Returning to Palestine: Youth are our future

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.

Published by Shereen Malherbe

Shereen Malherbe is a writer & author. Her novel, Jasmine Falling has been voted as one of the top 20 Best Books by Muslim women. Her second contemporary fiction novel, The Tower, is now used as academic set text in a US university. Her migrant children's book series, The Girl Who Slept Under The Moon was followed in 2022 with, The Girl Who Stitched the Stars. Her short story, The Cypress Tree has been published in World Literature Today's landmark edition on Palestine Voices. Her latest novel, a Palestinian reimagining of Jane Eyre, The Land Beneath the Light has been nominated alongside her children's book, for the Palestine Book Awards 2022.

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