A Severely Dashed Hope
by Saleh Orouq
After I was chosen for a week summer school in New York from among more than 15,000 applicants -yes, more than 15,000 applicants-, I got jubilant to the extent that I couldn’t study for my final exams. I got so happy that I unvoluntarily kissed my brother before even telling him that I was chosen; I rushed and kissed my parents and my little brother as well. I promised my little brother to buy him the best gift I could get from the U.S.
My friends, my true ones, were so happy that I got such an opportunity of lifetime. I planned to have sheets on which my friends’ names to be written and to picture these sheets in front of the Statue of Freedom- I don’t know why I just smiled mockingly while typing “Freedom”.
As soon as I was done with my exams, I started the long process of filling the U.S. visa application. I refused to take any courses for the summer semester so that I could have some space to finish the traveling procedures and to enjoy my summer in an unprecedented manner.
I was confused; I did not know what to choose: the Egyptian way or the israeli one.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t fathom that I am living in Gaza which means both ways are banned to go through, which means to strive to live confined in your country, or more precisely in the largest open-air prison in the world.
How dare I think of traveling? How dare I have some hope, even if for a week? How dare I think of freedom while I am occupied by such maniac terrorists! By an entity willing to kill around a THOUSAND people, to injure around 5 THOUSAND others, and to leave unknown number of victims under the rubbles with cold blood in less than three weeks! How did I forget how my cousin DIED while he was waiting to get an israeli permit to receive medical treatment. How did I forget how he died in his bed out of his exacerbating illness?
Egypt claims that Palestinians are responsible for Egypt’s instability! israel claims an adbuction and killing of three teens by Palestinians, without even an evidence or a photo for the “deads”! Both countries, as usual, impose the colloective punishment on whoever has a Palestinian blood running in the arteries.
I just could not “apply” for a permission to go out of the beseiged Gaza. Who on earth feels how I feel? Who on earth could see a brighter life than I do? Yes, I see it bright. You know why? Because this is the only thing that keeps us, Palestinians, alive. If we try to contemplate and commiserate about our endless problems, we would have died out of deep grief from time immemorial.
And now I only blame myself for “thinking” of a chance to breathe in another place out of this prison.
I should have got it in the first place from the description given for my country in the participants list. Occupied! Occupied! Occupied!