My name is Nadia Garib Musa. I am 47 years old, mother of two, Felipe (22) and Catalina (16), and the second of three children of Palestinian parents, Taufik Garib and Elen Musa. My parents came from the city of Beit Sahour. They were the only ones in their family who were forced to emigrate to Chile as a result of the economic disaster caused by the 1967 invasion. Here, in Chile, they were met by an uncle of theirs who had emigrated years before and had set up a fabrics business in the Arab quarter of the capital city of Santiago.
The fact that my parents had to emigrate, leaving their extended family behind, caused a sparkle of pain in our nuclear family, that gradually turned into a need for justice. This was the driving force that prompted my parents to participate in the founding of various Chilean-Palestinian institutions, like the Arab School, the Palestinian Club, the Palestinian Ladies of Chile, and the Palestinian Sports Club. We thus grew up in a family where the preservation of the Palestinian identity played a dominant role. Our parents taught us the Arab culture, history, and language, and took us to Palestine at an early age. All these experiences contributed to the establishment of an emotional bond with our family of origin, which persists to this day.
Furthermore, they taught us to be agents of change – responsible and persevering. Consequently, I was a good student at the Arab School, and I participated as the choir leader in the Palestinian folkloric groups, both at school and at the Palestinian Club. I studied medicine at the University of Santiago, Chile, and later specialized in child and adolescent psychiatry, a specialty that I practice both as a clinician and a medical teacher. It has also helped me to understand the process of my own identity and to assist several Palestinian refugee families, who have come to our country, in their path towards adaptation.
In my several visits to Palestine, I grew to admire a people who struggle daily to remain in their own land. I understood the importance of the diaspora’s continued assistance to the leadership of the Chilean-Palestinian community’s cultural and communications team, which is responsible for disseminating and providing information on Palestinian culture and identity, and for denouncing the dramatic situation that the Palestinian people are currently experiencing.