Palestine to Sheffield: One month away from home

Sheffield University Student Union officially opened by Paul Bloomfield, MP for Sheffield Central, assisted by Malaka Mohammed and James Kenny

Sheffield University Student Union officially opened by Paul Bloomfield, MP for Sheffield Central, assisted by Malaka Mohammed and James Kenny

Yaffa to Gaza then Sheffield

I am of the generation of children born during the first Intifada, my grandparents are from the city of Yaffa, now a part of present day Israel. I have a sharp recollection of the stories my Grandmother used to tell me about our homeland: the scent of the orange trees blowing in the wind. There was nothing quite as provoking as the image of the trees standing tall, free. Growing up as a refugee in Gaza, I burnt these images into my mind, always telling my Grandmother that I wanted to see the land. She, like the resilience of the trees, reminded me to be strong, tenacious, and never submit to powerlessness, especially in the face of injustice.

My grandma died. God bless her soul. Yet she is still alive within us, within her children and grandchildren.

Throughout my childhood I have witnessed destruction, ruins, and the desecration of human rights. I watched my family and friends suffer from phosphorous bombs that were thrown on our region. What I experienced is indescribable. Sometimes I have sleepless nights.

I grew up in Al-Shijaeyah, Eastern Gaza; the closest area to the Israeli borders. Like the rest of Gaza we suffer from daily power-cuts and shortages of clean water. Also, given its proximity to the Israeli border, it is likely to be Israel’s first target during any invasion or escalation. My upbringing in Gaza, whilst wholesome and spiritual, two qualities I consider irreplaceable and perhaps specific to Palestine, was in sharp contrast to my experience so far of living in the UK, all of which will be elaborated upon in the following paragraphs.

The First Glance

When I first saw Sheffield, I was at the peak of happiness given the numerous narrow escapes I had crossing the Rafah border into Egypt. Travelling alone for the first time was quite difficult; I felt traumatized after my humiliated journey. I lost the ability to communicate properly and my sleep was infested with recurring dreams of the malicious policemen and soldiers in the Sinai dessert and Cairo who seemed hell bent on stopping every car bearing a Palestinian passenger. The experience in totality was de-humanizing. Of course, with time, these feelings subsided after meeting more people from Sheffield who each day have helped me create better memories.

The differences between Sheffield and Gaza were immediately apparent. The degree of peace and calm is so alien to me it was initially unnerving. Everyday in Gaza is unpredictable in comparison; before I could not imagine spending a day without hearing the sound of F16 or Apache jets hovering in the skies, infiltrating our daily life. It seems miraculous to behold a city where the electricity supply is continuous and clean water is freely available. I can travel freely where and whenever I want. The freedom here is inconceivable to someone who has spent their entire life in Gaza. The contrast is peculiar, unnerving and yet exhilarating.

Gaza is still inculcated in different aspects of my life: whenever I skype with my family, there is either a power cut or weak net connection and I can hardly hear their voices or see their faces. But this is better than nothing; life teaches me that there is always a bright side.

Another novelty in Sheffield is the multi-culturist nature of the city. Here I behold a community of students from all over the world, with different religions, colour and ethnicity, all of whom get on well and live amongst each other in peace. What I have learnt in the first four weeks cannot be easily squeezed in a few lines.

Solidarity Activism

The ‘Palestine Society – University of Sheffield’ first event was amazing. A lot of people attended a screening of the award-winning ‘Occupation 101′. The film shed light on the realities of the quality of life faced by children living in refugee camps in Gaza or the West Bank. It depicts the atrocities of house demolitions, land confiscation and the daily violence, from the perspective of the youth. I could see people in the audience crying. It all brought back floods of memories of Gaza. I thought of my mom when she got badly affected by phosphorous bombs. I remembered how she needed a few weeks to recover while other needs months or years. I then remembered the sea where I would spend the weekends with my friends. I felt a conflict of emotions afterwards, between hope and despair, the promise of life and death, of love and hatred. The film was a stark reminder and call to justice to free the Palestinian people.

In a meeting with Jill Evans, Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for European and International Issues in the European Parliament (EU), I spoke about the issue of the students stuck in Gaza. She was very kind to offer help by sending individual letters to people who can help. The moment I returned home, I wrote an email including a biography of a group of students who want to leave urgently to pursue their studies. Fortunately their prayers were answered and they were able to travel a day after I sent the email. They were at risk of losing their scholarships! I am planning to send her another group of students in the coming days.

Evans has visited both Gaza and the West Bank numerous times since 2000. She discussed the role of the EU in view of the guidelines adopted by the Executive European Commission in June, which stated that illegal settlements will be ineligible for grants, prizes or loans from 2014.

The Sheffield University Student Union actively campaigns against the siege in Gaza, taking practical steps to support Palestinians’ rights to education by fostering links with the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG). The policy was passed by referendum in March 2011 (1754 votes for, 959 against, 1146 abstentions). The Students’ Union resolves to become formally twinned with the IUG, working with students at IUG and other universities to actively campaign against the blockade of Gaza, and lobbying the university to implement an annual scholarship programme for at least one student from Gaza, and to inform Sheffield students, other Students’ Unions and the wider community of developing issues facing Gazan students. This year should be great in terms of working for Palestine.

My first Lecture

“We are the UK’s top politics department for research. We give people the tools to investigate and understand the way power is won and used in our increasingly complex world. Students love our world-class teaching and close sense of community. Every student must be proud she/he is studying in our Politics Department in The University of Sheffield.” The professor said.

