I’m terrified my thoughts are going to run away with me so here is my attempt to catch everything in writing. Since I’ve been here I have forgotten that I’m still a student studying to attain a degree. But that’s just it, I’m not just a student. I never was, and neither are the students of An-Najah. They are individuals with real possibilities who are only now learning that there is no real cue for embracing your potential. These students are so appreciative of what we’re doing and have kindly appraised us but ultimately I look out at the crowd and see many people who are the same age as me, many of them even older. Who have the same enthusiasm about life and more uniquely a passion about their identity as Palestinians. It’s like seeing all the right ingredients lined up but yet to be mixed together. Ultimately there is never a wrong time to take initiative.
Truly, I don’t believe in obstacles. More simply it’s a matter of getting over the fear of trying something new. This resonates even more here where a history of conflict and a slowly changing cultural dynamic has given few spaces for youth here to pursue a desire without invitation. To the students, if you’re reading this: this is your invite to go forth blindly and boldly because that is where development happens. Know that people may laugh at you, think your ideas and your general will to be crazy, but none of that matters when you ultimately succeed in the end. Convert the non-believers by proving them wrong.
As I’ve said time and time again, you all truly do have a story to tell. The joie de vivre these students have is inspiring. It’s moving to see how much these students value the most basic facets of individual welfare: things like family, and their national identity as Palestinians. Although they may not be able to count on stability at the macro level of their lives, they reject the idea that such political affairs should ever get in the way of their ability to enjoy life, however simple. That to me is beautiful.
When I facilitated the Development Theatre session with the students today, I saw glimpses of that radiance come out. It amazes me to no end to think that they can bravely come in front of an audience and share their story – the ‘why’, in a language that is only second to them. It’s sad to think this is the last session, but I hope that these students turn away from the idea of impossible and embrace their identity as a prized possession and not a hindrance.