Being Palestinian: A Poem by Raneem Imam

‘Being Palestinian’ is a poem by Memphis-based Arab-American singer-songwriter and producer, Raneem Imam.

Raneem Imam is an Arab-American singer-songwriter and producer from Memphis, TN. After experience working in recording studios and releasing her own debut EP, she began performing shows featuring her original music around the city and gained quick attention from the Memphis music community. As a writer, Raneem draws much inspiration from the unsaid emotions, fears, and experiences in life. She thrives on creating art that is conscious and real to every one of our human senses.

Raneem’s poem is featured in our May/June PRIDE issue.

Raneem Imam, courtesy Raneem

being palestinian
by Raneem Imam

being palestinian is the greatest honor of my life. 
being palestinian is being a product of a long line of resilient, compassionate, and giving people who fiercely believe in life and liberty. 
being palestinian is colorful and bright like the traditional robes we sew and wear, telling the stories of past lives in small villages that no longer exist.
being palestinian is learning from early years to be stewards of the land, protecting it and caring for it no matter the cost, because to know the land is to love it regardless of who claims it.
being palestinian is bonding over the interrupted childhood stories of your grandparents who became refugees when they were our age now.
being palestinian is knowing heartache and loss so deeply and intimately, you don’t know what life feels like without it. 
being palestinian is wishing you could educate the world about your people’s history over a steaming pot of musakhan, speaking and serving another plate full
and another…
and another…
until they’re stuffed with our memories.
being palestinian is seeing your mother sob at the television screen while watching more of your people being killed and displaced.
being palestinian is realizing that you too will one day come to inherit this trauma in more ways than one.
being palestinian is channeling your grief and anger into creativity and art, hoping to change the world through a medium they can love since they can’t love me.
being palestinian is being brave enough to raise your voice and take a stand, although you face the horror of what you know will come next.
being palestinian is feeling a strong sense of responsibility to keep an open heart, an open mind, and open arms to whoever needs it.
i wonder if you, dear reader, can see a sliver of your own experience in being palestinian, though you may not be by blood. 
i wonder if being palestinian means belonging to a greater universal identity—
an identity of all people who wander the earth feeling stifled by the power and influence of ignorance and hatred. 
i wonder if being palestinian is simply believing: through love all is possible.
being palestinian is the greatest honor of my life.

You may follow Raneem and learn more about her music at @raneemimam on Instagram.

Memphis Queers for Palestine Are Here to Resist >>>