Can Palestinian Lives Matter?


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Source: The Intercept

Photo by lev radin/Shutterstock

 

I was 19 the first time someone told me I didn’t exist. I was in college, standing near a display about civilian deaths in the occupied Gaza Strip during an Israeli assault. I can’t remember the face of the student who accosted me, although I remember the sneer in their voice, the way it sliced into my unguarded chest. I was not prepared to be erased.

“Palestinians don’t exist,” they said. With time this moment would blur, but not fade, mingling with innumerable interactions in which strangers would likewise inform me of my nonexistence. In that moment, though, it was a wholly new experience. I felt the brief flicker of a laugh before the sick sense of outrage landed in my gut. Before I could find the words to respond, the accuser was gone.

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