I reached the seminar room half an hour prior to my class commencement. When the professor arrived he asked us to move our chairs to form a circle to facilitate the subsequent discussion. One of the most interesting parts was when the professor decided to “socialize” our lecture. He asked every student to speak in one minute about three main points; name, hometown, and hobby. I was quite surprised as everyone likes football and the best team is Arsenal. Many students surprisingly announced their relish in reading sadistic historical stories. “I love WWII books.” a student said pompously.

“Why, what do you love in that book!” the teacher wondered.

“I love Nazi Germany stories, how they fight, and the tools they use!” Answered the student, with zeal.

My turn was the longest. “My name is Malaka. I am originally for Yaffa to the north-west of Palestine. My family was forced to leave in 1948 Nakba to where we now live, Gaza!”

“You are from Gaza! That will be quite helpful in reality. Be ready for loads of questions every lecture about Palestine…” It was interesting that the history of an entire nation of people can be regarded the way a person in a museum looks at a glass cabinet of artifacts. It is sometimes easy to dissociate from the reality that these travesties are ongoing, relentless, and for some, an immediate reality.


I have had the chance to speak in a conference entitled “Confronting Israeli Apartheid; Building the Student Movement for Palestine” 12-13 October in the University of London Union and School of African Studies in London. The conference commenced with a workshop welcome and opening panel to introduce participants to boycotts, divestment and sanction (BDS) and campaigning on campus where participants shared their own experience during a long question and answer session. The conference included sessions on building effective campaigns, explaining Israeli Apartheid, divesting from Israeli apartheid, building an academic boycott, Israeli Apartheid Week and Right to Education Campaign. The final session allowed space for feedback from the previous workshops and discussed and agreed on next steps regarding communication, coordination, and Israeli Apartheid Week 2014. I met with many Palestinians and pro-Palestinian activists willing to help and support our cause. That day I had seen enthusiasm like never before. I had the chance to speak in one of the sessions about the effects of Israeli Apartheid on the Palestinian educational system and ways to support in the light of Sheffield-IUG twinning. Ans once again I was moved by the tears in the audience.

My First Eid, and Niece

I was surprised the day I left London when my friend told me happy Eid. “When is Eid” I wondered. “The day after tomorrow!” Having it far away from your family is not at all easy. The night before Eid, I managed to go to a mosque with my friend where I met with many people from Sheffield celebrating in different ways. My friend had plans to travel to see her family in Turkey. She asked me about my plans.

“I really don’t know. I have lectures!” I said. She asked if I will go back to Palestine for the next three days. “If it is that easy, I will not but go. Gaza is the biggest prison where Israel and Egypt, unfortunately, endeavor to intensify as much pressure as they can on us even if we are outside. Rafah crossing which is the only gate I can use to return and spend my holidays is closed.” I spent the whole night skyping with my family and my youngest sister started crying. I couldn’t carry on the call. When I managed to reopen my laptop and re-call my family, I read “Congrats, you have become an aunty”. My sister had given birth and I had become an aunt in the first day of Eid. I realized then that I am not there to touch or hug her.

October 18th

It is October 18th. I was planning to start my first essay about “Lotus Principle”. Then a message changed my entire day, “Can we meet today at 04:00 pm at Coffee Revolution, a place in Sheffield Student Union?” my friend messaged me. I went. And all my friends were there. I then recognized that it was my birthday! We celebrated together for the first time outside Gaza. It was strange because I noted a greater precedence given to celebrating birthdays compared to our culture back home. Whilst our birthdays are more a celebration of our mothers’ resilience in childbirth, I enjoyed marking this special day as it reminds me of the testament of the value of the individual.

Thursday October 24th

Ally Buckle, the current president of Sheffield University Student Union, messaged me when I was in Gaza asking if I could participate in opening a new building in Sheffield. “If I am in Sheffield, I will have no problem in that. But I don’t know when I will be out of Gaza big prison!” hesitantly I replied.

And it’s October 24th and I am in Sheffield. I was so excited to join Mr. Paul Bloomfield MP for Sheffield Central and the student James Kenny opening the new Student Union building. The moment Mr. Bloomfield said, “We are very pleased here to welcome Malaka from Gaza who will join me opening the new building. This is not only wonderful but quite important to have her sharing us this moment!” He then called James and I to go and got one balloon each then tied them to other balloons. It was an indescribable moment!

The event was preceded by a tour around the new building where groups of students in every corner tried to play a role summarizing a historical event happened years ago in Sheffield. A while after we opened the building, we are asked to take a photo together. And I saw my name engraved in a plaque in the student union wall.

This is an idea that is each day growing in my mind and relates directly back to the millions of Palestinians who each have the right not only for their physical freedom, but for the spiritual freedom to discover and pursue his/her own desires and dreams. This is ultimately what I am striving towards.

Reaching my destination safely, I still feel traumatized by the situation in Egypt

Students remain stranded at the Gaza-Egypt border. (Eyad Al Baba / APA images)

Students remain stranded at the Gaza-Egypt border. (Eyad Al Baba / APA images)

It was early morning last Wednesday, 18 September, when my father received a call from an official explicitly stating that no Gazan student would be allowed to travel via Rafah crossing at Gaza’s southern border with Egypt. I was shocked but insisted that I try nonetheless. After a few minutes of further phone calls and nervous hesitation, my father reluctantly gave his permission for me to try.

