Voices of Palestine

Marah Soufan

“My dad is an accountant and I always loved his job and the challenges that he faced in his job. I decided that I want to study accounting, so I can work in the same field as him. During the first semester, I found the study very difficult. I found it very interesting as well though, because what I study is an everyday challenge. It is not just a routine job, every day you find something new and interesting in this field.

In the accounting field, there is something called a CPA, Certified Public Accounting which is a very important certificate. If I get this certificate, I will be very proud of myself. In Palestine, we have a growing economy and there are new businesses every day and these businesses need accountants. If students like me start working as an accountant in Palestine, we can all contribute to the development of Palestinian economy. I want to specialize in auditing which is an important accounting field. All businesses need an auditor.

The University here at Birzeit has a lot of students and all of them are from different backgrounds. There are students from Gaza and students from Jerusalem. We are all Palestinians and we have different social backgrounds but almost everyone gets along very well. In my class we are old friends, we have known each other from the 1st year and we have almost all of our classes together.

The best thing about Birzeit University is that we have students from all over Palestine and you get to know all kinds of people not just from your own home town. We have a very good relationship with our teachers and professors. The atmosphere increases your ambitions and dreams. Sometimes I even miss my University and my friends in the weekends.
I live in Ramallah so I don’t face the same everyday challenges as my fellow students from Jerusalem who must pass borders and check points. Some days there are problems at the border and they cannot get to the university. It is a difficult situation, but coming to the college and studying here is a kind of resistance to the occupation. We are challenged but we are trying to face the challenge every day. Even the 3 years old kids in Palestine need to be strong. The way I see it, our study is a natural part of the resistance. You can’t fight the occupation if you don’t have any educational background. You need your education. Studying at a University and getting our certificates contribute to the Palestinian cause.
I discuss the current situation in Palestine with my friends. It is our everyday lives. It is not easy hearing about the death of someone younger than you, someone with a long life in front of them. No words can describe what you feel. He or she is an innocent, he or she did nothing to deserve getting killed. Of course, we get angry. It is tough. Yes, we got used to it but not in the good way.

We have a student’s organization that represents all students at Birzeit and we have a fund that helps the families of students that are killed or wounded. We all participate in this but without external political involvement, it is just for students from Palestine.

I hope that Palestine will be free. Right now, we can’t go to Jerusalem without permission. I can’t visit my relatives in Jerusalem. I want to have my own career, to be independent and to be competent in my future job. I want to discover the world and I want to travel. I love Palestine but I want to see the world from outside of Palestine. I want to specialize in auditing and have a CPA. I hope that Palestine stands together, all of us, and fight the situation. I hope that things change. We can do it.”

Marah Soufan will turn 20 years in July, she is an Honors Student and Undergraduate in Accounting from Birzeit University