I haven’t managed to return to Palestine for years. When I visited Palestine, I went as a traveller, someone passing by this land. I have links to the country through my heritage but this isn’t the same as those who are born there. My relationship with the country will always be from a different viewpoint. It was with this viewpoint that I wrote my debut novel, Jasmine Falling, based in the Occupied Territories of Palestine and Jerusalem.
My personal drive to write this was because of a necessity to capture the eroding history of a country I belong too. It was also a need to share this with the world who may never have the opportunity to see it as I did, or as it existed then at that moment. In a tumultuous country under Occupation, history and the landscape are erased at a quicker pace. Yet, I see hope for the future. A hope that must come from our youth. The return of my book to Palestine is important to me because I want students to have the opportunity to read it for free. My book has been delivered to all the major universities in Palestine and arrived at Birzeit University this week. It is with this in mind, that I begin to plan my first book tour, in Palestine and to visit universities as part of the tour.
My return to Palestine will be one that is a celebration and a way of giving something back to those who inspired me to spend four years extracting shared stories from a land rich with ancient history and yet an uplifting strength and faith which still inspires how I live today.
There is no where else in the world that will be as appropriate as returning to the land that inspired it, than sharing the book and allowing others the opportunity to discuss it. This comes with trepidation as well as excitement. For returning with stories that I have made my own, yet those that are shared with Palestinian’s in a land of so much hope, courage, strength and turmoil, will always be a difficult one. But this is an integral part of the journey. This is where it belongs.