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Jamila's parents interview (ii)

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To raise the children... She means how you raise them. How we don't watch bad movies, things like that. The most important thing I teach my children is to pray, fast and be honest. I teach them to respect whoever they speak to. And never to be rude or arrogant to anyone. It is important to raise them to do the right thing, not the wrong thing. Because a child follows whatever one teaches him, whether it was right or wrong. It is important to me that the child is faithful. To pray, fast and read the Quran regularly. And to learn the Quran. Our generation was not taught this stuff. As for me, I was not taught right from wrong. I was raised in an environment where I didn't learn this. But I wanted my daughter to learn. I made her wear the hijab. Although she was very young. It is mandatory in Islam that a girl wears the hijab. And for her hijab to be decent. Secondly, that my son should pray and go with his dad to the mosque. To know right from wrong. Because if you don't teach a child, he'd go astray. He'd keep following the wrong path. He should also teach his friends. A lot of kids now don't pray. Why? Maybe their parents at home don't pray. I want my children to grow up to pray, fast and be honest with people. To be nice to people. If they see someone in need, they'd offer help and see what they could do. That's what I want my children to grow up to be. Although I can't read or write... I would've loved to be able to. Why? To be able to guide them on the right path. To read the Quran for them. When I open the Quran, I feel it through my body. I'd love to read it but I can't. Some times this makes me cry. I teach my children to know right from wrong. -I am not very young... -It's a wish. Yes, but still, there is stuff that I don't know. My daughter teaches me. -My eldest, Jamila... -Jamila. She teaches me, "Mom, this is this and this is that". The fact that my daughter is teaching me fills me with joy. She'd say, "Mom, this is so and so", as the religion teacher tells her. Stuff I don't know. I was amazed. I wanted her to keep repeating it. Same with my son. A mother loves it when her kids are teaching her about religion, Islam and everything. So that she'd know what to do. When I don't pray they ask me, "Why aren't you praying, mom? "Come pray with us". They wouldn't know that I could be sick or something. There are a lot of things. I wish all the Islamic Nation would raise their children this way. Because a child grows up following the path they were taught. Oh, yes... Also, patriotism. One must love their homeland. I'd also love to go to Jerusalem, and pray there. The first of the two Qiblas is there. The Aqsa Mosque. May God bless us with a visit there, God willing. -God willing. -To Palestine. We would like to talk now about your daily life. As we know now, your daily life is... I don't go anywhere. I just go to pray and come back, and stay in the house. Our daily life is just like any other family. I go and get the children from school. If there is homework or studying to be done... -And my wife helps me. This is our life. -I'd like you to explain... I'd like to explain all what we've seen. When do you wake up... -No, we... -Yes, what time we wake up... I wake my children up at five, get them dressed, serve them breakfast and send them to school. Then I go to work. I take my youngest and leave him at the babysitter's. I come back at 3:30. Cook and sweep the floor. My daughter helps me with the chores. There are some difficulties. Because sometimes the kids stay home sick, you know. Life is a bit hard for us. But thank God, there are people who help us. To be honest, I want to say and I hope they don't get angry. They are Atfal Al-Soumoud, they stood by me... They helped me. Ms Jamila, Ms Zuhour... and their big foundation, I thank them all. Because I can't even describe... I would like this to go on TV... For people to see Atfal Al-Soumoud - they are helping children now. My children were beaten, they were desperate. Their father went from one hospital to another, always sick. Hopeless case. Atfal As-Soumoud took care of my children, and I thank them for that. And thank them a lot for helping me. There is Ms Zuhour and Ms Jamila, she came and assessed our case. She lent us a helping hand. I was so down about life. I didn't have any furniture, or anything at all in my house. Although we are renting, they made the house livable... With their furniture, their kindness and their sympathy towards me. One can sense my children's happiness when they go to Atfal Al-Soumoud. They say they are the best. Honestly, I applied to a lot of foundations... -You see... -No one helped. No one would help us. They'd say that our situation didn't qualify. You are Palestinians. The first thing they say, you are Palestinians. So what? A Palestinian is at home here. We are proud to be Palestinians. We are honoured, dignified and proud to be Palestinians. We are Palestinians. I raise my kids, willing to give them as martyrs to Palestine. Why? Because Palestine is here in the heart. And I wish for Ms Zuhour, Ms Jamila and their big foundation that I don't know, a long life and the strength to keep doing their charity work. First they taught my daughter Dabka line dancing. People don't think much of that... -But this is... -Palestinian folklore. Palestinian folklore. They taught her that she's Palestinian. Maybe we don't say enough. -Palestinian folklore. -Yes. We can't say enough. They taught her that she's Palestinian. Taught her Dabka and the flute. They taught my son Dabka. These activities... -The kids are full of energy. -They're vital for my children. -They showed me that they are my family. -They take good care of them. But our life keeps getting more difficult by the day. One day the boy is sick, then the girl is sick, then my husband is sick. I leave my kids at night to take him to hospital. My children spend most their nights at home. If the camp wasn't safe, if Palestinians weren't trustworthy, if there weren't Palestinians in camp, I wouldn't trust leaving my children at home. But it is safe and it gives me peace of mind. I lock my door knowing that a neighbor or a sister would check up on them. Without any fear at all. It is peaceful here. Some people say they'd fear going to Shatila Camp. But they should be honoured to live in Shatila Camp. They should be dignified. They think it's a slum? But people worry about each other and are kind to each other, in every way. I hope all of this gets heard. I hope it gets heard that this camp is our honor, our glory and our dignity. This place is like Palestine to us. They took us in. I live here. I am Lebanese, but I am proud that my children are Palestinians. I wish I could give all three of them as martyrs to Palestine. When we spoke before... -I understood that you moved a lot. -Yes, we moved from one house to another. Yes, we moved a lot. Because we are renting. This house is rented. We are not comfortable in this house. It is damp and... Whenever we rent a house, the landlord either sells it... or wants their son to move into it. My kids are psychologically drained. Moving from one house to another, even we are drained. I am now living in this house, I'd never know when the landlord would want us out. But I can't find a house that's sunny and well ventilated for my kids. It's a rental, and I can't afford more than $125. I can't rent out of the camp. There are houses, but I can't afford them, given my situation. As soon as I get my pay, it is spent on schooling, food and water. -Not to mention the rent. -And the medications. Often we can manage, and we get by. But kids need a lot of stuff. I wish I had a bigger house for my children, and better furniture. But there are a lot of things that the kids are in need for. I wish we had a house of our own. I wish we had a house, as it would be security to my children's future. It is too late for me personally... But I wouldn't want these kids to become homeless one day. May God bestow His blessings on them... So that we can buy them a house and do things for them. She wants to know how you two met. I was working in the suburbs... I was at work and I saw her. She used to work as a sales person, door-to-door. A sales person. I saw her and I said, "I want to talk to you". She said, "Are you crazy?". I am, a bit. I said, "I am crazy? I want to talk to you". She wouldn't. Once, then twice... Bit by bit... I got to know her and I took her to my uncle's house. She looked at me, I told her honestly that I was engaged before. Glory be to God, He sent me my destiny. And Darweesha is virtuous, good and modest. I had to fight for her. There were some problems, just a bit. But God willed it, and we were married within four or five months. Were you happy? -I mean, how did you... -Honestly... I wasn't convinced when he initially spoke to me. -She wasn't convinced. -It didn't make sense, all of a sudden... He'd come and proposed. Because we see what happens with people. I said, "If you want me, speak to my family. No problem here". He went to my folks. I was surprised to see him there. There were some objections from my family. Because he was a foreigner. But I made up my mind. I wanted him. His work was scarce as well. -They said he couldn't rent a house. -My wages were 10000 a day. But thank God. It was fate. And I showed my family that Mohammad was fit for the responsibility. -She helped a bit. We helped each other. -We cooperated. -Cooperation is the most important thing. -Yes, we got married, cooperated... -United. -We raised a family. We have four children. We also said that as for your family, they were reluctant because he was Palestinian. Yes, there was reluctance. It was hard. My brother for instance said you wouldn't know where your Palestinian husband would be. His whereabouts. From one place to another. A Palestinian, for instance, doesn't have land. He's renting. You'd never know when they tell him to vacate. -It was a bit difficult. -We've been renting since we got married. It was a bit hard. Then they agreed. I made up my mind and said that I wanted him. -Palestinian, so what? It's fate. -Fate. -Fate. -Glory be to God.

Video Details

Duration: 15 minutes
Country: Lebanon
Language: Arabic
Producer: GLP- Lebanon
Director: Irene Herrera, Ron Carr
Views: 146
Posted by: glplebanon on Jul 8, 2009

Jamila's parents are interviewed.

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