Here, I was Born

Sameeha Elwan

10th February, 2010

I was born. Neither this was my choice, nor is it my choice to die. But, there’s no place to retrieve; such a virtue, I was not granted by the privilege of being born, Here. The night I was born my mother said she doesn’t remember. My father claims it was curfew time, and for me to get born, he had to pass through every single street putting my life, his, and my mother’s in danger. Maybe that’s why each new street I pass through in this city always looks familiar. My father was and is still not a hero, though. The circumstances of the night in which I was born have been mysterious. Here I am, assuming I was born at night, for I couldn’t have been born in daylight, I guess. The time is no longer of great significance. Let me start all over again. I was born. Here. “There” was the unknown – the place my soul has always aspired to reach, my foot never stepped, and my mind seldom comprehends. Here is all I have known since the day I was born. What remains of my memory is all connected to these unattainable lands which I have never lived in, but which have been living in me. Everything, here, is connected to there though forcefully alienated. I wander through the streets of the old part of my hometown and see me wandering and gazing elsewhere. The walls of the market where they sell gold for the happily-living-after brides are similar to those I’ve always pondered in the picture hanging in front of my bed for the old town of Jerusalem. I can see Jerusalem through the movement of the people and the cacophony of the peddlers. I can see Jerusalem in the sound of the mosque declaring it’s time for prayer. In the small mosque by which I pass everyday, I see Jerusalem. In the determined look of a little child, I see Jerusalemite children challenging the non-identified rifles. And though their ugly alien faces might deny me, each part of the land would acknowledge that I was born Here, and There, and There, and There…