When Would I Become a Bird?
By Mona Zaaroura

When I was young, I used to imagine that I was a small bird flying from one place to the other and landing wherever I liked. I used to stand in front of the mirror and sing like a bird would do. I used to cut wings from paper, draw on my face to look like a bird, and stand on the bed attempting to fly to the ground. My grandfather, who used to feel he was a tree planted in the land, always told me: "Become a planted tree because the land is everything for the human being. The person who doesn’t have land is not a human being . If I were a tree, I would have stayed in Palestine." I used to tell him that I want to stay a bird and land on his shoulders. But he would yell at me saying: " Go away, you will break my branches. You are not a bird." My grandfather passed away but I still felt like a bird. As I grew up, I started to realize that I could not be a bird because I am a Palestinian refugee. This meant I could not fly whenever I felt like because I had no land and eventually, I had no identity. I began to realize how important it was for a person to have a land in which he is implanted. But my land is there and I want to return to my land there, in Palestine. I want to return so that I would have an identity like my grandfather had before leaving Palestine. I want to return to be free to choose whether I want to be a bird -as I have always loved to be- or a tree as my grandfather had always wanted me to be.