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ei: "Let me tell you about Palestine, the way it used to be"

ei: "Let me tell you about Palestine, the way it used to be": "I have never seen my grandmother without a large medallion hanging from her neck. As a child, I stared at the pendant's engraving of a gold-domed structure, watched the turquoise walls glimmer as they caught light from the piercing Iraqi sun. When I asked Tata what the pendant depicted, she replied, 'The place where I'm from.' I thought of it as a palace towering in a far, mythic land, like the great emerald castle of Oz.

I later understood that it was the Dome of the Rock, located at the heart of Jerusalem's Old City. The city, a religious and at times economic and cultural hub of a predominately Arab Palestine for nearly 1,200 years, has been in modern times, hotly contested with the establishment of the State of Israel on Palestinian soil in 1948. With the birth of the Zionist state, came the destruction of Palestinian society, and Tata was forced to flee her home along with more than 700,000 other Palestinians. When I finally understood the pendant's historical context, I realized that for Tata, it symbolized a land that she treasured but could not return to, an emblem of both beauty and tragedy."

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