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  Volume 16, no. 1, January 1973
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Growing Up Palestinian
Fawaz Turki


November 1, 1973

In the year 1948 Israel became a state and I became stateless. For the next 25 years Israelis were building a nation and I was inhabiting a world of nothingness in which I experienced no halcyon period, no moment when my very essence as a man was not negated and my very rights as a human being were not dismissed. In 1948 the world applauded the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. I was a Palestinian, and the Jewish homeland was being established in my country, at the cost of displacing me and creating in us all a nation in exile,

Tired of historical arguments and counterarguments, quotes and counterquotes, I have spent a restless part of my growing-up years trying to define my status in this world of nothingness that I have been forced to inhabit; I have searched for human and political resolutions for the reciprocal nexus that binds the political to the existential in my reality, for the link between my father's past and my own present, between this generation of Palestinians and Israelis.

As I do this, however, I feel acute anger engulfing me to see my people living as third-class citizens in Israel, living under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza, living in refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, and fragmented around the world, unable, like me, to enjoy the privileges that other people take for granted. As I do this, my world becomes more intolerable. As I do this, I feel as if I am both the observer and the observed in a kinetic, desperate dance sequence that I do not comprehend and have no control over.

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