Bethlehem – PNN/Exclusive – Yesterday morning a group of young Palestinian Americans returned home to the United States after taking part in the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation’s ‘Know Your Heritage’ program.
It was an emotional moment. But everyone felt determined, more determined than ever, that they honour their Palestinian identity, no matter how much the Israeli government might try to keep them away.
Karima Moussa was one of those young people. A student of Photojournalism at an American university, she holds an American passport – but she’s sure that her true loyalty, her deeper identity, is Palestinian.
Talking to PNN in the hours before her departure, Karima spoke about the effect the trip had had on her.
She’d visited the country before, although only for short family holidays. But the stories her parents told her, about their village, about their way of life, inspired her to find out more. The Know Your Heritage program provided her with an opportunity to do just that.
She felt pride about what she and the program had achieved. In fact, so profound was her experience, so much had she come to love Palestine and its people, she was even considering moving to live there in the near future. For her, she explained, Palestine is the land of her fathers and her grandfathers, it is the soul which moves her and which guides her. She is 100% Palestinian – and all her dreams of what that might mean in practice were confirmed by this trip.
“I’m angry, sad… I trying to smile but…” She pauses for a moment to collect herself. “But I don’t want to live so far away.
“It’s hard; I’m thinking seriously about coming back to live here because life in the US is so difficult right now. Especially when you learn that the money from your taxes is going straight to the Israeli forces who are occupying your home.”
Those young people had a message for young Palestinians everywhere – that they should do everything they could to come and experience their homeland for themselves. The time they’d spent in Palestine, living and working together with their own people, had only strengthened their resolve to fight for the heritage they’d come to know.