Within two hours, my long and perilous journey to the UK began. I reached the Hamas-controlled checkpoints leading to the border checkpoints with Egypt. It appeared that the decision to close off the border crossing was met with a fiery response from students whose right to study abroad was being denied.

The room was packed with chants and cries of protest. Many students soon joined them to arrange a sit-in demonstration, physically barricading the road. Unfortunately this came with great risk. Casualties were reported. In one instance, a demonstrator’s leg was broken by cars passing through the human barricade.

The policemen, in an unsuccessful attempt to control the situation, insisted that we retreat. Their efforts were dismissed by the student body, and after an hour of further protest, the head authority of the Rafah border crossing arrived. He made a statement that the crossing would be opened for students one day later, on the condition that we cease our protests immediately.


This promise was naturally met with skepticism. A spokesperson for the students, who had demanded written confirmation of this agreement, was then left with the responsibility to organize the whole student body and delegate members to collect students’ names and passport details, while the officials watched on with amusement.

The moment the registrar submitted our names, a blanket of silence and tension fell over the room. Some of us waited with tears in our eyes, contemplating our futures; a single decision determining the difference between traveling to the outside world to pursue our dreams of higher education, and the other possibility of being stuck behind. Some of the demonstrators fainted from the overwhelming anxiety and the oppressive wave of heat and humidity.

After ten hours of protest and anticipation, the room of more than 1,800 passengers was brought to a standstill with an anti-climatic announcement made by one of the police officers: “You have to leave; we have finished our work for today. Come tomorrow and maybe you will be able to travel.”

After an outcry from the crowd, the police quickly announced that the next thirty names that were announced would be allowed to pass through. Thirty names were called, and none of them were mine. When a few didn’t answer, some more were called.


The names Malak and Malaka were called. Malak did not answer. I could see the police quietly pronouncing my name once more. Seeing the announcer across the crowd, I made my way towards the two officers. “I am Malaka,” I said to them. To my astonishment, of all those 1,800 passengers standing and protesting for ten hours in the heat, my name was one of the few to be announced. It felt like a miracle.

I made my way to the table where I received my green departure card. I was told to come back the following morning at six o’clock sharp.

As I was turning to leave, I was struck by the sight of my friend. She was standing there crying after an entire day of anticipation. Her name had not been announced. My efforts to soothe her were in vain. School had already started abroad. A choice left in the hands of indifferent officials determined who could leave and who would stay behind. This meant so much in the lives of these other students. I could only hope that her day would come tomorrow.

The following day felt like one week tightly rolled into the compact space of 24 hours. It was the first time I had to say farewell to friends, relatives and the land that I have known my whole life. It was a personal experience that can’t easily be communicated.


I was one of many Gazans starting the day with these tearful farewells. And I was not comforted by the stench of hopelessness hanging in the stifling air.

After saying goodbye to my loved ones, I stood in line with my friend Rana. We exchanged nervous glances and agreed that further protests could possibly occur should we be left in the dark for much longer. We repeatedly asked the police officers what was happening, only to be told that the bus for the green card holders would arrive. We waited. Bus after bus stopped. But it was almost two hours later when our bus came.

Still, we were not allowed to board the bus. Instead, we were ushered from one line to the next, having our passports stamped and a series of questions repeatedly asked about our destinations and the purpose of our travel. Eventually we were led towards the correct bus. We could see the Egyptian military, tanks and police officers awaiting us with another level of hostility.

After another period of waiting, a police officer signaled for us to enter the next room, taking us closer to our bus. Moments later, he told us not to move any further. We were left dazed and perplexed, and were forced to wait under the baking sun for another hour.

We were finally led into the Egyptian hall, the last room leading to the bus. At this point we were separated from our luggage and forced to wait. After thirty minutes of negotiation, we were allowed to have our passports checked.

Little did I know it would be another five hours before my passport was verified. I reminded the police officers that the border would be closing in an hour and that I needed to have my passport returned to me.

Like the character K in Franz Kafka’s The Trial, I passed from one line of officers to the next, determined to get an answer that made sense and led me to my passport. I was directed from one empty office to the other, my passport nowhere to be seen. I could see my chance of leaving slipping out of my hands like grains of sand in an hourglass. With one last morsel of resilience, I kneeled on the floor and prayed. At last, my name was called and I was finally able to receive my passport.

Threatening situation

It was nightfall by that time. I was left to deal with a rather threatening situation for a single young woman entering Egypt.

Within Egypt’s current political climate, strict curfews are applied to drivers, resulting in a scarcity of transport at certain times. I knew that I was in a position where I would need to find transport urgently, or as the police kindly phrased it, I would be left to travel alone in the Sinai desert — an area deemed incredibly dangerous and volatile for all travelers, regardless of their gender and origin.

In a state of growing concern, I was fortunate to come across some of my international friends who were also leaving Gaza. Luck was on my side; they had already booked a taxi with a known Egyptian driver and kindly invited me to join them. During this drive to the hotel we were stopped and questioned by Egyptian military officers. They seemed particularly keen on questioning Palestinians.

Faced with blatant disapproval and derogatory body language, we were reluctantly allowed to pass when I had given suitable answers to the officers’ questions. I was lewdly and repeatedly propositioned by officers. The whole experience was humiliating and dehumanizing, to say the least.


Having reached the hotel, I parted from my friends. Feeling scared of the threatening atmosphere in Egypt, I felt very uncomfortable to allow myself even a moment of sleep with the fear that something would happen.

