Meriam

Home and oranges

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>> I cut an orange from the branch so that I could taste Palestine, but Umm Hassan yelled, “No! It’s not for eating, it’s Palestine.” I was ashamed of myself and hung the branch on the wall of the sitting room in my house, and when you came to visit me and saw the mouldy fruit, you yelled, “What’s that smell?” And I told you the story and watched you explode in anger.
“You should have eaten the oranges,” you told me.
“But Umm Hassan stopped me and said they were from the homeland.”
“Umm Hassan’s senile,” you answered. “You should have eaten the oranges, because the homeland is something we have to eat, not let it eat us. We have to eat the oranges of Palestine, and we have to eat Palestine and Galilee.”
It came to me then that you were right, but the oranges were going bad. You went to the wall and pulled off the branch, and I took it from your hand and stood there confused, not knowing what to do with that bunch of decay.
“What are you going to do?” you asked.
“Bury it,” I said.
“Why bury it?” you asked.
“I’m not going to throw it away, because it’s from the homeland.”
You took the branch and threw it in the rubbish.
“What a scandal!” you said. “What are these old women’s superstitions? Before hanging the homeland up on the wall, it’d be better to knock down the wall and leave. We have to eat every orange in the world and not be afraid, because the homeland isn’t oranges. The homeland is us.<< #eliaskhoury

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