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The Descendant

by Eman Ateyeh

My name is Eman. I am the daughter of two Palestinians who immigrated to the US over forty years ago in search of a more stable home.

Our roots link back to a village named Saris, not far from Jerusalem. My grandparents tell me how beautiful their lives were in Saris before April 6, 1948 when they were forced out. They speak yearningly of the beautiful green hilltop it sat on, the fragrant olive trees, and its lush vineyards. Saris is now known as Shoresh and boasts a resort popular among Israelis. There are few remnants of Saris and even less of the Palestinians that once nurtured it.

Today, my extended family is scattered across Palestine. Some have the right travel documents to see each other and some don’t. Some have moved since the Diaspora and some still live in refugee camps.

I have been lucky to see all of this for myself. My family and I go back every couple of years. This past summer was my first visit since 2007. I was reminded of all the things I love about my homeland; I revisited my favorite places, ate my favorite food, and met so many amazing people. Each visit is an eye opening experience that I hope to one day share with my own children as my parents did with me.

I did my best to capture the essence of this beautiful place. Included here are images of Qalandia Refugee Camp (where my parents each grew up), Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, Hebron, and various other locations.

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