When I was a kid, I wanted to be the wind.
I thought what was this beautiful being that was so strongly able to be felt, but never seen.
She traveled countries, knew nothing of borders, blockades, visas.
She saw all the wonders of the world, carried smiling faces, cries of newborn babies, joy,
happiness, childish giggles and jokes.
She attended everyone’s weddings and tasted every pie on every counter top.
She delivered the kisses of loved ones and the dreams of all.
But today she mourns- she carries screams of horror.
She yells in my ears and awakens every earthly being dead or alive.
She has called upon the sun to dim her rays and the clouds to join her in mourning.
She beckons the leaves, the grass and every organism in existence to shout and they reply.
The people run inside, shut their windows, they cannot understand why the earth is yelling- why
she is crying.
It is just too loud to handle.
Too real to fathom.
But even inside, the wind pounds on their doors and shatters their windows.
As she continues to voice her fury upon the coma state of the world,
a putrid smell of blood and tears rips through your nasal passages.
While the world paces indoors in fear and confusion,
I join my friend the wind outside, dressed in black and with nothing more than a kafﬁya made of
honor and anger to keep me warm.
Despite the ear piercing screams of the earth, I sit and stay,
because today she is the only one who understands.
Hebatullah Issa is a Palestinian-Arab-American-Muslim-Israeli. “My experiences have shaped my identity, however, while working on my Master’s thesis at Dartmouth College, I found that my identity also shaped my experiences. My thesis, Metaphorical Asthma: The Search for Water and Answers in the Holy Land, developed into an ethnographic series of personal essays concerning the different identities and shifting labels imposed on me by others and how these labels shaped my experience trying to research water management issues in the West Bank. This sparked my interest in identity formation amongst Palestinians, particularly the diaspora.
At Dartmouth College, as well as during my second Master’s in Middle East and Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter, I have conducted research in the following topics: heritage making, Israeli historiography, language death, Orientalism, Occidentalism, the Palestinian right of return, ethno–politics, identity formation, Arab-American beauty ideals, Arab-American hip-hop, Palestinian feminist movements, Egyptian nationalism, factors of violent and nonviolent revolutions in the Arab Spring, particularly Egypt and Libya. I have also taken short courses in which I conducted research in the universality of human rights, the labeling of the Arab Spring, honour killings, migration and economy, Zionist media, as well as Arab feminist literature.
I recently produced a 153–page document about Palestinian identity formation amongst the Palestinians living in Israel through the medium of Palestinian hip-hop and what this identity means for Israel if its Arab citizens identify themselves as Palestinians rather than Israelis. I have also written fiction and nonfiction pieces centered on this topic as well.”