In my childhood, my father worked in the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee, so we always visited the old city. I studied architectural engineering and moved to Germany after graduation. I finished my masters in Hamburg in resource efficiency in architecture and urban planning. I was interested in learning lessons about energy efficiency from the very old architecture of Hebron. At that time, they did not have emissions. The orientation of the buildings and the harmony with the narrow streets helped. In the winter, we all sit together near the heater which strengthens social relationships. It was nice to share how we live and design in Germany. I have a son. We are friends more than mother and son. He speaks Arabic and German very well. I also learned German––a big thing I did. They say in Germany, “life is too short to learn German!” Every New Year’s Eve, they have fireworks and the country celebrates. I feel I am back in the Second Intifada. It’s the kind of joke that makes the heart bleed. It’s the childhood I remember that no one else there lived. I’m sure I’ll be back to Hebron. People always ask, “why don’t you stay here? You have safety and better economic opportunities.” Palestine is not just a place that one lives in, but that we have in our hearts. We cannot separate ourselves.
- Mays Qawasmi