The opinions expressed by students do not represent the views of Ramallah Friends School (FBS) and Friends United Meeting.
Music is terrorism:
People are so ignorant about Palestinian youth. They don’t realize we are also human beings. We are kids we are teenagers, we are not terrorists! I my self am a teenager, I am 15 years old. I live in two separate homes because my parents are divorced. My father lives in Jerusalem and my mother lives in Ramallah. Between these two towns there is a checkpoint. Or should I say a terminal on its own. I have a schedule of the days I go to Jerusalem and the days I go to Ramallah. When I am in Jerusalem I have to go through this checkpoint everyday, and believe it or not I have to have my birth certificate with me or they wouldn’t let me in Jerusalem; My own home and town! I get checked and searched everyday on my way back from school.

As I guess you noticed it is hard for us to travel. I am a musician; I play the piano and the bassoon. Every year I get the opportunity to travel with my conservatory to go to music camps around the world. When I want to travel overboard, I have to go get permission from the Israelis to travel with out my parents, and I spend hours and hours waiting just to get a paper signed by my parents and an Israeli who I don’t even know. Imagine having your life controlled by only one person who can deny the permission anytime he/she wants. After all the time I spend to get permission, I have to go through borders. And you wouldn’t believe how much trouble we get just because we are Palestinians.

Going to Jordan does not require a plane. We can go by car. But we have to cross the borders. Last year I was going to a camp in Jordan for The Palestinian Youth Orchestra. Of course I had my bassoon with me. We went through the first 2 gates which don’t require getting out of the car. But when we reached the third gate we had to get out of the car, take out the luggage and go into the passport checking area. But outside there is a little checkpoint where they check our luggage and ourselves. An Israeli soldier stands 5-10 meters away from it and a Palestinian must check us, because they are afraid we would have a bomb in our bags. So I go to this Palestinian, he opens my backpack and shows it to the soldier from far away, and she just nods her head. Then he opens the bassoon case, and suddenly the soldier starts shouting something in Hebrew which I don’t understand. The man asks me to back away. He holds the case and puts it on the floor. The soldier is shouting in the walky-talky, and in just seconds some armed security guy comes. He and the other soldier point their guns at the music instrument and start talking in Hebrew. Then they start talking to me in Hebrew, and I'm just standing there like a deaf person in a wedding! It seemed like they were asking what was the thing in the case, and I answer them "it is a bassoon". They look at me in this weird way because they don’t understand what a bassoon is. I keep trying to explain what it is and start acting how its played (with all the other musician friends laughing at me). And after one hundred tries we reach a point where they understand what a saxophone is and I say that it is something similar to that… so they back off and let me have my instrument back. And everything continues as if nothing happened.

This is just a tiny sample of what happens to me and my music. And just a microscopic sample of what happens to many teens here in Palestine; either with their music or with their whole lives. I said it before and I am going to say it again. We are not terrorists and we will never be. I have a whole future ahead of me, we all do. Americans and Israelis are stopping money and food from coming to us, and we are starving; just because they do not agree with our rulers, and our democratic rights. They have no right of doing this to us. We are musicians we are artists we are actors we are teenagers we are human beings.

By: Zeina

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