Intervju med Abed

Vi er nå ferdige med et fire ukers opphold i Nablus. I løpet av denne tiden har vi vært på sykehus, arrangert sommerleir i flyktningleir, dratt på utallige utflukter, og mye, mye mer. Aller best er kanskje det at vi har blitt kjent med ti fantastiske medisinstudenter fra Palestina, og takket være dem fått et unikt innblikk i palestinsk kultur og hvordan det er å leve på Vestbredden. I dette innlegget forteller Abed om hvordan det er å leve på Vestbredden og tanker han har om okkupasjonen og Palestinas fremtid.

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Abed Salah er 21 år og skal begynne sitt fjerde år på medisinstudiet ved An-Najah University i Nablus. Han bor på hybel sammen med to kamerater rett ved universitetet, og han bruker mesteparten av fritiden sin på kafeer, foran bøkene eller på fotballbanen.
– Jeg har et veldig bra sosialt liv her i Nablus. Folk sier at medisinstudenter ikke har et liv, men det er jeg uenig i. Selv om det ikke alltid er så mye å finne på og dagene ofte går i det samme, har vi det bra. Vi henger på kafeer eller spiller fotball sammen. Det hender også at vi drar til for eksempel Jeriko og Dødehavet, men okkupasjonen gjør slike turer vanskeligere. Det er så å si umulig å være spontan.

Innenfor Nablus’ bygrenser merker man ikke nødvendigvis så mye til okkupasjonen. Byen er rent palestinsk, og ved normale tilstander ser man ikke så mange soldater i gatene. Men man skal ikke særlig langt ut før man støter på dem, i tillegg til israelske bosetninger og kontrollposter. Dette setter store begrensninger for palestinerne.
– Jeg er veldig glad i å reise og å møte nye folk. Slik det er nå har vi ikke særlige muligheter for det. Jeg har ikke engang vært på besøk hjemme hos noen av mine beste venner, fordi jeg ikke får lov til å komme inn i Jerusalem. Man kan søke om tillatelse til å dra, men dette innvilges gjerne bare i forbindelse med religiøse høytider eller hvis man reiser med familie. Tillatelsen gjelder da bare en dag, uten overnatting. Jeg skulle for eksempel likt å dra med venner til Jaffa, der familien min kommer fra.

Det er viktig å få frem at okkupasjonen er mye mer enn en ren fysisk hindring for palestinernes mulighet til å dra hvor de vil. Abed forteller også hvordan det påvirker livet økonomisk, sosialt, og kanskje viktigst av alt: psykisk.
– Okkupasjonen har stor innflytelse på for eksempel økonomien. Store landområder på Vestbredden er i dag under israelsk kontroll, og ressursene kan ikke nyttiggjøres av palestinerne. Blant annet har vi store problemer med vannmangel her på Vestbredden. En annen ting er at okkupasjonen har skapt et sosialt skille mellom palestinerne: dem med israelske rettigheter og dem uten.

Da Israel ble opprettet i 1948, brøt det ut krig mellom Israel og de omliggende arabiske statene. Flesteparten av palestinerne i det som ble Israel, ble sendt på flukt, og de lever i dag i flyktningleirer på Vestbredden og i Jordan, Syria og Libanon. Palestinerne som ble værende, lever derimot et helt annet liv. De har i dag israelsk pass og med det langt flere rettigheter. De kan reise fritt rundt i både Israel og Palestina, de er ikke underlagt israelsk kontroll når det gjelder vann og elektrisitet, og de lever generelt et mye friere liv enn palestinerne på Vestbredden. Dette skaper misnøye og sjalusi og danner grobunn for mange konflikter innad i det palestinske folk.
– Det verste med okkupasjonen for meg er den psykiske påkjenningen, følelsen av å være innestengt og å bli behandlet dårlig. Israelske soldater tar fra deg verdigheten din, de behandler oss ikke som mennesker. Vi føler oss alltid overvåket. Uttaler man seg kritisk til Israel, kan man bli hentet av soldater og bli fengslet. Det er ikke rart at folk vil ut herfra, vi er på ingen måte frie.

Familien til Abed er opprinnelig fra Jaffa, men emigrerte til USA på 60-tallet, hvor de fleste bor i dag. Faren valgte derimot å komme tilbake, og slo seg ned i Ramallah hvor han ble far til Abed og hans tre søsken.
– På 80-tallet dro far tilbake og ble med det den eneste av tolv søsken som kom tilbake. Han ville bygge opp landet og ønsket å hjelpe til med opprettelsen av en fungerende palestinsk stat. Han er lege, så helsesektoren var spesielt viktig for ham. I 1996 var han faktisk med på å etablere Helsedepartementet her på Vestbredden.

Abed er inspirert av sin far. Han snakker om viktigheten av det å bidra til fellesskapet og hvordan han selv ønsker å være med å bygge opp landet. Når han er ferdig med utdannelsen, ønsker han å dra ut for å spesialisere seg, kanskje til USA eller Tyskland, for å opparbeide seg god erfaring og oppleve andre kulturer. Men han er tydelig på en ting: han skal komme tilbake.
– Akkurat nå er landet vårt i asken og det er opp til vår generasjon å skape en forandring. Vi kan ikke legge all skyld på okkupasjonen, det er også mye som må fikses innad i landet. Først og fremst er vi nødt til å samle oss og forberede oss til den dagen vi er fri fra okkupasjonen og skal være et selvstendig land.

Korrupsjon er et stort problem i Palestina. Den sittende regjeringen har vært ved makten siden 2006, da forrige nasjonalvalg ble avholdt. Regjeringen gjemmer bort store summer i egne lommer, er lite populær blant folket og har oppnådd lite i sin styretid. De anklages også av noen for å ta imot penger fra Israel for å ikke gjøre motstand mot ytterligere utbygging av separasjonsmuren og bosetninger. Det palestinske folk føler seg sviktet.
– Jeg tror virkelig på et lys i enden av tunnelen, selv om jeg tviler på at det skjer i min livstid. Vi må oppdra en ny generasjon med de rette verdiene. En slik forandring som kreves i Palestina, trenger lang tid for å skje.

Et annet problem i landet, er mangelen på jobber. Palestina har gode universiteter, og svært mange palestinere tar høyere utdanning. Men det er manglende muligheter til å bruke kunnskapen, noe som gjør at mange forlater landet for høyere lønninger og en bedre framtid i andre land.
– Jeg klandrer dem ikke. Det er ikke lett å lykkes her, og har man god utdanning og muligheten til å dra ut, skjønner jeg at folk gjør det. Innenfor mange områder er man i tillegg nesten nødt til å være korrupt for å få til noe. Dette må brytes, men folk som vil ha en forandring har lett for å bli utstøtt i dette samfunnet.

Det har vært utrolig fint å snakke med Abed. Det å få høre personlige historier og få utforsket hvilke tanker en palestinsk medisinstudent sitter inne med, er både interessant og sterkt. Et fremtidig Palestina trenger folk som Abed, folk som er realistiske, fremtidsrettede og har tanker om hvordan landet skal greie seg. Måtte det være flere som han, og at de lykkes på veien.

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