Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Arab Youth and Tranquility

Today, it was very clear for me how many of the Arab youth were exposed to life-defining moments and events that drastically changed them forever. Many life-changing events have shaped our mind-sets, fears, hopes and interpretations and that’s a fact no one would deny.

I was having breakfast along with Arab friends in Sweden, in a very tranquil hotel in Skytteholm, that’s a part of the Solna Municipality in metropolitan Stockholm. A lovely Egyptian journalist, a wonderful Palestinian researcher, and a Yemeni journalist and blogger (that’s me) were delightedly having breakfast. We were discussing how calm the place seemed to be and how we were feeling that it was strange that such a calm and stillness do exist! We all were surprised by the fact that nothing of what we know and live in was not happening there.
My Palestinian friend was saying; I come from Qaza and it’s very strange for me to be here; having a feeling of anticipation for a bombing happening in any moment here like how I always experience in Qaza. “See! In Qaza, in any given moment, there could be a bomb happening and we are all expecting that to happen all the time. I’m kinda already programmed to expect bombings!, she told us.

“For me, even though I’m here, in a calm and very peaceful place, I have a sense that I’ll see the security forces coming from anywhere and catching me! Taking me for investigation or whatever! I just think about that all the time, even though I’m here and nothing of that could happen here. It’s very strange but funny!,” told us my Egyptian friend.
Keeping in mind that I live right next to the change square in Sana’a, where all the pro-democracy chanting taking place, I told my friends that when I hear the silence, I look for hearing the chanting and I realize that there is no chanting here in Sweden! Then, I discover that I’m in Sweden and not in Yemen. Regardless that I’m in Europe but my heart and mind is still in Yemen. For a girl who’s whether protesting or living next to the protest, it’d be difficult to have silence or tranquility. In Sweden, when I hear the silence, I hear that I’m not listening to the chanting! Gosh! I miss chanting :(

Most of Arab youth are psychologically changed and definitely would have a new perspective towards tranquility. Anyhow, we laughed and continued our breakfast in the beautiful and calm Skytteholm.

*I’m one of the participants at the Swedish Institute’s international program “Young Leaders Visitors Program 2011”, in Sweden. Around 25 young Arab people from the Middle East and North Africa countries were selected by the institute from around 570 applicants.