Let It Be Known: Edition 01, Sami Hanna Yousef Khoury | Savoir Flair
Palestine
Let It Be Known: Edition 01, Sami Hanna Yousef Khoury
article SAMI HANNA YOUSEF KHOURY
by Savoir Flair 3-minute read October 30, 2023

Our ‘Let It Be Known’ series shines a light on personal stories shared graciously by the Palestinian community around us. It is our sincere hope that these tales transcend the impersonal nature of statistics, bringing to the forefront the deeply moving narratives that characterize both Palestine and its people.

article SAMI HANNA YOUSEF KHOURY

Born in Jerusalem in 1931, Sami Hanna Yousef Khoury lived and breathed Palestine till his very last breath. Originally born Edward, he renamed himself Sami to signify his unapologetic embrace of his Arab heritage.

The Khoury family first laid down roots in Nablus in 1940. As tensions escalated in the years following the 1948 Nakba, they found themselves journeying to Bethlehem, and ultimately, to Amman, Jordan. And though the addresses changed, Sami’s heart remained in Palestine.

SAMI HANNA YOUSEF KHOURY

In the early years of his marriage, the walls of a prison cell saw more of Sami than his own home did. Every Sunday, his wife would bring him delicacies like warak and koussa — a tradition so regular that even the guards could identify his family by their mere presence. Prison became a second home to this Palestinian warrior, something his family laughs about now, remembering how Sami ignored the consequences of fighting against imperialism and apartheid, even when being thrown back in jail.

SAMI HANNA YOUSEF KHOURY

Years later, when his family resettled in Jordan, the late King Hussein handed Sami an award in recognition of his contributions to the Jordanian economy. With the same hands he used to defy the occupation, he planted 3,000 olive trees on his farm, nurturing them as if they were his very own children.

SAMI HANNA YOUSEF KHOURY

Sami’s vision of the world was unburdened by religious and political constraints, and his mantra, “النصر قريب” (“Victory is near”), was as much a part of the family’s vernacular as saying ‘good morning’.

While Jordan offered him refuge, Palestine remained Sami’s first and everlasting love. Sami’s children wore necklaces adorned with both the cross and Quranic verses, an evocative statement against religious dogma.

SAMI HANNA YOUSEF KHOURY

(Shared by Sami’s granddaughter, Jude Bawalsa @jude.bawalsa)

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