Four generations ago, my grandparents were displaced during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. None of my family has been able to permanently return, and few have even visited. My grandparents fled to Lebanon by foot, where they faced an entirely different form of institutional and social exclusion as Palestinians.
Esperança Da Silva sits in the brown leather recliner in a small, crowded two-bedroom condo in Brampton. She massages the Portuguese equivalent of Voltaren into the back of her knee. The piercing smell of medical ointment pervades the room, but it’s comforting and familiar to both of us. At four-foot-ten, the recliner seems to swallow her whole.