Christian sites of Jesus were crowded with people. The Palestinians welcomed their guests warmly. Doves holding olive trunks were flying above the guests as a sign of peace and fraternity. One of the doves volunteered to guide the friends. Huda and Jasmine agreed to name it Victory.
Suleima leaned over Al Aksa Mosque:
- “How prestigious it is!” Joseph exclaimed. “Look at this large golden dome”, he added. “It’s really magnificent! “.100 meters to the east of the old city lays the Mount of Olive Tree.The friends were surprised to discover that all the olive trees were yellow and nearly dead. They wondered worriedly:
- “What’s the matter with these olive trees Victory?.
Victory ,the beautiful dove of peace, hovered over the pale olive trees, they all together let out heavy loud sighs. The friends felt sorry for the vast gloomy olive farms which were sadly deserted and totally neglected. At the foot of the Mount, Salim discovered a tomb.
-“What’s this?” he asked
-“This is the tomb of the Virgin Mary. This cite was rebuilt in 1130 and since then, it has been shared by Greeks, Armenians, Syrians, Copts and Muslims” said Huda.
-“Let’s go up to the summit of the Mount”, Huda suggested. “It affords a wonderful view of the whole of Jerusalem”, she added
On the Mount of Olive Tree, the friends found a desperate teenager who had been at the edge, about to throw himself. Safa approached him carefully then cried loudly: “Be careful!?” “Don’t do that! You have a strong and reliable God who is watching you. His majesty is caring for you and loving you” She added.
-“Don’t do that!” God is watching you, he gave you the gift of life and you are rejecting his gift!” said Joseph. In spite of their different religions, the teenagers agreed about the fact that God is great, reliable and trustworthy.
“Whatever your problem is, never say ‘God! I have a big problem, but say, problem! I have a strong God!’ Salem said to the boy.
The teenager put his head down on his hands and wept. Then spoke in a voice like sob:
- “I have been living on my own for many years. My mother fled persecution and poverty and didn’t leave any address. I don’t know where she is. I get depressed of leading a meaningless and desperate life full of threats. I have never had a ball or whatever game to play with. Do you believe that I have never touched a girl’s hand and that I have never loved or been loved like my mates. I have never worn new or fashionable clothes or have a nice perfume to please girls .I have never had a family to share my worries and concerns with...I would spend my days in the street with other homeless youngsters, throwing rocks on the occupiers’ army as a sign of resistance and at the end of the day, I found no one to heal my injuries. Yesterday, my closest friend Milad died after being shot in the stomach. I have just come from his funeral”.
After his desperate monologue, the lonely teenager let out a deep cry and tears overwhelmed hid pale cheeks: “Oh Lord! I feel tired and want to pass away” “Oh lord, take me!”He added. Joseph felt sorry for him. “Do you want to travel with me to America?”.He proposed.
-“I can’t leave my homeland; I’m really tied to Palestine by bonds too strong to be broken .I want to be buried here”. The teenager said.
-“Calm down brother!” Safa addressed the teenager “We will help you to remove the gloomy and hopeless idea of suicide of your mind”.
At that specific moment, memories of the murdered family on Gaza beach swept over Huda’s head. “My family passed away, it will never come back, but yours can be found as soon as it is alive! We will stand by you, don’t worry!”Said Huda.
Safa , Huda, Joseph, Bassil , Mark and Salem headed quickly to a nearby internet cafe, where they logged on many social sites to look for the lonely boy lost family. Each teenager sat on a computer and logged on a different social site to widen the opportunities of finding it. On the site, “Family Reunited”; Safa wrote a message to invite people, having the name “ Sayyah” ,the same name as the desperate teenager, to contact her, on her mobile phone. Fortunately, she received a quick reply from the teenager’s mother .She said that she had been living in Syria for 13 years.
“ I used to live in a ghetto crowded with poor people .Every day, I would wake up at 4 am to work in a nearby farm owned by an Israeli rich man .I couldn’t afford any other job as unemployment was widespread in Palestine. I witnessed all types of segregation, oppression and torture. I was the only Palestinian woman to work in that farm and I was object of prejudices .Finally, I was fired just because I refused the way my boss treated me. All what I wanted was respect! But I had been expelled instead without reasonable reasons. Later, I had fallen pray to hopelessness and depression and I decided to escape tough conditions. I only yearned for dignity and respect .Yet, what I bitterly regret now is leaving my son all alone. Sadly, I was not mature and wise enough to take the right decision”.
-“What about your husband?” Safa asked?
