Everyone has bias. I don’t believe in human objectivity. Whether you are informed or not, that’s your bias. If you do or don’t care, that’s your bias. This story is my bias. Before you read this and either support me or hate me, just understand that I have bias. However, you must also understand that although this story gave me a biased opinion, it’s still an informed one.
Since birth, my family has spent every summer in Lebanon to visit relatives. I remember staying in my aunt’s second floor apartment. Usually my memories of summers in Lebanon are good. I remember the smell of onion-y food in the kitchen diffusing throughout the apartment. I can feel the plastic wrapping on the fancy couches that my aunt was too afraid to get dirty. I can see my family laughing and gossiping. My memories of July 2006 were different, though. Instead, I can remember being in my aunt’s apartment and being scared. I can remember the smell of gunpowder. I can still hear the noises of bombs and gunshots outside our window that my mother told me were “just fireworks.” I can still feel my mother’s legs as I clenched them from behind her.
It was during this month that Israel and Lebanon waged war on one another. Thankfully, my whole family was safe and we were able to flee to Syria until the battling ended. Even though that was the scariest time of my life, war is nothing new for Lebanon. My mother lost her father at age 7 to Israeli soldiers for holding a water hose. My father fled Lebanon during war and immigrated to the U.S. What was so striking about 2006 for me, though, is that the stories that I’d hear about Lebanon actually came to life.
In the 4 months I’ve been at the University of Michigan I have seen differing opinions on everything. Where my bias comes in the most is with conversations about Israel. Yes, going against The Israeli government and what it has done –– especially with Palestine –– stems from my bias. However, my bias is justifiable. Although I was afraid when I was in Lebanon, everyday there are thousands of people in Palestine who carry the fear that I once did. I cannot understand supporting a government that puts populations of people under siege. I cannot understand supporting a government that allows their military personnel to assault innocent people for no particular reason.
This extremely personal story has plagued me since I was a child. I have never really told it to people that I don’t know. However, I know that I have a voice through Michigan in Color to talk about what I think is right. Sometimes, the fact that you have a strong emotional connection and a bias is what makes that topic worthy of being heard. Hearing and understanding the stories of Palestinian citizens, however, is much overdue.
Facts on the Israeli occupation: