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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

JOURNAL: Turning point

In the heart of Palestine, where the sound of cars honking persists and echoes of tragedy linger, Abd-Alrahman Musaitif found his purpose amidst the chaos.

“Growing up in Palestine during my early years, I saw the impact that the conflict had on people,” Musaitif said. “From the land my family resided within for decades being stolen to seeing the constant young lives lost due to the occupational forces.”

Since 1948, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has remained a dispute, entwining historical and religious ties between Palestine and Israel. Despite various attempts to reach a resolution, a lasting peace agreement has remained elusive.

The turning point for Musaitif happened when he witnessed the impact of a bombing near his hometown when he was young. 

“The moment where I felt shaken up was when I saw the impact that people had medically with gushing wounds and the long-term effects they were dealt,” Musaitif said.

Some of his close friends were among those impacted by the bombing, and that experience ignited a desire within him to make a difference. He realized that the destruction he witnessed went beyond physical harm — it left lasting scars on memories and hope. 

“I saw the impact at hand and how it had affected the ones I loved,” Musaitif said. “I felt lucky that I had not been impacted physically, but also recognized that I could have easily been in their same situation had I not been lucky.” 

Musaitif said that, in the moment, he needed to do some type of good and help the world with what he felt was his “second chance.”

“When I saw the impact, I was devastated, but I was also inspired. The community came together, whether that be to provide medical care or to just help clean up the rubble from the explosion,” Musaitif said. “For me, the real inspiration was when I saw the medical workers get to work. Over the coming weeks, they made sure people got the help they needed and that they were healthy going forward.” 

Musaitif said that many of the people impacted did not only have obvious wounds, but they suffered heart issues as well.

He said that one of the things that stood out to him was the hit on oral hygiene and the effects it had on things such as cardiac health. The American Heart Association has stated that caring for oral health helps to decrease cardiovascular disease.

“Witnessing the reality of limited dental hygiene due to people focusing on just trying to survive was astonishing to me,” Musaitif said. “Over time this neglect, which was not out of carelessness, but survival, led to bigger issues when it came to their health.”

Years later, he moved to America, where he held on to this desire to bring about change.

“I wanted to use my second chance to do something good for the world and help to make the country that I loved [Palestine] have someone there to make bring about some sort of lasting impact on the people’s lives,” Musaitif said.

Fueled by this desire, Musaitif entered college with one intention: to bring about a lasting change to those troubled with tragedy. 

“I knew I wanted to do something but was not fully set on what that entailed. It wasn’t until I looked back at what truly inspired me, which was oral hygiene, that I decided to go work in a dental clinic,” Musaitif said.

There he saw the realities of why oral health matters and why it is needed to live a healthy life.

“Dental care is about more than just fixing teeth,” Musaitif explained. “It’s about improving the overall well-being of individuals and empowering them to lead fulfilling lives.”

With this inspiration lingering in his heart and the echoes of the past, he applied to dental school in 2022.

Musaitif said he had expected challenges in the way, but knew they would pay off, which they did. In May 2023, he received admission to the University of Detroit Mercy Dental School.

“I was elated because I thought that maybe I would have to start again in the next cycle like so many other applicants. In that moment, I felt one step closer to making the impact I’ve dreamt of,” Musaitif exclaimed. “Entering dental school is not just about fulfilling a personal dream, but it’s also a crucial step towards my goal of making a positive impact on the lives of others.”

Musaitif’s vision extends beyond his education. After dental school, he hopes to provide dental care to those facing hardship and underserved communities. Moreover, he aims to raise awareness about the limited dental care situation in Palestine and establish clinics in the United States that offer affordable care to the less fortunate.

“I want to be a beacon of hope for people who have faced hardship like I witnessed,” Musaitif  asserted. “I want to be the one to bring a smile back to their faces and offer them hope for a brighter future.”

This story was written by Uzair Qhavi. He can be reached at [email protected]

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About the Contributor
Uzair Qhavi
Uzair Qhavi, Assistant News Editor
Uzair Qhavi is an assistant news editor at the Marquette Wire for the 2023-2024 year. He is a senior from Franklin, WI studying political science. In his free time, he enjoys watching movies and binging television shows. This year Uzair is excited to work on in-depth projects and have a fun start to his last year at the Wire.

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