Bilal Ahmed, Saskatchewan, Canada

When Palestine is liberated, it will be us who do the liberating.

My generation is the one that was born after Operation Desert Storm. We were the children watching our cities burn on large screen televisions in the Diaspora. We were the infants who heard our parents saying “Allah Hafiz” without realizing that it was an echo of Nasser’s failures in 1967. We were barely pre-teens when we watched the United States and its allies occupying Afghanistan and hammering Baghdad.

My generation is the one that has never remembered a time without news reports documenting foreign explosives detonating in our cities and those of our comrades.

My generation comprises we children of the Islamic Revival who spent our teenage years desperately wishing to live in the leftist political awakenings that nurtured our parents before the Six Day War and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

And when Palestine is liberated, it will be my generation that will do the liberating.

When Palestine is liberated, it will because we refused to inherit the disasters of our parents’ generations.

It will be because we will be deaf to the failures that caused them to go quiet. It will be because we shattered the nightmares of 1967 by imprisoning Mubarak, liberating Tripoli, seizing Damascus, and storming Sana’a. It will be because we were the ones so disgusted with the safety of dictatorship and cooperation with Israel that our actions caused a panic in every imperialist drawing room from Washington to Moscow.

When Palestine is liberated, it will happen because my generation finally stopped fantasizing about the Middle East our parents lived in and decided that it was due time to forge our own.

It will happen because we refused to be frustrated with the failures of the peace process and decided that the road to a free Palestine leads through our own cities rather than the White House. It will happen because we took our cause to Tel Aviv ourselves. It will happen because we threw foreign militaries out of our countries, dismantled their bases, and took the future into our own hands.

On the day that Palestine is liberated, I will kiss my mother on the forehead before she prays in Al-Aqsa and thanks me for the priviledge of being able to walk from the Dead Sea to the Mediterranean Sea without a military checkpoint in sight.

On the day that Palestine is liberated, our achievements will be read in front of Parliamentary houses in Cairo, Damascus, Tripoli, and Sana’a.

And on the day that Palestine is liberated, I will finally be able to sleep peacefully knowing that between Casablanca and Kashmir there isn’t an imperialist presence in sight.