26 junio, 2014
Interview to a Palestinian Refugee
Madrid June 11th 2014
It was a sunny afternoon when I took the metro to meet Raed Skaik , a Palestinian refugee studying in Madrid, at a terrace in Plaza de Santa Ana for our appointment. I had to do an Interview for one of my International Relations degree subjects, where Middle East is my area. I have always been really curious about the situation of Palestinian people, who I admire, and the far away resolution of the Israeli conflict; as this struggle goes far beyond what we have seen on the media. I have known Raed for the last 2 years and he was the first person that came to my mind to interview. Raed is a 25 years old young man, holding a Palestinian refugee “passport”, who has suffered what it means to be a stateless person depending on the goodwill of other States. He has traveled around the world, although he has lived in Kuwait for most of his life, country he has to return to every 6 months in order to not loose his residency. Raed started his International Business degree at Temple University in Pennsylvania, although he wasn’t able to finish the degree and 2 years later had to return back to Kuwait and work as an insurance broker, for 2 years. During this time he desired to finish his degree. He arrived to Madrid almost 3 years ago and restarted his studies at Schiller University, where he remains nowadays. Raed has always shown a really passionate interest about world politics, becoming a really interesting and informed debate partner. He has clear opinions about the political conflicts happening right now, and follows really closely what happens around the Arabic peninsula.
I started our Interview asking Raed about the possible threat of Iran to the Middle-East, when talking about this, he made up some really interesting statements about the roll of Hezbollah involving in Syria. “Well there are two points of view” he told me; from the good side we find Iran supporting the resistant groups of Hezbollah and Hamas by providing weapons and training in order to fight the “common and first Arabic enemy”, Israel. Along with this, the weapons arrive to Hezbollah via Syria, fact that give us an explanation of why the militia group is fighting along side with Bashar Al Assad against the Syrian rebels; “In this way, Hezbollah position could be justified since Bashar Al Assad is his ally; without him, it would be a weak resistance group and wouldn’t be able to face Israel in any future war” he stated, measuring his words carefully. On the other hand, the bad point could be that Iran is trying to spread the Shia believe in the Sunni Arabic countries, “a fact that most of the Arabs condemn” , knowing Raed for such a long time allowed me to know that he felt the same way about his last statement.
My next question, which I was anxious to ask, was : “From a Palestinian view, what do you think would be the solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?”. The look on his face, after the inquiry, turned serious and sad. For Raed the currently most possible solution would be that the Palestinian people accept their weakness and surrender to Israel, giving up more territories of the few ones they have left, but after saying this he affirms that : “I believe this solution, if it happens, will not last forever, since there is a land that is still stolen ”. The other solution could be resist until Palestinians get it back. The problem we face in this conflict is that none of the parts are willing to give their arms to twist.
After this last question we took a break, in which we order a cup of coffee. During this pause we started debating about the idea of the Arabic Spring spreading to the Gulf Countries; the observations he made about the subject were so wonderful and wise , that it would be a worthless act to try to write out what he said: “Gulf countries are rich countries, and the main reason why the Arabic spring happened was poverty ; and since poverty has a small percentage its hard for the Arabic spring to spread right now, but in the future it must spread because this countries are controlled by dictators and there are many civil rights and freedoms that are not being given to the people of these countries, par example: in Saudi Arabia women can’t drive, and they recently got their right to vote so, in my opinion, the people of these countries are not doing anything right now against their governments, because their governments are spreading the wealth by giving free money to the people in order to remain silent about the other things they don’t get, but the upcoming generations will realize that there are things that are more important than just having money. Looking at the neighboring countries that already had the Arabic spring and seeing how they became more free in this societies, will make them revolve against the governments. Because we could say that the Arabic spring is like a cancer, if it hits one country it will go to all the body, because the people from the Middle East and North Africa have the same language, same culture, same religion and same problems, so what affects one, affects the rest.”
When our interview was done, my curiosity and fascination about the Middle East regions, increased; as sharing thoughts with a native well informed citizen, is more delightful and enriching than just turning on TV or reading a newspaper, as opinions in media have been bought.
Paula Sanz Dominguez