Personal Stories   

Activity 1: Writing and Listening

a) Prepare and translate the interview in English.

b) Listen to this interview with Mr Alladah, a refugee from the Gaza Strip, and choose the correct answer.

 

What was your job? I was a free-lance journalist and a cameraman. I have a degree in Art.

 

What languages do you speak?  My mother tongue is Arabic, but I also speak English and French. Hebrew is spoken by Israeli settlers and many Palestinians. 

 

When did you arrive in Italy?  In 2008

 

How did you arrive?   I’m a lucky one. I was awarded a grant from the university. 8 months in Paris. But I never went back. After the internship, I came to Italy.

 

Were you alone when you arrived here in Italy?  Yes. I told my family to come when I was already in Italy.

 

What were your feelings while going to another country? I was excited, I knew I was lucky. I could start a new life and have another opportunity. But I was also sad because my family was  still in Gaza. A few days I left I was told that my little brother had been killed while going to school by a rocket.  My relatives couldn’t recognize his body. Other children died with him. Many schools are located in areas near the Gaza-Israel fence which often see clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinian militants.

 

What happened when you arrived?  When I arrived in Italy as a refugee most of the people were nice to me.

 

Have you ever thought about going back to your country? No, there’s nothing there for me and my family at the moment. I think I can do much more for them from here. Power cuts are an every-day occurrence in Gaza. Many homes have their own generators, but fuel is extremely expensive to buy.

 

What is your present job? I organize conferences, meetings, exhibitions to let people know more about my country and their sufferings, their everyday struggle to survive. Through my “instruments” I fight for the dignity of people. This is my contribution.

What are your dreams about the future? Peace and freedom in my country. Opportunity to have a future for all.

 

What are your plans for your children? I would like Husam to attend University, find a job, have a family and live in peace.

 

How big is the Palestinian community in Lecce and Salento?  I’m the only one in Lecce. There’s a Palestinian community in Bari.

 

How often do you get together and on what occasion?  Not too often. Maybe twice a year.

 

What are you main traditional events?  Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. Eid al-Adha means "blessed celebration" and is a common greeting for is Islam's holiest festival and is celebrated annually as an official holiday in many countries. It is an Islamic festival to commemorate the willingness of Ibrahim (also known as Abraham) to follow Allah's (God's) command to sacrifice his son Ishmael. Muslims around the world observe this event.

 

How do you assess the integration of the Palestinian community in Salento and how easy or difficult is to make new friends in Lecce?  Most of my friends are Italian. 

 

How does the Palestinian community interact with other foreign communities?  Not much! After all is going on with ISIS I know people are scared about Muslims. I don’t want people dealing with my son in a different way or be suspicious just because he is Muslim. There’s isn’t a Mosque here in Lecce, we pray at home. 

 

What about your son Husam? Does he pray at school?  No. He prays at home too. 

So it’s a bit like Italian students. They are Catholics but they do not go to the church every Sunday!!!

Yes, I think so!

 

Are you always free to express your religious beliefs in Italy?  My beliefs are intimate I do not express them in public.

 

Are you happy here?  Yes, I am. But my daily thoughts are for my people.

 

1. Mr Alladah comes from:

a. Lebanon

b. Palestine 

c. Iran 

2. Mr Allahah didn’t return to his country because of: 

a. economic reasons

b. an extension of his scholarship 

c. war and difficult life conditions  

3. When he arrive in Italy:

a. he was welcomed by most of the people 

b. people were hostile toward him 

c. he was marginalised 

4. The Gaza Strip borders are :

a. Egypt, Israel and the Mediterranean sea 

b. Egypt, Syria and Jordan

c. Egypt, Israel and Syria

5. The language spoken in the Gaza Strip is:

a. Arabic

b. Arabic and Hebrew

c. Arabic and English