In my haste to leave, I booked another flight — with Emirates Airlines — to take me from Egypt to Dubai. I spent the rest of the night calling my family members and waiting in the hotel lobby, Internet access at hand, typing away at a laptop. In the background I could hear Egyptian television broadcasters spreading rumors of kidnappings and murders being committed by Gazans in the forbidden sand dunes of the Sinai desert.

I felt like an imposter, unwelcome in foreign lands, while really we practice the same religion and culture, speak the same language and ultimately share the same gene pool.

Having faced a last hurdle of interrogation at the airport, I boarded a bus and then the plane that would take me to the UK. During the sleepless flight, I started to reflect on my ordeal in Egypt. My only consolation was finally arriving in Britain where I would be able to pursue my study in international politics and law.

Upon reaching Gatwick Airport, I immediately noticed how kind and polite the immigration department was. The immigration officer asked me if I had my papers confirming my scholarship from the University of Sheffield. His only response when I told him that all my documents were in my other bag was “it is okay.” He had a soft smile. That was the last part of my travel.

I then waited for the head of the student union at Sheffield University, Ally Buckle, who kindly picked me up from the airport to take me to Sheffield. I have reached my destination safely, but I still feel traumatized by the situation in Egypt.


I also think of hundreds of students who are still stuck in Gaza and cannot leave. My friend Manar has lost her scholarship at Canada’s Trent University as she couldn’t make it to Egypt for a visa interview. My friends’ schools have started and Rafah has been closed for the last five days.

In Gaza, life is full of uncertainty. There is nothing you can take for granted besides corruption, cruelty and potentially a life of lost opportunities. These fears are never more than two steps from one’s own shadow.

The odds of obtaining an international scholarship are slim enough, never mind other circumstances that are well out of our control: obtaining a visa and finances within a short deadline, the journey through the infamous Rafah crossing, the political instability in Egypt, the blanket of curfews in the Sinai desert, the perpetual threats to a young woman’s safety, the cruelty and discrimination of the military and, finally, the flight out.

Nothing is certain, and a lifetime of aiming for greatness can be shot down in the blink of an eye.

‘Maybe it’s better not to dream,’ says Gaza student stopped at border

A chronically-ill Palestinian woman from Gaza trying to leave via Rafah crossing

A chronically-ill Palestinian woman from Gaza trying to leave via Rafah crossing

In Gaza — or the biggest prison, as its people like to call it — one can see signs of frustration and despair in every corner, since leaving or returning is forbidden, except with the permission of either the Egyptians or the Israelis.

Gaza has two main border crossings for travelers: the Egyptian Rafah gate and the Israeli Erez terminal. At Rafah, only those with permission to receive medical care outside and travelers (mostly students) who have managed to obtain foreign visas are allowed to leave, said Maher Abu Sabha, director of crossings in the Hamas government.

At Erez, the situation is no better. As one friend, Sarah, explained after she lost a chance to participate in a translation workshop in Jordan: “Despite the fact that I had permission from Jordan, I was denied permission from Israeli authorities to travel because they said I was not a humanitarian case.”

Mohammed Albaz

Albaz, 18, lives in a refugee camp in southern Gaza and has dreams of pursuing his studies abroad. He borrowed money to be able to take the required tests, such as the TOEFL and SAT.

“My hard work paid off, and I earned a scholarship to an American honors college in Dubai,” he says. “Although it’s not a full scholarship, I wrote letters asking supporters to fund me and I just barely managed it. I applied for my visa, and finally got after 85 days. Other students going to the same country but who live outside of Gaza got their visas in just four days.”

However, even after getting his visa, there were more obstacles to come. Although he obtained permission to enter Jordan, from which he planned to fly to Dubai, he still was required to get a permit to cross through Israel on the way there – a process that typically takes three weeks – if it’s successful. Time was passing, and he was dangerously close to the start of classes. Most students in Mohammed’s school had already arrived on Aug. 15. Spending a couple of nights at the crossing point was an ultimate torture for him. “It made me realize that I am not the only case; I saw hopes being crashed in the solid rock of our harsh reality and mine was next.”

Albaz’s school cooperated with him as much as it could, since the administrators knew what he faced. However, classes have started now, and Albaz realizes he may have to start all over and apply again next year. His college may give him another chance next year, but acceptance again is far from certain; there are no promises.

“Maybe it’s better not to dream,” Albaz says. “That’s better than seeing your plans get smashed into pieces.”

Manar Alzray

Albaz still has a sliver of hope. Others do not. Alzray, 23, is a recent graduate with honours in English language and education. “I, living in a refugee camp, am the oldest of seven girls and also have a young brother. My family is typically Gazan; my father’s monthly paycheck runs out in the middle of the month. We barely managed to fulfill the demands of Ramadan and university. My family supported my quest to study outside, since they believe I will set the path for my siblings.”

For Alzray, of all the challenges she has faced in the Gaza Strip, the Rafah crossing is definitely the worst.

Alzray was accepted by the University of Edinburgh but did not receive the necessary funding. She also received an offer from Trent University to study theory, culture and politics. “I was granted nearly 62,000 Canadian dollars from the Daughters for Life Foundation and Trent University to cover my two of years study. Applying to both Edinburgh and Trent was not easy.”

Alzray tried to submit her visa application online, since she could not reach the Canadian embassy in Cairo due to the closing of Rafah in the wake of Egypt’s political strife. “The requirement that held me back, however, was the fee of 125 Canadian dollars. I contacted the people in charge of the scholarship and they kindly paid the necessary fees from Canada and sent me the receipt by email.”

