When I Saw Me

Decent Essays
Walking out of the Museum of Fine Arts on a spring night in 2013, I began to think about where my home really was. I had just left the Boston Palestine Film Festival, where the screening of When I Saw You by the Palestinian filmmaker Annemarie Jacir had really stood out to me. The movie was from the perspective of a young Palestinian refugee named Tarek living in a camp in Jordan. Tarek goes on a journey to return to his home in Palestine. After watching the film, I had an unshakeable feeling that my real home was in Palestine and felt a strong urge to return to the land of my ancestors.

I developed a deeper connection to my Palestinian heritage after the film festival. These feelings were confusing to me at first. There I was, living in the United States, feeling a powerful sentimental attachment towards a land I’ve never set foot in thousands of miles away. As a young kid, having ties to so many places made it hard for me to develop a strong cultural identity. My
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Reading the book, whose title translates to The Northern Path, cemented the idea of Palestine as my homeland. I visited my grandfather in New York, where he was having a reading as part of his book tour, and talked to him about growing up in Palestine. My grandfather’s stories from his childhood mesmerized me. He told me about growing up in the small village of Suhmata, helping his parents in the fields, and playing with his friends on the farm. His stories inspired images in my mind of Palestine as a paradise with endless rows of olive and fig trees. Before I left, he gifted me with a keffiyeh, a traditional Palestinian headscarf and symbol of Palestinian solidarity. The keffiyeh was made in a textile factory in Hebron, so it has a physical connection to the land. It also has sentimental value coming from my grandfather. To this day, the keffiyeh is one of the most treasured objects I
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