Reem Hassan/Daily.

To be Palestinian is to know

73 years of occupation 

73 years of Palestinian displacement

73 years of Palestinian death

73 years of apartheid

73 years of ethnic cleansing

as facts that disgustingly seem almost as natural as air itself

as facts that seem to be given, that go without saying

as facts that many of us don’t know life without.

To be Palestinian is to know 

Resistance in the face of oppression 

Resilience in the face of brutality 

Patience in the face of injustice 

Strength in the face of weakness 

To be Palestinian is to know 

that Palestinian resistance is not just any type of resistance

It is a type of resistance that exclusively runs in the blood of Palestinians 

A type of resistance that perseveres even when the whole world turns away 

A type of resistance that spits in the face of oppression 

A type of resistance that laughs at any attempt to be silenced 

And a type of resistance that thrives on the love for one’s people

and the yearning for their liberation 

To be Palestinian is to know 

the feeling of disgust that arises 

when Zionist propaganda claims that Palestine served as 

“a land without a people for a people without a land” 

in justification for outright colonialism  

The feeling of disgust that arises to hear the complete erasure of my lineage 

A lineage that I can trace back generations and generations in Palestine 

A lineage that I would have not come to simply be without 

To be Palestinian is to know 

that my grandparents are older than the state of Israel 

That my grandparents felt the direct wraths of the 1948 Nakba 

That my grandparents carried the burden of being 


forcibly removed


from their homes

made refugees in their own land 

Land and homes that they built and tended to with their bare hands 

To be Palestinian is to know 

that my grandmother, Khadija Sadeq Abdeljaber, came so close to being a victim 

that she tasted the bitterness of death 

before surviving the 1948 Deir Yassin massacre 

in which Zionist troops raided the village of Deir Yassin located in the outskirts of Jersualem 

massacring over 250 Palestinian Arabs and exiling the rest 

Piles of Palestinian corpses burned

Individuals tied to trees and set on fire

She survived 

but watched everyone else around her get slaughtered in the process

Livelihoods stolen from right beneath them

Homes never returned 

Booted to fend for themselves or die 

As if they were foreigners  

To be Palestinian is to know 

That decades later when my grandmother returned to the village her family built 

she found an Israeli family living in the home she once lived in 

completely unchanged otherwise 

Same furniture 

Same decor 

Some members even wearing the clothes that were left behind

but completely oblivious and ignorant to how

Palestinians were massacred and displaced

in order to give these settlers their homes

Homes these settlers somehow still felt entitled to 

To be Palestinian is to know

that just because my grandmother survived death 

does not mean her life was smooth sailing

That she was subjected to a long life of displacement after displacement 

Being refugeed and vilified 

Made a second-class citizen

in the land she called her own 



tending to

seven children of her own under occupation 

who went on to live the same lives as she once did 

To be Palestinian is to know 

that my cousin, Yousef Khamees Hassan 

was violently killed at 32 years old 

after living the entirety of his short life under occupation in Jerusalem 

Attempting to make ends meet for his family 

took a job in public transportation 

Savagely strangled with barbed wire by a mob of Israeli settlers 

who attacked the bus he drove 

Corpse hung to be found by others

Killed in cold blood

No arrests made

No justice given 

To be Palestinian is to know 

that I am the daughter of individuals

who were born into occupation 

Who lived under the systemic oppression of the Zionist regime

Who only knew life without freedom 

before it ultimately drove them into exile 

Serving as living embodiment of the ongoing Nakba

Born into a society that once thrived

But was made unlivable 

Suffocating those who stayed

and forcing the rest the make the decision to leave 

To be Palestinian is to know 

that my father was displaced three times and made a refugee in his own land

before he even finished middle school

That my grandfather was born a free man

but died in exile to the land that he was indigenous to 

That my family is filled with tragedies of

lives unjustly lost 


freedom fighters

To be Palestinian is to know that 

such stories and traits are not exclusive to my family

That almost every single Palestinian has similar stories 

and carries the same




all rooted in the desire for freedom 

To be Palestinian is to know 

that today I am a proud first-generation Palestinian American 

Daughter of immigrants 

Granddaughter of refugees 


Living embodiment of the ways in which 

I am still being impacted by the ongoing Nakba

a shared catastrophe 

Unable to enter my homeland without security troubles

military checkpoints plaguing our every move 


strip searches 

“randomly selected” 

special screenings

Fueled by the dedication I’ve vowed to the cause of my people

to do everything I can to fight injustice 

study policy

attend law school 

initiate change 

large scale

To be Palestinian is to know 

the feeling of being silenced as a Palestinian

The feeling of attending an institution 

that pays no regard to the Palestinian voices or lives, for that matter, on their campus

