As I’ve been living in Sweden for three years and since then I haven’t visited my country, Palestine, for several reasons, the main one is the political situation there. And because I’m from Gaza Strip, the most conflict zone in the country, it was too away to think about travelling and seeing my family there. It’s possible to enter the city, but then it will be very difficult to get out due to the siege and the long queue of people who wait their turn to travel! Anyways, I’m still not ready to get stuck in the Gaza Strip again. I lived there for 24 years, so I think that visit will not add too much to my life, but only bringing back memories and fear.
The plan now is visiting the outside of that shell which is called ‘Gaza’. Yes, I want to take the risk and go to the other side of the country where I never been. I always watched it on TV when there was news or documentaries about it. Otherwise, I have no idea about how my country looks like. Well, when I was at the school I studied history and geography, of course Palestine took the big part of these subjects. It was weird to study about my country and not be able to witness or experience the real land, it was just information and images printed in books. I felt sad and motivated to know more and to think of a way to get to know my country in personal, but it was impossible.
Recently, as I applied for my Swedish citizenship, I’ve been thinking of travelling to Palestine, this time as a Swedish, not as a Palestinian. I’m not sad about this, on the contrary, I’m happy, because Sweden gave me the opportunity to be a person with a peaceful identity that would allow me to travel wherever I want.
I was sitting with some Swedish friends and talking about my dream of travelling to the West Bank and the ‘48 authority (now called Israel). I was filled with vague emotions, excited for the trip to see the country for the first time ever and afraid of getting disappointed. But, so far, everything is just a dreamy plan. Next step is to make it true, and that will be the adventure.
When I get my Swedish passport, my name and my birth place will be registered in the passport, and that will be a problem when I apply to travel to Palestine. Being registered as from Gaza is politically incorrect to be allowed to enter the country as my information are already registered in Israel. So, what should I do?
Plan number one:
To change my name from Kawther Abu Hani to Bridget Anderson. So, I can travel totally as a Swedish. Another name would help, but the problem now is the birth place. Well, I can tell them that my mother is Swedish and my father is Palestinian, they met in Gaza long time ago and they decided to bring me to life with a Swedish name.
Plan number two:
To do like in the movies, pack myself in a bag and fly away. When the police catch me later, I will tell them that I was riding a donkey in the sky and I fell off founding myself in Jerusalem.
Plan number three:
Back to reality and apply for a permission to enter the country. If it works, I’ll be the happiest ever, I’ll visit all cities, eat plentily of Palestinian food and enjoy every second there. If it wouldn’t work, I’ll keep watching the country from away and live my life.