*少女萝莉社

Inclusion

Andrea Sahouri

She/Her

Social Justice Reporter – Des Moines Register

 

 

Being Palestinian means resilience. My parents, grandparents, and generations before them have resisted occupation. Our family is living proof that we do exist, we are strong, and we are proud of who we are.

It鈥檚 become almost impossible to talk about my own identity without someone trying to shame me or tell me I don鈥檛 exist. It鈥檚 exhausting.

I had a high school teacher who made me stay after class just to tell me Palestine didn鈥檛 exist 鈥 which is false. In college, I had students tell me that Palestinians didn鈥檛 exist until the 60s鈥 again, false. Politicians have stated that the occupation of Palestine doesn鈥檛 exist鈥 also false.

And online, there are numerous examples of how even the media erases Palestinian existence. For instance, AP style when writing about Palestine is to refer to my family鈥檚 homeland as the 鈥淧alestinian territories.鈥 And journalists have been fired or have been the targets of smear campaigns for appearing to be sympathetic to the Palestinian cause.

I鈥檝e seen the wall in Palestine. I鈥檝e been through the checkpoints.

I鈥檝e had guns pointed at me by Israeli soldiers. It鈥檚 dehumanizing.

I鈥檝e also listened to my grandparents鈥 stories of a Palestine before military occupation. I鈥檝e smelled the honeysuckle and have picked the apricots and lemons from my grandparents鈥 land. I鈥檝e listened to the stories of my mother, who at a young age had to fight for freedom from occupation.

These stories and experiences, they鈥檝e taught me resilience and pride.

My mother always taught me to be proud of who I was.

I remember our car drives on the way to school, she鈥檇 tell me to never let anyone else define who I am.

And every time I look at her, I remember how strong our people are. That鈥檚 the silver lining for me.

A mantra that I live by is鈥

Be true to who you are, and remember we are all human. For so long I鈥檝e had people try to dehumanize me and my people, so I know the kind of pain dehumanization brings.

This motivates me to bring humanity in every story that I write, and by doing so, I鈥檓 making a greater impact in my community.

National Arab American Heritage Month

April is National Arab American Heritage Month, celebrating the heritage, culture, and contributions of Arab Americans. We are honoring this celebration by amplifying the voices of Arab Americans at 少女萝莉社.

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