Unfortunately, the program on which the online application process was based experienced an internal server failure and submission stalled. There seemed to be no solution.

“My first semester at Trent started at the beginning of September and I could not get there on time. Yet, I have not lost hope,” says Alzray, who has received some of the best grades and test scores in Gaza. “My application to Edinburgh has been pushed to next year, and I am currently applying to Oxford University and the University of Cambridge as well. Next year, I am determined to be in Britain. I will have a pocket full of money and I will hold my head up high. I will be happy, and so will my parents. In 10 years, I will be telling my children this story and laugh at the hard times.”

It is this spirit that will be needed for hope to stay alive in Gaza. But there is a point when everyone breaks. When will it come for us?

9-year-old dies in Gaza, without fulfilling ‘human rights’ dream, to see imprisoned father

A nine-year-old boy Tariq Assakani passed away in a road accident in Gaza today. Tariq is the only child of the Palestinian prisoner Ahmad Assakani who is serving a 27 year sentence in Israeli jails.

The bus Tariq was traveling in was heading for a summer camp. It included thirty prisoners’ children. All have been injured and five are in a critical condition. All of the children have not seen their fathers for years.

Tariq’s father was detained more than eleven years ago. His wife was pregnant at the time with his only son. Tariq only met his father twice when he was three years old. Even hearing his voice was forbidden after that. The only way he could see or hug him was to keep thinking of him, wishing he could see or smell him somewhere, while sleeping.
 Tariq used to have a wish. He just wanted to hear his father voice. To hug him was his highest priority. And to talk with him was all what he wanted from his life. I know that his story is not like ours. His dream was not even a dream, in our own dictionary. He once told me that he only wants to be like any other child. He only asks for a father he has.

The video below was shot only half an hour before Tariq died. [From 2:14]

“Where is human rights? I demand all justice seekers to stand by humanity and freedom. I want to see my father, to hear his voice, to touch his body, and hug him for once. I always watch my friends go with their fathers to lovely places but I couldn’t. Simply it is because I don’t have a father or more particularly as he is far a ways from me. There are Israeli barriers. I don’t know why. My father is not a criminal. He lives in a dark dirty cell for no reason. He cannot see the Moon or even notice the Sun. He is dying to see me. I am too.”

Tariq said in a sorrowful tone summarized his story.

Posted in Mondoweiss


I used to live in Yaffa. Now,  I am a refugee, a Palestinian one. Being a refugee means never give up my right to return to my homeland. I was born during the first Intifada. My grandma used to tell me the story of our land; the part about the orange tree was the most beautiful of the whole city. I used to always say “want to see it.” She seemed to always have had the same reply “Malaka, don’t give up! Fight. Be strong. Do your best to have your right back.” She taught me that I should not be silent when I see others abuse our rights. My grandma died. God bless her soul. Yet, she is still alive within us, within her children and grandchildren. Since birth, I have witnessed destruction, ruins, absence of human rights! I have seen phosphorus bombs with my own eyes! What I witnessed and experienced is indescribable! Sometimes, I have sleepless nights; others, I lack the ability to focus and study! As I live at Al-Shijaeyah, to the east of Gaza, the closest area to the Israeli borders, this place will likely be Israel’s first target during any invasion or escalation. I suffer the power-cuts on a daily basis too. I can endure more and more for the sake of my return that is nearer now.

و دخلنا مينا يافا
يا طيب العود إلى #يافا
و ملئنا الضفة أصدافا
يا أحلى الأيام بيافا
#Yaffa Port

#يافا .. وهل ظلَّ بعدَ سحرِ الإسمِ ما يُقال
#Yaffa Sea

ميدان الساعة بـ #يافا قديماً
Al Sa’a Square #Yaffa

بفلسطين زماان ، كانت حضارة ، وموسيقى ، وجوقات ، حتى بالمدارس .. #يافا 1938
#Yaffa in 1938 where there was an amazing culture..

#يافا … عروس البـــحر
#Yaffa Sea

برتقال #يافا قبل الاحتلال الصهيوني ل #فلسطين
#Yaffa while harvesting oranges before the 1948 Nakba

السفن بمينا #يافا كانت توصل عالاسكندرية وبور سعيد جزء من بلاطة محفورة بالارض بالمينا
Ships #Yaffa Port used to reach Alexanderia in Egypt. The pricture shows part of the slab engraved in the Port

مدينة #يافا المحتلة مسجد حسن بيك
سنعود يا وطني وإن طال البعاد
#فلسطين كم أنتي جميلة، وكم سيزداد جمالك برحيل الاحتلال
#Yaffa Hassan Beikh Mosque

في #يافا ،، علم بلادي مرفوع
#Yaffa The Palestinian flag is there despite the Israeli flags.

شوفوا مكاتب الشركة وين كانت #فلسطين #النكبة #يافا
Wonderful that the travel offices used to be in five main cities including #Yaffa #Haifa #Jerusalem #Beirut #Damascus

عروس البحر #يافا
#Yaffa Sea

سوق #يافا عام 1880
“على أبواب يافا يا أحبائي
وفي فوضى حطام الدور بين الردمِ والشوكِ
وقفتُ وقلتُ للعينين: قفا نبكِ”
#Yaffa Market

سرقوا الأرض مِنّا ولكن لم يسرقوا حُبّها !
صورة لأحد شوارع مدينة #يافا المحتلة
One of the old city streets #Yaffa

شارع #غزة ب #يافا بحبه
#Gaza street in #Yaffa

يافا تدمير الاحتلال البريطاني لأحياء عربية 1936#
The British Occupation while destroying some Arab villages #Yaffa

@hiba_natour 7 Apr
ادمنت ع هواكي #يافا ، بحب هاد الصباح بشكل خاص، اهم ايشي الطقس:)
#Yaffa weather is “wonderful”

Iman • إيمانْ ‏@iman_khaled 31 Mar
ويافا والغيوم تطوف فيها كحالمة يجللها اكتئابُ ، كأن الجو بين الشمس تزهى وبين الشمس غطاها نقابُ * #يافا
#Yaffa and its Sea.

