Even though I grew up in Egypt, I didn’t know very much about life in Palestine until I went to graduate school in Maryland. My best friend was Palestinian and she told me a lot about day-to-day life under Israeli occupation. So, when I came to the Bay Area for post- graduate work in 2010, I wanted to get involved with a local organization working for the rights of Palestinians. I found the Middle East Children’s Alliance and I was immediately attracted to the work. How can you disagree with meeting children’s basic needs?
One of the first things I got involved with was the “Child’s View from Gaza” exhibit of art by children who survived the 2008-2009 Israeli assault. They expressed their fears and depicted their memories in paintings and drawings. Right before the show was supposed to open at the Museum of Children’s Art in Oakland, the museum’s board canceled it. Fortunately, an inexpensive storefront was found nearby and I volunteered at the exhibit for several weeks.
For six years now I’ve worked at dozens of public events. I’ve learned so much from speakers like Noam Chomsky, from films, and meeting people at the busy Annual Holiday Bazaar. I’m always eager to talk with people about Palestine and MECA’s work.