“What have you been doing for 90 days in Israel? [Palestine]” Words of a distrusting Israeli customs officer. May 26, 2014
On May 17, 2021, Rashida Tlaib, the sole US Congressperson of Palestinian descent, bemoaned on MSNBC, “I wish that people would listen to the Palestinian voices on the ground, talk to the mothers who try to put their children next to them, because, if they die, they want to die together… These are the kinds of stories that need to be told behind the bombing [of Gaza by Israel.]”
Listening in Ewa Beach, Hawai‘i, I cried out, “Hey! I can tell those stories!” In 2014, I had the rare and clandestine opportunity to live in West Bank Palestine where I bonded with two Palestinian families. My visit changed my worldview.
On May 17, when Rashida Tlaib bemoaned that no one was sharing stories of the common Palestinian people, she could not have known that her words would awaken the voice of one American, who could indeed tell just those sorts of stories.
I don’t have stories of assassination and murder. I don’t have documented evidence of Israel’s continued illegal annexation of Palestinian homelands. I do have personal and intimate stories of Palestinian people. I do have touching stories of encounters with people whose lives are so human and poignant. Now I tell my story.