With the help of Gisha, a human rights organization based in what is now Israel, my mother got a permit to visit her family in the West Bank, 12 years after being locked in Gaza. “Your permit has been issued”, said Dina, from Gisha to my mother via mobile. “What?! what?! what?!”, my mother replied, stunned by this unexpected call, that she has been waiting 12 years for. I wonder, who was happier, Dina or my mother?
Tomorrow, my mother along with my youngest brother Omer, named after my eldest brother who was murdered by Israeli soldiers, will re-wind the tragedy of being refused entry for 12 years with a 2-hour drive to the West Bank city of Jericho. She will rediscover all the places she used to pass before, when she was allowed to travel there.
Tomorrow, a small part of justice will prevail. My mother will cry hard when she sees her brothers and sisters. She will cry harder when she sees her many nieces and nephews, who were born during her absence. Tomorrow, she will cry even harder before her parents’ graves, who were buried while she was stuck in Gaza.
She will tell them the story of her longing. She will describe it all: The day her Dad passed away in peace. The very day she asked the guys there to let her talk to him via telephone, the day she wanted to say goodbye for she was not able to be there like all of the others. She will tell her dead mother how much she loves her. Her parents will listen carefully to the story, not because she is a good story-teller, but rather because her story needs to be told. Tomorrow, my mother will speak her mind. She will tell ‘the invented story of the historical injustice committed against us- the invented people’.
She will remember it all: The way to her primary school, the snow-man she used to make somewhere in Bethlehem, and the hand-made school bag her mum used to weave, for they were very poor. I bet her childhood friends will also be in her list to visit.
This time, she will ask one of her sisters to prepare huwirni for her, the dish she never got tired of talking about while having lunch.
Tomorrow, rivers of tears will be shed. Countless smiles will be drowned. Tomorrow, the paradox of the Palestinian equation will be experienced. Tomorrow, my mother will see the better tomorrow she used to tell us about tirelessly each time she went through a misery. Tomorrow, the entire family once shaken by scattering, will live a better day.
Not being far away, I will feel her happy among her family members. I will feel her feet getting more rooted, where she was born, years after her parents were ethnically cleansed.
Tomorrow, the way to the city of the moon will be shorter than what some people want it to be.