Traveling with a Palestinian passport

Schiphol airport. April, 2013.

I was exhausted, dragging my suitcase as if it was a heavy stone. I think it was a bad idea to choose the Schiphol airport, I regretted that for some reasons; the worst one is that I couldn’t walk anymore to my departure gate, because it was a big airport and I dropped off from that Egyptian plan in a hall which was very far away!. I got lost, so I had to ask strange people about my gate direction, and it took almost an hour to reach it.


When I passed by the airport security checkpoint, the employer took my passport and she gave it to a police. He asked me to wait close to a room full with polices and telephones!. There I found myself surrounded by that blurry question: Why am I here?.

‘Do you speak English?’, the police asked me.

‘Yes’, I replied. But he repeated the question adding,

‘We can bring a translator for you’

‘I don’t need.. I know English’, I said!

He wanted to make sure that I would understand him when he spoke English with me, so he started throwing questions at me, most of them were personal. I got angry with him, so I said:

‘Why do you treat me this way?’

He smiled saying,

‘Well, if I want to visit your country, you would do the same what I’m doing with you right now!’

I was a little disappointed with his answer, and said to myself,

‘Damn, diplomacy is not my business’.


I was still waiting to get back my passport when an hour had passed by, and that police was still coming back to me with more and more questions.  When only ten minutes were left to catch my plan, I got confused.

‘What’s wrong?’

I was sitting on a seat waiting for good news from that police, I felt sad when I was watching people pass by me happily waiting their turn to go into the departure gate.. I felt how much Palestinians struggle when they travel. I was like a little girl wanting to cry in her mom’s arms.


Two hours later, I went to the police and shouted:

‘You’re annoying me a lot, why do you do this?’

He quietly replied;

‘It’s my job!’

I smiled and went back to my seat waiting.


Then, that police came to me holding my passport.

I felt like things proceeded seemingly fine, he gave me it with a new ticket to Sweden. I felt like ‘WOW’, although I asked him about his name, he answered me with a wondering ‘Why?’

And I said:

‘Because I want to write about how bad you treated me’, and he murmured:

‘Ok, but why?’

‘It’s my job’, I said!

He sat beside me and explained me the matter of such ‘dangerous’ passports from countries like Palestine, and then he wished me a good trip saying:

‘When you write about what happened, don’t mention my name’.


I headed off to catch my flight. I was going through mixed feelings.

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