Hanan displayed her talent for writing at an early age, as she used her pen to probe her true feelings and express on paper her revolutionary leanings. Today, Hanan appreciates Arabic literature and writes modern Arabic poetry and prose, but her most important work is her engagement in the struggle for Palestinian rights as an influencer, activist, and advocate for nonviolent resistance.
The first seventeen years of her life, Hanan lived in beautiful Beit Jala, Palestine. While she completed her undergraduate studies in civil engineering at Jordan University, the first Palestinian Intifada broke out. Even though political engagement was forbidden in Jordan, Hanan became a political activist at her university, promoting freedom and nonviolent resistance against the cruelest colonial regime in modern history. Her conviction that democracy and independence for the Palestinian people are possible impacts Hanan’s writing that comes from her heart and eloquently expresses her people’s suffering.
Soon after Hanan got married in Jordan, she moved to Qatar with her husband. For ten years, she worked with international companies, assuming senior positions in engineering and corporate banking. The second Intifada in Palestine had begun, and Hanan’s heart was in Beit Jala. Now, her writings from the diaspora called for nonviolent resistance. Forced to leave Palestine when her husband, born in Jordan to Palestinian parents, was refused residency there, Hanan began to write about her life in the desert of the East while she imagined a reality of love and peace.
In 2006, Hanan and her family moved to Los Angeles while she studied for an MBA at Heriot-Watt University in the United Kingdom. Working as a business consultant never detracted her from political life or from working for human rights and equality. Hanan remained constantly active with various Palestinian organizations, fundraising for the Palestinian people and pursuing her passion for writing. She currently lives in Houston and has become a well-known poet within the Arab community, where she offers her poetic talent at events hosted by the local Arabic culture center and Palestinian nonprofit organizations. Hanan publishes writings in Arabic on her Facebook page (عابر طريق بقلم حنان خميس) and, as an influencer, attracts people who appreciate Arabic literature and who have a passion for human rights and Palestinian resistance. Hanan currently has around 100,000 followers from the Arab world. She speaks at churches and public schools, engaging audiences in learning about the Palestinian situation. As a Christian Palestinian, she has been able to influence evangelical clergy, helping them to come to a more accurate understanding of the Palestinian struggle within the harsh reality of life under Israeli occupation. Hanan’s Facebook followers describe her as fearless and courageous, using poetry to express her true feelings and political opinions and to attract intellectuals and thinkers in the Arab world. Hanan is currently preparing her first book to be published in Arabic and is simultaneously working on the English translation.
The following is a sample of one of Hanan’s poems, translated into English by Nadeen Tarazi.
I stand by the sea, enveloped by its salty scent…
The splashing waves call out, “Where are you? You have abandoned me, and time no longer has meaning…
I miss your kind face…your voice still rings in my ears…
I am the sea, I am love,
I am hope, I am homeland,
I am the water, and I am the salt, but they…
they are incapable of understanding the language of love, so how can I embrace them?
In silent contemplation and hope, I waited eons; and when I heard your voice, I came calling for you.