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The dream of return to Palestine of the passed-away palestinians still lives in me and in you……….don’t you ever dare and give this up

Contributed by Mike Zarifa on 27.11.2008:

I am writing these lines in memory of my beloved grandmother, V J, who died some years ago after some complications in the brain. Her last words were, “take me to Jerusalem. I want to smell the Jasmin and the Reyhan of Falastine.”

After a while I decided to go to Palestine/Israel to pay a visit to Jerusalem, exactly to the Qatamon (Gonen) area where my Grandmother was born and raised. Although I never saw Palestine before, I was so emotional. The stories that my grandma used to tell me every night have shaped my identity to the very core.After a long and exhausting search of the house, I was terribly shocked when I discovered that the house where my grandma was born and lived was taken by Jews. I stood still just across “Grandma’s house” and started taking some pictures. Suddenly appeared a 60 something old lady and asked me what these photos were for. I thought for a couple of seconds and then told her “I am just taking some pictures of the houses in the area because I live in France and that I love the architecture of the buildings here!” As soon as she heard the word France she took me for a French Jew.To my dismay, she invited me in for tea. I hesitated at first then agreed after she insisted. I stayed in the garden and she rushed to the kitchen to make some tea. Meanwhile an idea crossed my mind. I took some soil from the ground and dubbed it in my knapsack. The woman came back with tea and some biscuits and then started talking to me in perfect French. Apparently, she was a French Jew herself who immigrated to Israel after her daughter died with her family in a car accident and decided to come and stay with her son in Jerusalem. I felt sorry for her. As she went about telling me some stories back then in France, suddenly I remembered my grandma and couldn’t stop thinking about her. I felt as if she was there. I could feel her spirit moving and dancing around the house–I thought I was going crazy. I then excused myself and apologized for any inconvenience and left. On my way to the hotel, I went to the Old City where I got some Reyhan and some Jasmin extract to take them with me to France….

When I got back to France, I went to the cemetery to visit my grandma and showed her what I have brought along with me—some Jerusalem soil from the house where she spent most of her beautiful years as she used to say, and tucked the soil on beside her so that she “could feel it”, and scattered some Jasmin and Reyhan leaves on her tomb….

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