Since that "insult" and I've been trying to imagine how my life would have been had I not been a refugee. Now, just a clarification, I am a born refugee, so my grandparents were the ones to endure leaving their land and house and coming all the way to Lebanon and living in camps and receiving aids from the UN and so on...
Had I not been a refugee, I wouldn't have heard my parents say thousands of times:
"We don't have a land, we don't have home..your university certificate is your home and land and the passport that would take you to places.."
I think this is the morning anthem in every Palestinian household, not only for Palestinians in diaspora but also in the Palestinian territories, so no wonder that the highest literacy rate in the Arab world is in Palestine.
Had I not been a refugee, I would have taken the concept of having a country for granted. The sense of belonging to a cause, a thought of a homeland, a dream, a struggle..wouldn't have existed. Now, blame me for being a naive romantic person but the notion of a homeland I always carried in my awareness...the images of Palestine painted by the sweet words of Mahmoud Darwish and the voice of Fairuz singing سنرجع يوماً الى أرضنا (One day we shall go back to our homeland), this all made the idea of "home" very precious, it made me appreciate and hold on to things that give me some sort of "sense of belonging" such as a loving person, a warm friend, a comfortable house and even a comfy car.
Had I not been a refugee, I probably wouldn't have understood what a man without a land endures and what that look of a lebanese officer at the passport control means (let's get back to this later). Probably my compassion and empathy for other refugees wouldn't be as genuine, but more importantly my pride to be a refugee myself and have made it this far wouldn't exist.
I'm not saying that being a refugee is a great blessing! It's not. It's a situation that shouldn't have been in the first place, but it is my reality, and my destiny, and yet I'm grateful for it because it showed me the meaning of perseverance and determination.
Today, 20th of June is World Refugee Day. I pray for a day when all refugees go back home!