I just heard from a young man I first met in Gaza when he was finishing up his university studies. He was one of the lucky ones and received a well-deserved scholarship to pursue graduate studies in Germany.
This young man in his early 20s walked me home from class on the day Israel decided to launch its Operation Pillar of Defense — eight days of indiscriminate bombing in November 2012. He wanted to ensure that I arrived back safely, while I was concerned that he would be able to find a car to take him even further to his home. The streets were quiet, everyone had retreated inside, and there was no traffic.
He left Gaza last summer about the same time I did, and traveled directly to Germany to begin an intensive language program. The language, the food, the customs (especially the drinking) and the culture were all strange for him, and he was navigating this new world all by himself, the only Arab in his classes.
Now he’s walking the streets in Germany, focused on his studies and missing his family and friends back home. He knows his future depends on successfully negotiating this path he’s on, and he knows it won’t be easy.
I have tremendous confidence in this young man. His steadfastness الصمود will serve him well. He can accomplish anything he sets his mind to. I just wish I could accompany him on his path to make sure he arrives safely to his destination.