Beloved Gaza from Colorado!
Though distance separates us, my heart holds.
Flakes of snow. …Flames of smoke
My hands, frozen of winter’s cold
My heart, ablaze with a fire untold
In this paradox, stories have yet to unfold.
Your resounding sound eclipsed my own.
My sound becomes barely known.
Embracing my paradox, I’ll weave my tale.
Stitching together the unfinished trail.
Let the threads of my tale be shown.
Let me embrace the unknown.
Imagine what is left of a place I call home.
The weight I carry, the battles I lived.
Imagine My “tahamol”, stretched to great length.
You may overestimate my strength.
Through the sorrow and pain, Summud will rise.
Like a phoenix from ashes, new hope will surprise.
Though I see only flames
Through the smoke,
We’ll find a way.
To rebuild what’s lost, day by day.
With frozen hands and a burning heart. We’ll endure.
Finding strength, let us arise!
Flakes of Snow, Flames of Smoke
In August 2022, I embarked on a new journey to pursue higher education in the United States. This marked a significant shift in my career, which had been deeply rooted in humanitarian work – in one of the most challenging regions in the world. Gaza holds a special place in my heart. It’s where I was born and raised, where I built a family, and where I dedicated 15 years of my life to impactful humanitarian storytelling.
This poem contemplates my emotions that arise from being far from home, and it reflects on the divergent feelings that emerge during the escalations when, for the first time, I am not being physically present. Flakes of snow and flames of smoke intertwined as symbolic bridges to capture my present moment, connecting two disparate scenes and linking the two spaces.
Perhaps, my sense of space encompassed far more than just transitional movement. The experience of my field work in Palestine, visiting inaccessible areas of Gaza and the West Bank to capture stories, have left me with a profound sense of connection and belonging to the spaces that defined me. The breeze of the Gaza beach and the scenic mountains of the West Bank have always held a special meaning. The context in which the complex lived experience of Palestinians is narrated holds a profound significance.
It was a moment to reimagine every refugee camp, every site visit, every uttered word, and every captured photo. Working against the odds and enduring despite difficulties. Our unfinished stories weave together to unveil a reality that is yet to be experienced.
Rania Al Namara (Elhelo) is a Palestinian journalist, translator, lecturer, and humanitarian aid worker with a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Rania has worked for Anera in communications positions in the West Bank and Gaza for the past 15 years and has worked for local news agencies like the Palestine TV English news channel. Rania has taught classes on media text analysis, translation, television and radio production in English and Arabic at local Palestinian universities.
Her work on reporting humanitarian stories as well as surviving everyday adversities in Gaza has appeared on Mondoweiss, Global Impact, PeaceCast, SBS, and Norient Timezones. Currently her research focuses on the intersectionality between journalism and humanitarianism for impactful storytelling.
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