My name is Rawan, and I am an Iraqi-born Iraqi citizen. Don’t mind this repetition, I just think that it sounds cool. This year is the most important year of my educational career. Grade 12 students across the country will be preparing for the Adadiyah certificate, also known as Sixth Form Baccalaureate. I can tell you that it resembles the American SAT system but my nationalism does not allow the comparison of our prestigious system to others.
I cannot wait for my graduation this June. My mom promised me a trip to Palestine, a land we consider the holiest site in the whole world.
Palestine’s history is as complex as that of Iraq. People of different ethnicities and religious backgrounds coexist like they never did. After the Second World War, the Jewish population increased in Palestine and sometimes my Palestinian friend tells me that she speaks Hebrew better than her Jewish friends, but they speak Arabic better than her. Both Hebrew and Arabic became official languages of Palestine, or Judea, as we call it in Hebrew.
As most students, I like to procrastinate instead of studying, usually by looking through our family’s photo albums to reminisce about some of the best days of my childhood.
Twenty-O-three was probably one of the best year so far. I was only five but I somehow remember it bit by bit, or maybe I believe I remember it because I had looked through photo albums over and over again. My parents taught me that the world is a mysterious place and mysteries exist in the place where we least expect them to be. While they preach openmindedness and discovering the world, they put emphasis on uncovering the unknown about the place where we planted our roots, our country. Thus, for me, any trip to different parts of Iraq becomes a beautiful memory. T
hat year, our family went on a trip to Mosul, a city in the northern part of the country. To explain its complexity, more than ten ethnic groups exist there, including Arabs, Armenians, Turkmens, Kurds, Yazidis and so on. I recall that Arabs in Mosul speak an interesting dialect, quite different from that of Baghdadis.
Westerns call us the Middle-East just like we call them the West… People describe each other based on their perspective. Asians call us Westerners… It is all a relative concept.
I kept looking through the photo album, making up more and more memories because I do not recall any. Or, rather, do not recall much.
We were cursed the day it peed black under our soil; we were cursed the day they discovered we had their favorite black oil.
My name is Rawan, Iraqi-born Canadian citizen. Today, I am finishing up my English essay, college is coming to an end, and I barely have any memories from the motherland.
Sports & News Editor
Originally Published in Bandersnatch Vol. 47 Issue 13 on April 25, 2018