Abu Al-Waleed

Abu Al-Waleed
Abu Al-Waleed kept his identity card from Rashidiya College which used his formal name, Abdul Hadi Zeidan. Jerusalem, 1945.
Source: Museum Victoria Palestinian Community Photographic Collection

I could have been a London University graduate but for the events of 1947–1948.

I completed the Palestinian Matriculation Certifi cate in July 1947, hoping to gain a scholarship to the University of London. I was the first pupil from the village of Sawafir al-Sharqiya, in southern Palestine, to pass the test. My father was so proud that he gave me an expensive fountain pen.

My school in Jerusalem was hit by grenades in the early stages of the 1948 war and the students were forced to return to their homes.

My life would continue to be marked by wars. After 1948 my family fled to Gaza, until the Suez Crisis in 1956 forced us to the Gulf states. In 1991, another war drove us out of Kuwait, where I had worked as an English teacher for 35 years. It was in 1992 that I came to Australia with my family. Now I am 80 years old and enjoy my time cultivating my garden and being with my grandchildren. I still wonder where I would be now if there had been no war in 1948?