I knew that my teaching assistant job which I started a month ago in Al-Azhar University-Gaza was going to be a whole new adventure full of surprises and unpredictable situations but of course I’d have never seen what happened with me today in my widest and most dramatic expectations!
It all started with an absolutely normal Computer Science lecture which I was delivering to some first-year students. while I was busy telling my students how unsatisfied I was with the last assignment they submitted and that they need to do some extra work for the next lecture exam, the door, suddenly, was knocked!
A quiet-looking, nicely-dressed guy showed up. I was pretty sure that he wasn’t one of my students as he never attended this class before. It took him less than 2 seconds to cross the class room and stand right front of me.
“I’m from Syria …”, he quietly said. Almost sure that I didn’t hear what he said correctly, I said: “Sorry?”. He added: “I’m a Palestinian from Syria. My family and I came to Gaza 2 months ago. I’m a 4th-year student but I had to take this course as it wasn’t included in my academic plan when I was in Syria!”. My heart ached!
Not noticing my shocked face, he continued and asked in an extremely polite way and with that charming mix of Palestinian and Syrian accents: “May I attend this class today? I’m still waiting for the university to approve my Syrian certificate. It’s just a matter of time!”. I nodded!
Yazan headed to the closest chair, turned his computer on and started getting some notebook out of his bag in a very quiet rhythm. While watching him, I couldn’t stop thinking of what he had just told me! Although Yazan’s casual look would reflect a very normal young man, that quiet look on his face can absolutely tell what he had to go through!
Yazan isn’t the only Syrian-Palestinian who had to come to Gaza because of the currently severe situation in Syria. Based on some recent and rough statistics, more than 200 families from Syria have entered Gaza in the past 3 months! I mean could you even imagine what those people had to go through to actually choose and prefer to live in GAZA rather than staying in Syria?!! Oh Lord!
How poor we, Palestinian, are! Yazan and more than 200 families are being refugees for the second time and in their own country!