Written by Anhar Fatouni. Translated by: Majd Bani Namira.

My father once told me that a man who knows that he has a clear goal in his mind will not be deterred by all the difficulties of the world. He said, “circumstances are just an argument related to time”. I always think about his words, and every night I think about my goal. I imagine what difficulties I must overcome and how  they are merely associated with words and my imagination. I heard about Mohammed Shoman, the young man who turned my father’s words into a dazzling reality, which made us all wonder: “By God, how is that possible?”

Who is Shoman?

It was not about time, nor was it about leniency and complacency. It was about the passion he felt in his first semester, which refused to be extinguished at the end of it despite all the violent events that were afflicted onto him.

Mohammed Shoman, a computer science student in his third year at Birzeit University, was arrested by the Zionist forces on false charges, in conjunction with his preparation for his final examinations. His detention lasted 87 days in the Israeli detention facility Ofer.

How did Shoman stand out from others?

Before the arrest, he had a goal that he kept to himself  and did not show to anyone. It is remarkable that the same goal did not change neither with his arrest, the period during which he stopped studying, nor with the psychological pressure exerted on him by the occupation forces during his detention. After Mohammed was released from prison, he studied for the exams that he missed. His name was then put on the honor list with an average 92.2. It was not the first time that Mohammad was placed on the honor list, but it was the first time a young man of his age had gone through these conditions and completed his educational career as if nothing had happened.

A scene from behind bars

Behind bars, Mohammad was cleverly practicing in his isolation. For the first month of his investigation, he destroyed the murderous void surrounding him by reading Quran and literary books. He was not allowed to use the phone more than ten minutes a day.

Although he was banned from studying due to the entry of scientific books into the prison, Mohammed assisted his colleagues during their exam period.  

Mohammed told me that the life experience gained by imprisonment in one month is equivalent to the experience of a free person acquired over the years. He reminded me of this acknowledgment with the saying: “We do not grow older with time, we grow up with people passing”.

This is one success story that serves as an example of the creativity of young Palestinians and their determination to achieve their goals and ambitions despite all the obstacles facing them, and despite the pressure exerted by the occupation on them. This is the tip of the iceberg on the suffering faced by young people who challenge it with their determination. As a tree hugging a dream with its roots- the more the wind hits, the more it clings to it.

Do you know similar success stories for Palestinian youth? Share your story with us.
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