Dear pastry chef who learned how to make blueberry cheesecake online. It was so delicious. Thank you.
My dear college students, with who I debated long into the night smoking shisha and learning about the complexities of your local government.
Dear little girl with the thick glasses and priceless smile who asked me, "When will they bomb us again"?
Dear ladies in the field, who I will never forget as we harvested wheat together near the hated "no go zone".
Dear fisherman, remember you made me a cup of tea that we drank on the deck of your boat? How silent and foolish I was when you told me of your son's death at sea, and I just stared in silence. Killed not in a storm, but by the navy.
Dear school girls in starched white blouses. You recited your English phrases so proudly and so correctly.
Dear boys in your orange t-shirts. Remember how you showed off your hand-stands and breakdance moves as we played soccer at the UN school yard?
Dear taxi driver, perhaps you remember telling me that you wished the bomb landed on your cab, as "this is no life".
My dear documentary film-maker friend. Remember when you showed me the old gold market and we stopped to buy fruit? The vender smiled and gave us a cup of tea.
Dear teen-aged boy with the big gel-hair. Remember how you unlocked my mobile phone and set me up with local cellular reception in under five minutes?
Dear psychologist friend. Remember discussing the ongoing trauma of life under occupation when suddenly I spilled my tea and dropped my pastry at the sound of a fighter jet roaring by outside your window?
Dear student, remember when you approached me in the park and simply gave me a Handala button while thanking me just for coming?
Dear teachers, how long were those shifts?
Dear physician. Remember when we looked out at the sea and you asked me why can't we just walk silently sometimes.
Dear children. So many of you, who told me things that you should never have witnessed. Experiences so frightening, that I still sometimes wake up in the middle of the night. And yet you showed me your cat in the basket. And smiled.
Dear friends in Gaza. Please stay alive. Please don't lose hope. Know that while our governments remain cold and detached amidst your pain, much of the world cries with you. Palestine will be free. The occupation will stop. The siege will end. There is no other way. The human spirit demands it.