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Weight and proud

Publié le Tuesday 30 September 2014

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I want to tell you about a man. To his question “Why me?” I said “Because you deserve to be known, I wish that my family and friends will meet you a bit through my text.”
This man is Mohammed, roommate and friend. But he is called by its name, like many others Mohammed.

It’s 8pm, I see him leaving his room after a quick nap. I can’t understand his rythm ! Sleep is when he can, where he can. Sometimes three hours in bed, sometimes 20 minutes on the couch, disturbed by the incessant passage of roommates or visitors for a night.
He is in a hurry - What time you start your work? - I have a “night shift”.
His work clothes: blue for the hospital where he has worked for 9 years. Blue as the color of his eyes. Two oceans in a smooth and powerful look, gift from his mother whose eyes are as intense. And ancestors perhaps; he speaks of Kuwait where his mother grew up, of Saudi Arabia, where his family tree is bringing him back, and also of ancient Bedouin origins. He is a Palestinian, a proud as much as a weight.
I have a smile seeing the crest on his head, that he takes care a little more before each work-day. Nice finger for his boss: a day of excess of zeal, the dictator of cranial hair asked the abolition of this hairstyle not required enough for her. She obviously did not know who rebellious she spoke.

It is 8 pm, an evening among others. The door barely closed and already the smells of garlic, cilantro and toasted almonds reach us. - Did you eat?
Fortunately not! Just get our feet under the table, unless he accepts a little help to finish. Battlefield in the kitchen, announcing the friendliness and generosity of a dish more than family size. Between full pans and attractive aromas, he is telling the news from the front. His daily war is to exist as he intends. Today, he still had to explain to someone that yes, his house was a guest house, yes, he was living with strangers,yes, among the foreigners there were girls. That’s a lot.
- My colleagues tell me to stop living differently, that I have to get married. That I’m 30, and it’s time to do it. But I don’t want this life, and that, they do not understand!
He must look like an alien for them. Like others who have chosen to be free from societal dogmas to be themselves. Each one take a sit, the discussion continues on the terrace around the small table where we all dropped off our confidences and our angers. This is his turn tonight.
He is not sad, he prepared himself to that. After so many obstacles to cross, he was used to the idea that the project would fail. - It’s sure now, I will not leave to Poland. The hospital refused to give me a year off, and quit my job would be a mistake, work does not grow on trees ...
I’m almost more disappointed than him. I know what it meant to him. One year for a new experience, for an opportunity to talk about Palestine in Europe, but also a year to breathe. Breathe an air a little bit freer from political occupation and social oppression.
He even smiles! That smile announcing happiness anyway ...
- Maybe I could go a month in France soon ...

It’s 8 pm, another evening. He can’t quit his smile. This exhausting day is also revitilising for Palestinians who, like him, are thirsty for a new wind. We spoke to us for a while about this group of activists for Palestine, for the reappropriation of the land by Palestinian, to know their history. He did not lie: a festive and relaxed atmosphere, with people from all over the country, including the territories of 48.
He already shows me pictures of the hiking trail on facebook. And I still have the voice of the child in my head, singing the song of Eid.
I am exhausted. - You enjoyed the day? You’re game for the next hike?
He apologizes for not spend a time with us. His sympathy magnetizes around him friends by dozens. I understand them.
Once more, his contagious laugh will lead us in the general euphoria. And once more, his listening will help us to clear what goes through us.

It is 8 pm tonight. He came back from a short break in his family. I’m thinking that truly, the guest house was very empty without him, despite of the occupants becoming more numerous in these times of “truce”.
- The university told me I was too old to go back to school !
His face is darkening, his blue eyes are now full of despair. After crossing an incredible numbers of obstacles to change his lifetime, it sounds like a return to square one. What to do here, except to live what it is expected, what remains the norm? The wave of fatalism passes through us all, one after the other.
This is not counting on his determination and his appearing smile that quickly lights his sad face. His strength is there. He knows that he is already on the way to becoming who he wants to be : he takes part from those who are able to recall the history of his city walking throught its streets, from those who work with others to built, from those who we can count on, from those who respect the traditions and open to the newness.
His weight : his country with too oppressive borders, with social codes too heavy.
His proud : to fight to live here, to live what he believes in, and to persist.

A.

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