Saturday, May 23, 2009

If I Marry, My Kids ....

There is no proof that I'm half Palestinian and half Lebanese in official documentation other than my mom who tells me my father's history. The paper trail is nothing I know of. Supposedly, my father has a Palestinian passport but not sure if he has the ID card. Mom has a Lebanese ID card ages old but I can't issue a Lebanese passport from it, because Lebanon does not allow a maternal ID transfer like that.

But I'm not the issue at all. For if I can half prove my mixed nationality, I predict that if I have kids, they'll have a much harder time with this. The Palestinian official documentation in the family is almost vanished. What my Palestinian aunts or uncles have for documentation serves their kids, not mine.

The Lebanese documentation, kind of restorable, but not sure either. The only solid thing I have going for proper documentation is my Canadian citizenship. That's the only tangible piece of ID I can pass on to my off-spring.

When I said this to a friend the other day, she said marry a Palestinian. That's the only way you can restore the Palestinian in the family, but then again he too will have no proper proof of his citizenship to "Palestine". Green card or blue card, too. Green if he's living on the Palestinian territories, and blue if he's living on the Israeli side of the land as a Palestinian. On and on and on in this vanishing point. Of identity, paper wise, only, but it matters.

Say I have a daughter in the future and she's at school and she says, "my mom is half Palestinian, half Lebanese. And my dad is Palestinian". "Prove it" -- comes a question from whoever. She can't prove it. And when I die and her dad dies, she really can't prove it.

Not that she MUST be Palestinian or Lebanese in her identity or personality. Allah knows many of us live out in the West and we carve our own sense of self. All's good. But the question must be asked. What is this leading to? Take away passports, countries, lands, ID cards, roots, homelands. What happens to the equation?

A child screams mum I'm Canadian. American. Australian. Italian. British. Spanish. French. German. I was born here, mum, raised here, I don't speak your language, I don't have your cultural values, I don't have your memories. I'm not like you, mum and dad.

No tragedy in this. But nonetheless. The question must be asked. Because what runs in our blood is not just Islam.

Especially if we're thinking of marriage.



marry halal said...

You're quite right about the importance of culture. Which is why there's a whole chapter on 'urf or cutomary practice in most usul texts.

Some good writing by the way.

Tauqeer said...

Oh the papers doesn't matter....what matters is the genes:P and traditions you can pass on to your kids!!

Unfair Maiden said...

who does "your daughter" have to prove her identity to. we tend to think of identity as something others give us (and are gatekeepers of) rather than who we are and see ourselves as and claim for ourselves.

Miriam said...

I am half Lebanese-Palestinian and half Cuban. My husband is Turkish. Identity is a difficult thing to put in a box....