Between Ramallah And Tel Aviv

In Client Story by max

“Brazilian Romance” was the last album recorded by the incomparable Sarah Vaughan. There, Ms. Vaughan soars as she sings “So Many Stars.”

“The dark is filled with dreams

So many dreams which one is mine

One must be right for me

Which dream of all the dreams

When there’s a dream for every star.”

I imagine this is the song that our deaf client, Latif, sang in his bedroom in Ramallah as a child as he dreamed about his bright future. Latif was born into a Palestinian family with so many brothers and sisters. As Latif grew into adolescence, he realized that he was attracted to boys, and not girls. He formed romantic relationships with school friends, until Latif’s father discovered Latif’s sexual orientation. Whether out of anger, or in an effort to exorcise Latif’s nature, Latif’s father beat him over and over again, as Latif would grow into late adolescence. By young adulthood, Latif’s father had arranged for his marriage to a woman and Latif capitulated, under threat of an ultimate violence.

Latif married and moved to Tel Aviv (his wife had Israeli citizenship, although she was born outside of Israel) and they had children. Soon, Latif’s wife discovered that he was gay and she informed her brothers. One day, when Latif returned home, he found that his brothers-in-law were in wait for him in the living room and they beat him badly. Latif stayed with a friend after the beating, and fearing survival, he escaped to America where he became a client of our law center and seeks asylum.

There are no numbers to attach to the tears that trickle down Latif’s cheeks as he recounts, in countless meetings at our office, the terror of his life in Ramallah and Tel Aviv. As we write about Latif this week we learn, so sadly, of Tuesday’s terror in Har Nof where innocent civilians, and a Druse police officer, Zidan Saif, are murdered.

Are there really such differences between Latif’s tears, Mrs. Saif’s tears and the tears of the families of those who prayed in Jerusalem, Tuesday morning?

“The dark is filled with dreams / So many dreams which one is mine.”

This week at the law center, we wonder whether darkness can be filled with dreams, as we look upward toward the stars for some answers.

All the best,

Bruce

By: New York Center for Law and Justice Staff