Neglecting the fact that Palestinian students 

have been calling for their voices to be heard by administration

for years on end

The feeling of being targeted for speaking out 

The fear of my future being ruined 

for simply standing up for what is right 

Of advocating day and night for cause 

to only be met with claims that my cause

the Palestinian cause

is much too complex to be discussed blatantly

To be Palestinian is to know 

the frustrations of explaining

why it’s insensitive and tone deaf 

for an article 

to describes the ways 

People of Israel turned ongoing airstrikes into a drinking game

Why it’s misleading to neglect the power imbalance

between the two entities at play

Why Gazans should be at the forefront of discussing

what it means to be bombed 

Why anti zionism is not antisemitism 

Why I should not be inherently labeled as spreading hatred

when I call for justice that has long been deprived of my people

To watch as news sources ignore Palestinian suffering

and wait for Hamas to react 

before beginning to inaccurately cover 

human rights violations and war crimes

and how phrases like 





Both sides 

Are inadequate in describing what is actually 




State sanctioned violence 

Ethnic cleansing 

Illegal settlements 

War crimes 

That there is not “both-sides” 

rather an oppressor and an oppressed

To be Palestinian is to know 

that Palestinians are not a monolith

That I live in relative privilege 

That I will live my entire life as a Palestinian 

without knowing the feeling of 

being scared that I will go to sleep in a home 

wake up under the rubble of that home  

Without knowing the feeling of

of questioning whether or not I will be killed 

by airstrikes that have rained on my city of hours on end

Without knowing the feeling of 

living my life in an open-air prison 

That Palestinians are not simply




That war in the “Middle East”

should not be seen as normal 

That occupation is not normal 

That bombs falling on Palestinian civilians 

is not normal 

nor is it “just part of war”

That we have a humanitarian crisis on our hands 

and not a political one

To be Palestinian is to know 

That every Palestinian 




lost to ethnic cleansing and colonialism 

was once a 

Sheikh Jarrah 



That what is happening this summer 

is nothing new

Just a continuation of 

the systematic effort to 

expel Palestinians from the land entirely 

that has been ongoing for 73 years 

To be Palestinian is to know

that a random American 

who may or may not have ties to the land

has more rights 

to visit


gain citizenship


Than Palestinians who faced expulsion do 

Being forced to 

carry permits

identification cards  



visiting rights 

Subjected to 

denials of entry


Despite the fact that 

Palestinians know no other homeland 

If this is not injustice then what is?

To be Palestinian is to know 

that the bottom line lies in this:

The same entity that oppressed earlier generations of my family

and actively oppresses Palestinians today 

is nothing more than 

a settler colonial state

built upon the expulsion and massacre of indegenous Palestinian people

denying them their basic human rights

breaking countless international laws to do so

and I should not need to carry the emotional burden

of sharing my personal stories 

of Palestinian death and destruction 

for that to be understood 

There’s nothing complex about it 

And with all this being said 

To be Palestinian is to know 

That my roots run as strong and deep 

as those of the hundreds-of-years-old olive trees 

that my ancestors planted 

with their bare hands on their land 

Olive trees that thrive hundreds of years later

just like the Palestinian fight for liberation 

That even shattered glass still glitters and gleams 

And 73 years later 

we tell them we still resist

MiC Columnist Reem Hassan can be contacted at

Editor’s Note: On June 28th, a verse in the poem which alluded to internal Daily meetings was modified.

Editor’s Note: On July 1st, a phrase in the poem was modified to better reflect the cited author’s identity.