@yafa_ali 1m
#يافا صورة جوية في بداية القرن العشرين ( تم تلوينها )
#Yaffa a picture from a high altitude

نهر العوجا (اليرقون) – قضاء #يافا ..طوله 27 كم
#Yaffa Al-Oja river. 27 km.

ميدان الساعة بـ #يافا قديماً
#Yaffa Al-Sa’a Square.

@nosratalquds 27 Oct
جلسة بحرية مميزة في احد مقاهي #يافا المطلة على البحر سنة 1935 || #فلسطين
#Yaffa an old Cafe’ by the Sea

مشهد نادر لعرس من أعراس #يافا قبل النكبة
#Yaffa Wedding.

#يافا وأجمل ذكرياتها
بعدسة فيليكس بوفيس 1875
#Yaffa Sea in 1875

#يافا إعلان منشور في صحيفة فلسطين الصادرة بتاريخ 1947/6/15 عن توفر شيد حجري لزيادة البناء والعمران في يافا
#Palestine Magazine in #Yaffa published an announce about the availability of stones that use in building

@yafa_ali 10m
#يافا اعلان قديم لرحلة من القاهرة الى #القدس عبر يافا بـ الاتوبيس و بأقل من 3 جنيهات للشركة العربية للنقل خلال 12ساعة
#Yaffa newspaper, an ad in regard to a travel trip from Cairo to Jerusalem through Yaffa.

التحرير ليس فقط ميدان ،،، #غرافيتي في #يافا
#Tahrir is not only a square, this is what a Graffiti said in Yaffa

ليش هيك؟ #يافا
#Yaffa Sea 😦 Why can’t we go there?

من #يافا القديمة
The Old #Yaffa

مظاهرة ضد تزايد الهجرة الصهيونية لفلسطين ,, قوات بريطانية تهاجم المظاهرة . تشرين أول 1933 #يافا
A demonstration against the increase of the Zionist emigration to Palestine and the British troops attack the demonstrators

#أنتيكة: صورة عتيقة لأوائل الـ١٩٠٠ لجامعي البرتقال اليافاوي المعروف الآن بأنه أفضل صادرات “إسرائيل”
Collecting oranges in #Yaffa 🙂

@basemaggad 16 Mar 12
فاتورة ماكنة خياطة من ١٩٤٦ تعود لجدتي #يافا #فلسطين A 1946 sewing machine invoice belongs to grandma

#يافا جامع الجبلية في الحي الجنوبي للمدينة
Al Jabalia mosque to the south of Yafa

يافا : منظر عام من جهة الميناء #Yaffa Port

يافا : منظر عام من بيارات البرتقال. قبل 1914 #Yaffa & Orange groves

سينما الحمراء الشهيرة الموجودة في شارع جمال باشا #4. لاحظ العلم الفلسطيني على قمة المبنى Al Hamra Cinema #Yaffa

#يافا مدخل لسبيل غير مُعرف #Yaffa the entrance of a place called “Sabeel”

يافا : اسوار البلد القديمة #Yaffa, the walls of the old city

ممرات فى البلدة القديمة #يافا Alleyway in the old city

والجمال هنا يتجلى 🙂 More Palestinian home, note the old architecture

كنيسة اللتين ومدرسة تراسنطا #Yaffa Al-Latin Church & Taransta School

يت فلسطيني في حي العجمي #A Palestinian house in Al-Ajamy region

سوق الصلاحي عمارة الصلاحي/سوق فطوم #Al-Salahee market and Al-Salahee house

يافا : البوابة الشرقية لسوق الدير الذي بيع للمستثمرين اليهود The eastern gate of the Monastery Market, which was bought for Zionist investors

بحرك يافا ياحلم عيون الصياده خلف المينا #Yaffa Sea

مدرسة الفرير العريقة شارع الحلوة مقابل المستشفى الفرنسي #Yaffa Al-Freez School

قبور غير مبنية لشهداء المقاومة الذين دفنوا في مقيرة طاسو وهم مجهولي الهوية Non-built graves to the martyrs of the resistance who buried in Mkirh.

منظر لنهر العوجة الموجود شمالي المدينة بالقرب من الشيخ مونس وجريشا Al-Oja river #Yaffa

يافا والقطوف الدانية #Yaffa oranges

Yaffa – يافا : بوابة منزل في حي النزهة كتب علبة بالاحرف الانجليزية AN من هم أصحاب هذا البيت والحواصل حول #Yaffa this is the place where I used to live in.

