My aunt inspired my life-long support for the Palestinian cause
I grew up in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan. My maternal aunt, Elizabeth Post, came to stay with our family every two years on ‘home leave’ when she was on vacation from her State Department jobs, often overseas. She worked in Beirut, Lebanon for eight years with UNRWA as secretary to the director of that program in Beirut.
My Aunt Betty would talk about her visits to the Palestinian camps, the suffering there, and her immense empathy with the Palestinian cause. Accordingly, I grew up with this awareness as a child which was heightened by her visits to our family every two years, her very interesting stories, and inevitably the Palestinian-made presents she brought our family.
When I was in third grade, my mother went to Beirut to visit her sister and that was a high point for the whole family. My aunt also had a very good childhood friend who had joined the State Department and eventually married an English man who represented Kuwait in London. These friends visited my parents too and their tales added to the family’s interest in this part of the world.
After my aunt was transferred to another State Department job, she continued her interest in the plight of the Palestinians and talked very positively about King Hussein of Jordan. Her letters and phone calls to my family reflected these issues. This was the air I grew up breathing, thanks to my Aunt Betty.
Since she and I were very close, I came to imbibe some of her interests, read books about the situation, and listen to her profound distress at the suffering of the Palestinian people. Once she retired, her home in Florida always had copies of the Aramco World magazine published by Saudi Aramco, books dealing with this part of the world, and of course, the beautiful carpets that she had purchased in Beirut, and many other articles from the region.
As an adult, I always had some interest and sympathy for the Palestinian cause—but aside from casual inquires to Arab acquaintances, I never knew how to channel my life-long interest in the cause (aside from lobbying US politicians, which I did). Once we moved to Annapolis, I saw a name that caught my eye in the obituaries in either the New York Times or the Washington Post. The name was Halaby, which I knew was Queen Noor of Jordan’s maiden name. So I read the obituary and realized it was her mother! The obituary mentioned Mrs. Halaby’s activity and charity towards Anera, a Palestinian-related group.
I looked Anera up on Charity Navigator and found it was very highly rated and sent in my first check. I am so happy to have finally found a focus for my aunt’s great love and for my own interest which I acquired from her.
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