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Aisya, you are greatly missed

May 16, 2008

It was Palestine’s 60th commemoration of the Naqba or catastrophe yesterday. Nothing to celebrate as this is not some fun-party events but more to the opposite. Yesterday, Palestinians rallied at the border between Gaza and Israel demanding the “right of return” for some 4.5 million UN registered refugees in camps across the Middle East.

How would you imagine Palestine as a country really is? Over the years you could see images of children crying, people dying from wounds, women wailing and the men? Men or boys as young as ten with stones in their hands, ready to fight.

When I was in the UK, one of my classmates was a Palestinian girl, Aisya her name. You could tell from her facial expression of bad experiences that she had had ever since she was small. I was a bit cautious when I said hello to her, as she was a bit reserved.

Times over, we became close, as we were the only two Muslims in the class. When we chatted, I didn’t ask her how Palestine was, she was the one asking a lot about Brunei and found our country mystifying, she said in her words. Why? Because Brunei, according to her is a Muslim country and yet so much different from the Middle East. I told her that Brunei is a moderate country.

One day I saw her reading a letter from home. She was crying – she left class very early and I only saw her the following week. I found out she was mourning for the loss of her two brothers.

I was a bit angry with her because all the time, she didn’t let any of us to visit her place or actually a room she rented out so I didn’t know where she lived. Otherwise I would have visited her and accompany her but no, she wouldn’t allow that.

Of course I felt sorry for her loss, that’s when she started to open up more. She told me how since she was young, she was used to bullets passing through their many homes and once or twice, missed her by an inch. She was determined to get a ‘western education’ and saved up all her money so she could study. Her brothers have different aims in life, so she told me. You could guess what these are.

Yes we both passed our studies and left UK. I sent her letters many times over and didn’t hear anything from her since that day we parted. I pray for her well-being…Personally the sufferings of the Palestinians are beyond words. On this Friday morning, I could only pray for the end of all the misery all over the world. Amin.

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