يافا : فتاة عربية من يافا 1889 A Palestinian woman from #Yaffa 1889

يافا : نقل الحمضيات إلى ميناء يافا 1920 Jaffa: citrus are transferred into the port of Jaffa 1920

يافا : الحاوز خزان الماء A Water tank #Yaffa

يافا: مستشفى الدكتور فؤاد إسماعيل الدجاني 1935 Dr. Fuad Al-Djany Hospital

The photos are from

“A Real Jinn” Having a Twitter Account

Lots of people believe in ghosts, souls, Jinn, spirits of people but is it possible that one of those spirits claiming that s/he lives in Saudi Arabia made an account on Twitter. He “wants to know much about humans.”
The name of the account is (I am a real Jinn) and his first tweet was: “To all humans I am the first Jinn to use Twitter. Some might think that I am lying and I am just human. I am a real Jinn and you will see wonders in the future on my Twitter account.”
I don’t know what I can add. Time for your to explore the “Jinn’s account” and know more.


Down with Veolia: The University of Sheffield Palestine Society celebrates university’s decision to drop Veolia


Students from the Islamic University of Gaza(IUG) to Sheffield University students
“Limits are here no more”  (photo: English Language Society/ IUG)

“So proud of my University and especially the Palestine Society which I have had the pleasure of being a part of over the last few years. Today marks a huge achievement in the student BDS campaign and hopefully more Universities will follow…” Sarah Mitchell, a BA student in the Civil Engineering Department at Sheffield University commented after her university’s decision to boycott all services from Veolia.

Sheffield’s active Palestinian Solidarity Group has achieved notable results in their campaigns. Today, Thursday May 3rd marks one of the greatest triumphs that has been achieved after years of lobbying by student activists.

The University’s Palestine Society stated: “We are delighted that Accommodation and Campus Services have decided not to renew their waste management contract with Veolia Environmental Services. This comes after a year of concerted action and protest by the Palestine Society and the wider student body against the presence of Veolia on campus, as part of the Students’ Union’s campaign of Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against perpetrators of war crimes in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The University of Sheffield Students’ Union is one of the foremost centres of pro-Palestinian student activism, last October becoming the first Russell Group University to endorse the global BDS campaign, a year after becoming the first university in the country to establish links with a university in Gaza. Both of these policies were passed, by a large majority, in referenda open to the whole student body. Given this level of engagement with the Palestinian cause, the presence of a company like Veolia on our campus was simply unacceptable…

The waste contract held by Veolia was one of our main motivations for proposing the BDS policy last year. By passing it as official union policy it was possible to send a much stronger message to the university: that the student body as a whole does not want to incentivise companies, like Veolia, who suffer from such an abject lack of moral compass. Following the policy’s success in the October vote, we have worked with various groups to lobby and pressure the university into taking notice of the student voice. This has included an open letter signed by the Palestine Society and other campaigning groups, demonstrations on the concourse, letters from human rights groups in Palestine, Israel, and beyond, and direct lobbying from the sabbatical officers. It is enormously gratifying that university management appears to have been responsive to the concerns both of ourselves and of the wider student body. It is a testament to the thriving level of student engagement in campaigning and social activism here in Sheffield that we have now added the cessation of relations with Veolia to our list of historic firsts as a university. The hope is now that other student bodies around the country will gain inspiration and draw encouragement from this fantastic news.”

Sheffield Students are so happy for this decision. In Facebook, I have seen many posts from students everywhere congratulate everyone in Sheffield for this great success.


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Students from other universities are also excited for this decision. Maseeh, a student from the University of East London, is very keen to know his university decision in December. He hopes it will follow Sheffield’s footsteps.


From students in Gaza to students at Sheffield University, “we break the artificial borders, demolish all limits, and create mutual love and respect. We are jubilant for your tireless efforts &accomplishment.”


The Role of Women in the American Literature; Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

It might be credible to say that the old generation in any Muslim society is very feminist. In other words, they respect women, personally speaking. Yet, the West seems to have a different direction. Huckleberry Finn is one of the American masterpieces, as Hemingway said, where Mark Twain tried to focus on the American society and how women were treated in the 19th century. Yet, do the issues Mark Twain have tackled related to sexism in a way or another? Does this novel consider as a powerful one as it is dealing with such heated and striking topics like “racial prejudice”? Do these topics go naturally and normally or they are more than this? Can the reader say that Mark Twain is anti-feminist?


Throughout the western history, women have been subject to gender bias based on being the physically frailer fraction of any society. This always leads to a harmful sight of women. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, deliberately, there is no exception to this disgrace and stigma on women. Through society’s views, it is flagrant to observe the women in the novel are nothing unique. They appear very typical and dependent  The society expects them to do so much; after all they merely do what they are told to do.

Back to the writer’s life, his wife, Olivia Clemens, is very much reliant on her husband. She serves with no other true spot in life than to look after her unhealthy children and to run a house. She is always sick and attempts to hinder her husband’s ability as a writer. So did Twain place women purposely in such a bad situation or is it the society who inculcates this stigma and renders him into this style of writing? Throughout the novel, the most appeared women character, Miss Watson, plays into society’s system and policy. “Miss Watson, a tolerable slim old maid, with goggles on, had just come to live with her, and took a set at me now, with a spelling book. She worked on me middling hard for about an hour… I couldn’t stand her much longer.” (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Twain, page 2). “Once the thankless task of spinning cloth had been pushed off to unmarried women as a way to earn their keep in the home, the word spinster came into common use during the early 19th century Miss Watson is the image of everything an old maid stands for.” (O’Brien, 1973).

Personally speaking, Miss Watson is judged as a communal outsider surviving in the shadow of others. She makes others around her uncomfortable including Huck and Jim. The single stereotype of the downgrading of the individual to the role of caretaker is shown in her character. As unmarried woman stayed at home, she was expected to take care of elderly or ill relatives. It is no more than all her life and work. Miss Watson fits into society’s view of an old maid and Twain shows Miss Watson as a typical old maid of that time. Twain’s use of words brings up a psychological picture of feeble, frumpy, middle-aged woman who is somewhat dejected, and her desire to be like other “ordinary” women.

