Please read this short appeal from my friend Rana, who lives in Gaza. She wants the same opportunities so many of us have had in life. If anyone can help her come to the U.S. or Europe to attend college please let me know. Here is a little bit of her story, written by her with some editing by me.
My Life Story
I wonder how to begin writing about myself. There is so much to say that I don’t know exactly where I should start?
My name is Rana. I am a Palestinian girl, nineteen years old. I am studying English Literature at the Islamic University in Gaza. I have finished two years and am about to start my third. Because of the situation here in Gaza, it is very difficult to study and make progress.
No one can bear to live here. Gaza is in crisis: economically, socially and culturally. We suffer from a lack of electricity. The fuel that supplies the main station is in short supply. Our world is filled with war, medical problems, emotional problems and all kinds of physical problems. Who is responsible for all of these terrible things? The people of Israel? The government of Israel? Who is responsible? Every day the number of dead and injured steadily increases. Our lives have turned to hell. People want to leave for other countries. But Israel won’t let very many leave.
Our education system is not bad at all. Our students graduate with degrees in science but what is their future? There are no jobs here. Unemployment is high and widespread. There is nothing to do in Gaza. That is why people spend their time in the streets doing bad things or sitting in front of their computers spending hours on the internet. This is what is going on in Gaza.
I want to tell you my story. Four years ago when I was fifteen, Israel destroyed my home with a rocket. The dream I had worked for since I was a little girl was also destroyed, but I told myself “it’s OK. I’m still alive and I can find a new dream.” My dream had been to leave Palestine and study medicine in a foreign country and then to use my knowledge to help my people.
In the beginning, my Dad wanted me to become a doctor, but I only received a score of 82% on my exams. This wasn’t high enough. I felt ashamed. When I heard the results I stood beside the wall and cried. But then I realized that what I was doing was a sign of weakness so I washed my eyes and sat peacefully in my room, collecting my thoughts and ideas.
My father was disappointed in my low score also, because that was his dream too. He used to call me Dr. Rana. I told myself that I will work hard to break down the barriers that are in my way and overcome all the challenges that I face in my personal life, at school and even in my community, that one day I will make my father proud of me.
I decided to enter the faculty of arts, a new field and a new dream. Having to start all over again from zero was very difficult. In my two years at the university I have had low grades, but I still have chances. I believe in myself and I know what my talents are.
I want to travel from Palestine but I don’t know how? I know it is time to rely on myself without having to depend on anyone, not even my Dad. I have to prove myself in all areas of my life, to trust in myself and make my own decisions. I can work hard and I can work under pressure to reach my goals. Traveling abroad is at the top of my priorities. Hand in hand, heart to heart we can achieve our dreams
I want to stop taking money from my Dad. I feel embarrassed whenever I ask him for money. I hope I will get a job in my field of study. I look forward to challenges and am always working to improve myself. I take risks, love adventure and have an open mind.
I know I have the power to live a positive life. I know that life is not a bed of roses, so I need to work on my patience. I trust God and I trust myself. There are those who just want to break me down. They call me a failure but when I smile I destroy their illusions and they see how strong I am.
I want to show the world what is happening to us in Gaza. I want to represent my country and show the silent world how Palestinians are killed every day while Israelis and Americans are enjoying their lives.
Damn! Where is the humanity in the world? How can people lose their humanity? We will never give up fighting until the Israelis give us back our rights and release all Palestinian political prisoners from their jails. We don’t want more blood, more massacres; we just want peace and security. These are the conditions that everyone in the world needs in order to live a good life. Rana