Farewell to Gerizim and Ebal

nablus In his novel, “The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” Milan Kundera writes, “The brain appears to possess a special area which we might call poetic memory and which records everything that charms or touches us, that makes our lives beautiful.” As I say farewell to Nablus and to Palestine, I think of the many people I met who charmed and touched me. They are too many to be named. Thus, when I say farewell to Nablus and to Palestine, I think of Gerizim and Ebal, for they represent each of those people and each of those moments.

TYO Student Abdallah and Fellow Ronaldo saying goodbye

There was the little kid playing soccer with his big, innocent and joyful smile. Then the group of friends that, sensing my being lost, welcomed me in their group. The taxi driver who patiently deciphered my directions in elementary Arabic. And the countless others who truly cared about me and about other people, and were ready to sacrifice for me and for others, over and over, in myriad petty little ways, every day.

Farewell to Gerizim and Ebal, the beautiful mountains of Nablus. They delineate the city’s contours; they offer many breathtaking sightseeing spots; they echo the call for prayer; they reflect the light of starry nights; they hold the homes of many Nabulsis, as Gerizim held mine while I was in Nablus.

“Love begins with a metaphor. Which is to say, love begins at the point when something or someone enters into our poetic memory,” said Kundera.

Gerizim and Ebal are in my poetic memory.

– Ronaldo, Fall 2016 EFL Fellow


The English as a Foreign Language (EFL) program is part of STEP! II, a youth employability, empowerment, and community leadership initiative supported by Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation.