A story of Airlangga Scholar from Gaza

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Ahmed Muhammad Omar Al- Madani (Photo : Dilan Salsabila)

UNAIR NEWS – “There were choices, I stay in Gaza with the situation or I escape from it and make a better life”. It was stated by Ahmed Muhammad Omar Al- Madani when he shared his story of his struggle amidst the conflict of the country, until he succeeded in passing Rafah Border to get to Indonesia. The Gaza conflict was not easy for him. But, because of his struggle  and prayers in the blasting sound of war, he is going to get doctoral degree in Politics.

Ahmed Muhammad Omar Al- Madani, or known better as Ahmed since November 2013 has been a student of Social Studies of FISIP UNAIR doctoral program. He got a scholarship from Indonesian government to study in UNAIR.

“I never thought that I would get a scholarship in Indonesia, I just know the one in Turkey, Germany and America. If looked for it in Asia, I’d look in Malaysia and China” he said.

Ahmed is different from any other foreign students as his country never ceases to stop with conflicts. Ahmed was brought up among rubbles and bullets. Smokes and kids’ shouts of cries were often found in his days.

His encounter with Hamidah in the cyber space was his life turn point. Hamidah was his only associate in social media. In 2013, Hamidah suggested him to apply for a scholarship of Education and Culture Ministry of Indonesia. Then, Ahmed applied and completed the administrative requirements. After a week, he got the news that he was accepted in Universitas Airlangga.

Ahmed should have arrived and started his study in September 2013. But, his nation’s conflicts held him until November 2013. To get out of Gaza, Ahmed had to go through Rafah Border. It is the border between Gaza and Egypt. It is always closed and only a few people were given access. Every day he went to the border and negotiated to the official in the border so he could get out and fly to Indonesia. In November 2013, after hard negotiation, finally Ahmed succeeded in passing Rafah Border and flew to  Indonesia.

This year is the last year of Ahmed as a student of Universitas Airlangga. There are a lot of things he got from four years in Indonesia. He admitted that he was very happy that he could live in Indonesia and go away from Gaza.

“The people here are friendly and they like to smile, I was happy. Different from Gaza, if you smiled to a stranger, they would not answer with a smile, but they will feel annoyed and said ‘what are you looking at?,” he said while laughing.

Asked about his next plan, Ahmed said that it was impossible for him to get back to Gaza because of the conflicts. He chose to start a career in Indonesia or other countries. Ahmed has always wanted to be a teacher, as he was staying in Surabaya, he taught English in some places.

“If there is an opportunity, I want to teach in UNAIR for freshmen bachelor program, I want to share my knowledge in Politics. I also want to teach them in English,” he said.

Author : Faridah Hari

Editor: Nuri Hermawan

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