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169, May 2012 Latest update 9 2014f August 2014, at 4.39 am
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The Last Word - I will not be discouraged

I was curious the other day to find out who actually wrote the widely used Arabic proverb

“ما أضيق العيش لولا فسحة الأمل” which roughly translates into “How suffocating life can be without a ray of hope.” When I searched Google, to my surprise the phrase came up in 87,200 results and turned out to be a stanza from a poem written in 513 of Al-Hijra (1119 AD) by Ismail Al-Tughra’i. I was amazed to see how many times this phrase was used and documented, but on the other hand, I was consoled to know that at least for the past 900 years, people have been clinging to hope to keep them going and not give up. I suppose some things just never change!

In normal settings, hope is second nature. People open businesses hoping to succeed; they get married hoping to settle down and start a family. Students study hoping to get good grades, and even gamblers play hoping to make money! Hope, however, is not second nature to the one in seven children of the world who, according the World Health Organization, will go hungry tonight. Nor is it so for the estimated 1.7 billion people living in absolute poverty today. The list of course goes on.

When it comes to us Palestinians, I’m afraid that prevailing circumstances do not leave the average person hopeful. All we see is a government in Israel trying to fool everyone all the time while obviously having no interest in relinquishing land for a truly independent Palestinian state. We hear of an upcoming American election which reeks of personal interest rather than national interest, let alone the total absence of fairness or justice, at least as far as our people is concerned. We see a disunited Europe with economic woes unable to take a courageous and moral stand against injustice and human rights abuses, which negates the very principles of its foundation. In fact, we see a world which operates by might rather than by right. One day’s oil sales from any one of our rich Arab brethren would salvage the economic crisis our government is facing. I suppose someone at the Palestinian Authority is still hopeful that money will come! Finally, to add insult to injury, we see a United Nations with scores of unimplemented resolutions. With all that, however, one wonders why Palestinians are still so feisty, still so adamant in demanding their rights. It surely leaves one with the impression that they are far from throwing in the towel!

Whether it is hope that drives Palestinians to believe that one day justice will prevail or self-confidence in their ability and in the cause, the fact remains that in this day and age, you cannot abuse a people forever and simply get away with it; surely not one with a culture as vibrant as that of the Palestinians. I am blessed with a job that seeks talent, good news, good deeds, creativity, passion, and success stories. How can I possibly be discouraged when I witness first-hand an incredible amount of all the above? It gives me great pride and encouragement when I read and publish particularly what the new generation is writing. I come across so many beautiful, passionate, and human success stories and learn about amazing people doing amazing things that my heart just fills with pride and hope. I can’t even keep up with the thousands of remarkable postings on Facebook which not only reflect a savvy generation but also one that cares and that is active politically and socially in a very sophisticated way. Don’t you dare tell me that this is a minority group; it is not! This is my Palestine, the one that I believe in, and this is my people.

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