PROLOGUE: A CHRISTMAS LETTER TO MY UNBORN CHILD
Some time ago your mother, who is now carrying you in your belly, had afantasy. She thought it would be nice if there was a little panel which she couldopen to have a brief peek at you. This was so she could see whether everythingwas fine, and what the color of your hair would be. Then she would be satisfiedand keep the door locked until you were born.It is now my wish to put a little Christmas card through that opening. Why? Likeyour mom, to say “Hi,” and to tell you that you will enter the world in anuncommon place – Bethlehem – a little town with a famous past and acomplicated present. A town that evokes dreams and wishes, but also a towngrasping towards the year 2000 in a yet unborn nation undergoing difficult labor pains.What are my Christmas wishes? Well, I don’t have any big wishes or exigencies,so you can relax. I don’t prefer that you to be a boy or a girl. I don’t wish you tobe Dutch or Palestinian. I don’t prefer that you stay in Bethlehem or go to liveelsewhere. Nor do I mind whether you will love books, music or beautiful designs.Your mother and I hope to follow the advice of Khalil Jibran who tells parents totreat their children in the following way: “Give them your love but not your thoughts.”Yet, I admit that I do have a few small wishes. I hope you will be equally open tothe richness of the inner world of imagination as to the world of external reality;listening to many fairy tales and not just stories about the physical world we livein. I wish that you will laugh a lot, experiencing the warmth of Palestinian cultureas well as the sobriety [
] of Dutch culture.I wish that you will not be bothered by traffic, soldiers and noise. I wish that youwill have the chance to see the beauty of nature rather than the ugliness of waste. I wish that you will not be closed up by the closure, and that you will beable to go in all directions to see Palestine, Holland and the rest of the worldworld.
I wish to seeand hear you soon
Your father December 19, 1997Yara was born on December 21, 1997 in the Holy Family hospital in Bethlehem.