Dear Children of Palestine,
I’m sorry. My words will never be enough to make things right but I wanted you to know that I’m sorry.
My apology will not offer you much comfort or assure you things will get better, but I’m still sorry.
I’m sorry that your 6th birthday will also commemorate your survival of 3 massacres. I’m sorry that the summer of 2014 will be remembered as the worst summer of your life. I’m sorry you never knew who won the World Cup because you were too busy running for your life. I’m sorry that the beach, which was your soccer field, became your deathbed.
I’m sorry they mock your agony with selfies. I’m sorry they tried to justify your death with politics. I’m sorry they deprived you of your childhood. I’m sorry that they say they care about you because if they had a shred of remorse they wouldn’t have ripped away your innocence. I’m sorry their leaders openly call for your death on broadcast news and the world sits idle. I’m sorry they hate you, but not all of us are like them.
I’m sorry that the world only knows you as a statistic. I’m sorry they don’t know your name, or that you’re really good at math, or that your favorite desert is pistachio ice cream. I’m sorry they didn’t know that you had a life and dreams.
I’m sorry that it took the lethal beating of a Palestinian teen living in the diaspora to spark the minimal interest of the media regarding your inescapable persecution. I’m sorry it took the Tweets of celebrities to spark global interest over your endangered life. I’m sorry that some celebrities didn’t have the backbone to defend the value of your life against bullies.
I’m sorry you will never know your mother because she died giving birth to you at a checkpoint. I’m sorry that you were diagnosed with PTSD before you were potty trained. I’m sorry they found you guilty of being born Palestinian and locked you up in the largest outdoor prison in the world. I’m sorry the food is scare, and you haven’t eaten in days because they want you to literally stave to death.
I’m sorry that you’ve grown so accustom to violence that gunshots no longer make you flinch. I’m sorry you had to learn how bury your best friend before you learned how to spell your name. I’m sorry that the most that world leaders have offered you are empty words of condemnation in response to attacks that left you paralyzed.
I’m sorry they uprooted the ancient olive trees you would climb up and swing on. I’m sorry your eyes hurt from doing your homework by candlelight because they cut the electricity. I’m sorry you’re dehydrated because they cut and poisoned your water supply. I’m sorry they burned you alive once with white phosphors and again when they forced gasoline down your throat.
I’m sorry you can’t learn how to ride a bike because the streets are filled with the rubble of what use to be your neighbor’s house. I’m sorry you will never know the calm of a suburb because you live in a refugee camp, an outsider in your own home.
I’m sorry you will never know the awkwardness of a first kiss, the magic of falling in love or the pain of breakup. I’m sorry that the only rejection you have experienced is the world turning their back on you.
I’m sorry that after years of trying to conceive a child the world actually believes that your parents would use you as a human shield. I’m sorry that your father will not be able to give you away on your wedding day because he has been imprisoned indefinitely with no charge and no trial.
I’m sorry you will never travel the world because to them your passport doesn’t offer a legitimate place of origin. I’m sorry you will never get to meet your grandmother who lives 5 miles away because according to your ID you’re not allowed to. I’m sorry they’ve dictated almost every aspect of your life to make you miserable.
I’m sorry that you will never feel the exhilaration of driving for the first time, cruising down the freeway along the shore of the Mediterranean. I’m sorry all of your baby pictures were destroyed when they bulldozed your home. I’m sorry you will never get to experience the stress of exams or the joy of receiving a college diploma.
I’m sorry you can’t buy you new clothes because they withheld your money. I’m sorry that my tax dollars are a part of the $3.1 billion annual aid they use to collectively punish you, a child.
I’m sorry you will never attend Sunday mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre or Friday prayer at Al Aqsa Mosque. I’m sorry you will never even get the chance to coexist with Jewish children because the apartheid wall separates you.
I’m sorry you can’t hear the chants of protesters in around the world demanding your freedom, demanding your right to live. I’m sorry you can’t see the Tweets and Facebook posts of love, solidarity, and remorse we have for you.
I’m sorry the world has been desensitized to murder, to genocide, to ethnic cleansing. I’m sorry you have been vilified and you haven’t even learned how to hate.
I’m sorry you may not even live to read this letter. I’m sorry you left this world before I got chance to know you.
I’m sorry that world is not listening, watching, or caring. I’m sorry they lost their humanity. I’m sorry the human population has failed you. I’m sorry you don’t know that we are not all like them.
I’m truly, deeply sorry.
Those holding on to our humanity
To help heal the wounds of war, occupation and poverty for children in the Middle East check out the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund.