First it was curiosity. Curiosity to know the other. I have to know him. Who's that? Who are they? So this was the first thing-- it wasn't peace. Although I came to Ramallah
in 1994, I suffered a lot at the hands of the Israelis, especially in Lebanon. We were in Beirut when Sharon
and I was alone with my daughter. My husband was fighting in the mountains of Lebanon against the Israelis. My husband spent his life fighting the Israelis, and he died for it. It's not so easy to make a 180-degree change. It has to be a process, that's what I believe. I don't believe anybody who comes and says, "Hey, I want to make peace with you!" No. I think he is a cheater, in one way or another. We are human beings and we have to go through a process, and in this process, you will cry, you will curse yourself, you will curse everybody. You will curse that you were born in this world, that you were born in this country. But in the end of this process, you will see the change. How? If Palestinians meet a good group of Israelis, there will be a change. And Israelis also, if they meet good, intellectual, nice people, they will change. But if it is the contrary, there will be no change. That is important. I was lucky.In the first project we were doing a theater piece sponsored by the Americans, and by New York University. The writer of the play was Jim Mirrione.
He's an American, and he did research here before he wrote the play. A friend of mine told me that they wanted actors who speak English. This was a good opportunity. I'm an actress, I act in Arabic, but it was a good opportunity for me because I spoke English. My friend told me there would be Israelis and Jordanians. He said Israelis first and I was shocked. Then he said Jordanians, and I thought, "Okay I'm not the only Arab; at least there is another group of Arabs."
They took us to England and it was very, very difficult. They did a documentary film and it won third prize in Leipzig Festival for Documentary films, out of 2000 films.
Imagine! I'm lucky in that way. But the director took the prize, not me, although I was the main character in the film. We fought, because everyone has his ideology, everyone thinks that he is right. Everyone. And everyone has his excuses, you understand? In this country you will see two faces to reality. Everyone says, "Oh, we were here before you, it is our land, you took it," it's like the egg and the hen. So you come to a point where you are always fighting, a hundred years of suffering for both people-- and especially the Palestinians because they are suffering more, there are refugees, you know. Even now I feel pain when they bring the African Jews here from Africa,
while my people are nearby in Lebanon living in camps
and suffering. They don't have the right to work, it's a very difficult life. I lived as a refugee in Lebanon, I know how it is; it is difficult. And they are very nearby, but [they are not allowed to come here] because of their race; they are Arabs, they are not Jews; they are mostly Muslims or Christians.So it's a very difficult process, but I feel I managed it successfully, because you don't always have to look into the past. You have to find a good future. Especially, you know I lost my husband in the war and I was 24 years old. I was very young, the age of my daughter now, and I had two babies. My son was 40 days old, and my daughter was 2 and a half. So when the [Oslo] peace process came, and they made an agreement, I was happy.