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Article Title

Exiles and Home

Abstract

I have been away from home for over 20 years. But what is home in my case? An Arab woman born to a Palestinian father and an Italian mother, married to a German man and mother to an American daughter, I had traveled a long way. I asked my mother once whether "Hon casa?" (Is this home?). I was 2 years old then, and we had just arrived at my grandfather's house in Italy after a long journey from Jordan. I was just starting to talk, but could only do so by mixing the two languages I was born with: "Hon" is "here" in Arabic and "casa" is "home" in Italian. Ever since, I have lived in many houses. I carried many worlds, but kept looking for a home, the home. My exile has been layered, a tapestry woven through the course of a diasporic life that could only be completed and reconciled through an embrace of the continual invention of the self. My exile was grounded in the collective sense of exile of the Palestinian people. It was shaped by the unique personal experience of a girl growing amid the reverberation of the 1967 debacle that hit the Arab world. The dialectic between the collective and the personal shaped my alienation as much as my ways to come to term with the person I became.

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