Never lose sight of an important experience.
Leaving isn’t difficult. It’s coming back that breaks you.
“So how was teaching terrorists all summer?” my aunt asked contentiously as we lay on the beach at the lake, August 2000. Like every summer since I was two, we were taking a week of family vacation to waterski and tan and fight over nothing. And like every summer, I was pretty sure I was going to punch a family member. But now for legitimate reasons.
I had just returned from the Gaza Strip where I had been teaching English to Palestinian Jr. High students. To this day, Gaza remains one of the most crowded, most impoverished, most hopeless places I’ve travelled. And I’ve been to a lot of shitty places. Beautiful, hospitable people, caged in like cattle. And that was fourteen years ago. Fourteen more years of siege. Of bombing. Of a relentless de-humanization campaign. Of tunnels and kidnapping and retaliations, and “you’re right” and “I’m…
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