To my dear ISES family - Dina Awwad's student testimonial
To my dear ISES family,
I am now arranging my papers and books, and I found my diary. I saw on 20 October 2006, I was in the Turkish Airport waiting for my flight to begin my journey in Hungary. I smiled. I remembered the questions I had, the longing, and the hardships I have been through while living in Hungary. I smiled because as challenging as this experience was for me as beautiful as it was.
I always tell my friends that my life in Hungry was a turning point in my life. I think this was a critical stage in which I grew and I began to learn how to become more independent and critical of what is happening in this world. Through you and through sharing your experiences, I learned a lot and I have become a different person.
So on this five year anniversary, I want to say thank you.
Much has happened to me since I left Hungary in 2007.
I worked for four years at Bethlehem University. I worked in the Public Relations and Development Office. I was handed different positions and responsibilities during the past four years. It has been an enriching experience for me. I used the knowledge I acquired during my studies in Hungary in explaining to students about the EU and the Palestinian issue. It also helped me to understand the international mentality so I was able to give speeches and talk about the Palestinian issue taking into consideration the structure of the EU and its policies. This knowledge has been very important for me as a Palestinian to really understand how the EU is constructed and how it functions; I am lucky because many Palestinians do not have this knowledge.
Last year in October 2010, I met Hanna. I attended a program called the Non-linear Leadership Program. It was a six-month program in which you work on different skills and provides you with a different way of thinking to help you achieve things in your life. Hanna and I fell in love from the first week of the program and since then we have been together challenging each other and growing through this relationship. Hanna is a Palestinian Israeli. He lives in Eilaboun, a village close to Tiberius. He is a family physician. Last summer we decided that we want to continue this path of partnership together. So on 27 August 2011, we got engaged.
But before that, in April 2011, I resigned from my work. Again this was a stage in my life which I felt I had to end and begin something new. From May through July, I spent it in Portugal in a peace community called Tamera. I attended two courses; one "Creating Models for a Peaceful Future" and the other one was "Children Course".
Through my work at the university, I realized that Peace can not be achieved through negotiations or through violence. I realized that there is something more complex and deeper than what we see on the surface that needs to be dealt with in order to have peace. And this was the reason why I went to Tamera.
Tamera is a model in which a group of people have been in research how to have peace on earth. They see if you want to have peace on earth, you need to have peace with the animals, human beings, plants, and most importantly an inner peace. Being there made me realize that in order to have peace we Palestinians and Israelis alike need to have healing of our souls. There is so much fear, pain, anger on both sides. If those are not healed, we will not be able to have real peace. I began to see how the walls surrounding Bethlehem are a reflection of the walls we have inside of us. The walls of the tribal thinking we have related to everything in our life which do not allow us to think outside the box and take things for granted. I realized we need to change those patterns of thinking in order to be able to have an open heart for each other and therefore for the Israelis.
Also through my contact with Hanna, I met many Israelis. I met those who were scared of Palestinians, and those who believed that Palestinians should have their own rights returned. I could feel the fear, and pain and the anger Israelis had. The fear is related not only to Palestinians but it is also related to the pain of the holocaust which until now they have not been healed from.
Since I got back from Tamera, I have been wondering how could peace prevail in this area. This year was full of revolutions in the Arab countries. But I think in Palestine we need a different type of revolution. I am still in search for how I can be the change in my country. I have not found a job yet. I am trying now to find what is the job that I want through which I can reach people and be more in touch with them.
It has been five years now since we sat together in the Europe house and began sharing our past, experiences, knowledge and I guess future with each other. I want to thank you for everything you have taught me and for everything you have given me. And I hope we will remain in touch.
With lots of love from Bethlehem