Miss Watson is not the only character mentioned in the novel. Her widow, Douglas, is no more than a caretaker of Huck. In this role, she represents the society. She is kind in her sight when civilizing Huck and making him a religious man. Nothing else could be expected out of a woman, especially a widow; she has no man for her. For her role in civilizing Huck, he respects her. So it has to be mutual? The one who commenced respect is women. If they respect, men will be respectful, in my point of view. As Douglas is a gentle woman, Twain shows through her that men like a woman with a kind hand. Yet, is this the reason why Miss Watson was an old maid while Widow Douglas was married? It might be. Widow Douglas gains her respect by people around her especially Huck. He always attempts to avoid all misdemeanors as he always worries of she gets disappointed of his behaviors.

Another example of women is Sally Phelps, the aunt of Tom Sawyer and the wife of Silas Phelps, who is a typical housewife and is totally dependent upon her husband. She has the same function of civilizing Huck. She does all the things any common wife has to do. In a way or another, she depicts what an average married woman has to do. The society gives her no right and she is helpless in her relationship. As an inferior creature, she is completely controlled by men and the society. Twain uses women to demonstrate how easily they can be taken.

Other young female characters have other functions of looking pretty for young boys like Huck. The mentioned three sisters in the novel carelessly give their father’s fortune to the men without any hesitation that these are their British uncles. Not only does Twain explicate how the female gender can be tricked, but how they must also be rescued.To conclude, Twain describes the situation in which women have been treated in the 19th century. Women can be described as individuals, such as the Aunts, Miss Watson, and Widow Douglas. They can be self-contained and hard working women, and well-educated. None of them could effortlessly be scammed; even though Aunt Sally is misled more than once. They do truly care about the boys and ill-relatives. As shown in Aunt Polly’s character. Yet, this is what they have to do. Women should be creative in other fields. It is not only taking care of children and ill-people. Instead, they have to empower themselves with information and date of distinguished and peculiar fields as politics and journalism, in my opinion.


A Painful-Joy Experience Near Borders


April, 26th 2013

Today I, along with some of my best friends from Scotland, Egypt, and Tunis, knew what painful joy could mean.

Through our tour, two places I “like” the most; the former is Young Journalist Radio Station. I just fully appreciated how the whole place is led by children under 15; the latter is when we went together to what-so-called Israeli borders (the green line). That moment I saw many guys who are only 10 square meters far from the Israeli tanks. They spoke directly with soldiers and their innocent voices spoke up and told everyone around that Palestine is our land and one day we will be free.

One of the Zionist soldiers did not like what the 17-year old child said about his own country. He got nervous. He took his gun and shot him in his leg. I was about to go where the kid is fallen down after being shot to shout on the soldier’s face and repeated the same sentence he has said. “Palestine will be free.” I am sad. I can’t be sadder. Yet, those heroes gave me indescribable strength. They are still teaching me life.

#اليوم كنت ع حدود #جباليا مع وفد اسكتلندى وكان فى مجموعة مواطنين وفجأة #جندى اطلق النار على شاب #فلسطينى برجله أمام عيونا.. #يوم_دامى بس حلو

Samer Issawi; The Story of Jerusalem


The first moments @Samer’s house after the news about his victory 

167 days and Samer Issawi will be free.
Unbelievable moments. I felt speechless. More than 24 hours of losing the ability of writing down a paragraph or two to express how happy and jubilant I was. Time used to be a quite terrible the last eight months. Yet, it can be changed at any time.

“It has been for more than 277 day since Samer Issawi, a Palestinian prisoner held by Israel, has agreed to end his continuous hunger strike in exchange for an early release in December 23rd”, said by his lawyer, Jawad Bolous.

In April 22nd, Samer has seen his family twice. I just do love this day and all its corners. Samer’s triumph taught us how we should be ready for any sacrifice as we are hungry for nothing more than freedom even if it costs us our lives. He is a symbol of liberty, love, life, hope, and Palestine. Samer has not ever surrendered striving for his goal of freedom and this is why his dream has come true.

The accord with Samer is on his own terms. “He will spend an additional 8 months to end all his military court charges without any other legal actions against him regarding his former case and he is going to be released un-conditionally.” His Lawyers added “We got the “agree” from the Israeli Military court and from Samer. As Samer accepts this, he has resumed his supplements as of “midnight April 22nd. He has also ended his strike by April 23rd afternoon.

According to the lawyer, “Issawi sends thanks for every single person and organization that has stood by his side and supported his fight for freedom. He has insisted all along that he would not agree to be exiled, like other released prisoners had Going back to Samer’s case in Israeli jails, he has spent 10 years in jails.

Israel freed Samer in 2011 along with more than 1,000 Palestinian detainees in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in October 18th, 2011. He was re-arrested last July after Israel said that he violated the conditions of his release by crossing from his native East Jerusalem to the West Bank, both majority-Palestinian areas, and ordered him to stay in jail until 2029 – his original sentence.

It is important to mention that “Israel holds some 4,800 Palestinians in its dirty dark small cells and 207 Palestinian detainees have died in Israeli jails since 1948.” Palestinian officials said. After Samer’s freedom, the Palestinians will continue to be committed to the cause of all political prisoners which is fundamental to the fairness of Palestine and the return of our refugees.