The article below was written for Dundee-Nablus Twinning Association and first published in their Newsletter. The writer is a first year student at Al-Najah university in Nablus and in it she describes how daily life for students is very different there from student life in Dundee.
An ordinary day in Nablus
Let me introduce myself. I am Isra Khanfar, a Palestinian student from Nablus in my first year at An-Najah University where I study at the Faculty of Information Technology. For me, especially after moving out of school life to university life, I prefer university; it will be one of the most wonderful experiences to follow my twelve school years.
A usual Palestinian day begins after we have gone to sleep with our hearts shaken and saddened on hearing newscasts about what the Israeli occupation has done in many different parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. On waking up I arouse my dreams that slept with me on the same pillow and bed, and greet them with the same daily passion. I then prepare to go to the University loaded with questions that I use every day to ask my teachers at the college when I see them.
Perhaps this sentence about daily preparatory questions may reflect that I am a student. I can’t leave books for one second and just move about. I’m like the rest of the students in all parts of the world and not only in Palestine who do not have strong ties with books and studying a lot. What obliges me to do this is my dreams and aspirations, but they cannot be built only through study.
The open world which is the University has enabled me to meet new students from different cities of the West Bank. They pass long distances and they have crossed the Israeli military with its discomfort and troubles to come and seek their dreams. Maybe you will be shocked when I tell you that it has strengthened more and more in myself the Israeli cruelty on us as Palestinian generations that we were born hearing bullets and live invasions that prevented us from going in or out outside the city.
Perhaps you will be surprised when I tell you that many of the students that I have met come from Palestinian villages and towns yet my ears hear their names for the first time.
What raises my surprise even more is that these villages are near the city of Nablus and what separates us from them is just one Israeli military checkpoint.
Then comes the difficult question that I cannot myself-understand – I do not know my homeland even though I am in my homeland?! This is the most complicated question that couldn’t be answered. Every day I stand by the window of my room my eyes hugging the blue Palestinian sky waiting to see the White Dove, which the world promises us. But honestly, despite my strong hope, I do not see this happening soon.