-“My husband was a fisherman. January the second is a date I can never forget .On that sad day, his fellow fishermen brought me the sad news of his loss in the sea after searching him all the previous night long in vain. “Crocodiles must have gulped him”. My boss said in a sarcastic tone. He was buried in a nameless grave in the sea .
The Palestinian boy could not believe his ears when he heard a phone call from his mother. Later, he went to the internet cafe where he could see and hear her at the same time thanks to the web camera.
- “Thank you very much dear! Those were the only words he uttered in relief .Later; he happily knew that he had two step brothers. The sky rumbled and Suleima , which was flying so high , had noticed threatening clouds .So ,it made signs with its wings proposing to live Jerusalem immediately.
-“What do you say if we go to Ramallah?”Huda proposed. “It is an amazing town with a pleasant temperature” .She added. The friends appreciated the idea. They were excited to know that Ramallah, which was also known as “the bride of Palestine” was hosting a dance and folklore festival.
“ Great idea if we take our new friend with us!” said Salem. “Ok, the friends said.” As the teenager did not have a mobile phone or a computer or any other means of communication due to his poverty, Safa wrote an invitation card then tied it and placed it between the dove’s small teeth .This latter flew at once. The teenager politely refused the invitation as he was waiting for his mother, who promised to come back to Palestine accompanied by her sons, the step brothers of the teenager. The friends danced following the Palestinian traditional choreography. In the evening, Safa proposed to go to the beautiful Gaza beach, where the family of Huda had been murdered.
- “It’s is one of the most beautiful beaches in Palestine” Huda said.
The friends hurried to the sea to swim but they were stopped by terrifying chalks which, for the first time were occupying Gaza’ sea. Then a giant ghost appeared. For a few moments, the friends watched the scary creature in astonishment, and then they let out a cry of fright .Joseph and Mark backed away in fear, and then rushed immediately towards a nearby safer forest .The ghost started to move hastily towards Salem, Huda and Safa, the three Arab friends, who decided to face the dangers together and never give in.
Huda started to throw rocks on it and her friends did the same quickly. Soon, a boat full of marine soldiers appeared to support the aggressors and started to shoot on the friends without mercy. The three friends were determinate to stay there and never leave. They stood there, strong, unified and resistant. They agreed to run in all directions to perturb and disperse the attention of the enemy and they threw stones from time to time to defend themselves. Three old fishermen, who were having lunch in the woods, not far away from the beach, had heard the friend’s cries of help, so they hurriedly came out, took their small ship, carried their traditional arms and sailed madly towards the invaders to have a non- balanced struggle, that ended short afterwards with the heart-breaking disastrous murder of two fishermen and the awful drowning of the third one, who refused to surrender and favoured honourable death to shameful defeat.”
-“Never yield or give up the fight guys!”Those were the last fisherman words that he had loudly uttered before going down deep in the sea.
-“Help! Help! Help! God, stand by us!” .The friends cried.
Huda had a severe nervous breakdown, recollecting the distressing memories of the place, the place where her family members lost their precious lives. She, like crazy, let out sharp cries which rose like roars .She was rushing towards the sea when her friends wisely pulled her towards a safe place and calmed her down. The beach was taken over by chaos, madness and hatred, out of a sudden, a terribly intense storm had shaken the sea, and afterwards, the massive waves cleared it up from all its invaders which were all pushed out toward the beach. “The miracle we had waited for would finally occur!”Safa shouted in relief. “We can finally taste the sweetness of swimming in Gaza Sea” Salem shrieked. Waves of Palestinian people started to arrive from many places and many countries to swim in Gaza beach. Joseph and Mark, who had previously fled to the nearby woods, appeared again and apologized for not standing by their friends out of fright and terror.
“Apology accepted!” .The friends said. Let’s put all the reproaches and abhorrence behind us!” .They added.“It is time to enjoy swimming in Gaza sea guys” .Safa said. She cheerfully plunged into the turquoise-coloured sea .
“The Dignity-al Karama French Yacht, the sole representative of an initial 10-vessel flotilla, had earlier been warned to change course and then captured by the occupation military». It was the voice of the TV reporter, presenting the 7oclock news, which erupted from the living room as her father used to catch up with breaking news , each morning, before going to work. She removed the cover from her head, and quickly left her bed to have a cold fresh shower before going to school. Her sisters had already wakened up. They were sitting in the lounge drinking coffee and skimming newspapers in the search of suitable job ads. She stepped into her mother’s room. She was still sleeping. Unfortunately, no one was available to share the sweetness of the dream with. “Can that dream come true one day? “She thought.
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