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The Palestinian Way

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I was 15 at the time, but I wasn’t living the typical teenage life. I was living an adventure of my own, the Palestinian way, trapped in the hallway with my family, with no food, no electricity, just a battery-powered radio to keep track of the news. The only sound we could hear was the sound of the bombing, and we could smell the death and destruction around us.

Food was never significant to me. It was simply available just like oxygen. However, in 2002, it meant survival. Ramallah was under curfew for weeks, and the only things moving in the streets were tanks. No one could leave the house or even move between the rooms. The kitchen where my family always gathered was, for once, empty.

After three weeks the curfew was finally lifted, but only for a few hours. You should have seen the streets! They were packed with people running to the stores looking for food. My father left on the same mission, and we waited anxiously for his return. After a while he stepped in, carrying a live chicken squawking and flapping. Who would have guessed I’d be so happy to see a live chicken in our building?

My parents, brothers and I worked together to prepare that chicken. One brother held it very tight so it wouldn’t run away, while my father brought the biggest knife we had. I couldn’t stay to witness the slaughter in the kitchen in spite of all the killing I’d seen around. I went to another room and came back later to help my mother remove the feathers, wash and cut the bird. I’ve never tasted better food in my life, or felt so happy to be gathering in our kitchen.

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