M eet Rami Sultan. His huge smile and positive outlook are the first thing you will notice.

Rami Sultan, 21

Rami grew up in Bethlehem, Palestine, and currently lives in Jordan’s capital, Amman. He moved three years ago, when he was 18, to study media at the Middle East University. Rami’s family still lives in Bethlehem, and although he visits them as often as possible, he has his reasons for leaving.

Palestinian citizens have a long history of fleeing their sovereign state, relocating to surrounding countries. Most Palestinian refugees fled to Jordan during the 1948 Nakba and 1967 Naksa, when the illegal Israeli military occupation of Palestine displaced hundreds of thousands of people. Although the last major disruption was in the 60’s, conflict continues to this day and still drives Palestinians from their borders.

I sat down with Rami to ask a few questions about his family’s move to Jordan.

Q: Why did you move to Jordan?

Rami: I moved to Jordan because the security situation was really bad in Palestine, especially in the university where I used to be a student. The Israeli army would come into my old university every day and start shooting people, throwing gas bombs and throwing sound bombs.

Q: Were these attacks targeted?

R: They were both targeting people and employing scare tactics. Most of the time they were targeting people and shooting them, especially in the legs. They weren’t trying to kill them, just trying to make their lives worse. If they killed you, they would finish your life, but if they shot you in the legs, you could continue your life in a wheelchair, making your life worse.

Q: Do you consider yourself lucky to have left unscathed?

R: Yes, I am lucky to be living in Jordan where it is much more safe. I am more independent in Jordan and more comfortable in general. I live alone here and travel to Palestine at the end of every semester for about a month to visit my family.

Q: Are you a registered refugee?

R: No, I am just like any Jordanian person here. The refugees from Palestine are the people who came to Jordan in 1948 or 1967 when the Naksa happened. Here, as a Palestinian, I have the rights that Jordanian people do. I can also have a Jordanian passport, though the passport is only valid for five years, not permanent. This means I can work here and travel outside of Jordan more easily.

Q: Will you stay in Jordan after you finish university?

R: Yes, everyone is welcoming and it is more comfortable than Palestine. I do not want to go back as I want to complete a Masters degree at the same university. After that, I do not know what is going to happen.

Rami’s optimism and jolly personality were inspiring as he frankly and honestly told me about his past. The experiences that he has had, and the decisions he has had to make are beyond the imagination of both myself and most Australians who have not experienced the traumas of conflict, or the horrors of attacks on innocent people.

Lucy is a student of Environmental Science and Communications in Journalism and loves all things science, food and culture.

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