(…) From the narrow window of my small cell I can see your big cell.
Samih Al-Qasim – End of a talk with a jailer
At that point I had completely lost the count of the hours passing by. The darkness I was trapped in since I was kidnapped from my house was thrusting on my eyelids. Blindfolded, the shadows were swallowing me, and all I could hear were random words in Hebrew. I don’t know where they were taking me nor what I had done to get arrested. They wouldn’t say.
Waiting in a cold room, seated on a bench, the wintery draughts were creeping in my bones. I was forcing myself not to shake. I didn’t want to give them the satisfaction of thinking that their uniform, their rough manners and arrogant smirk could break me. I’ve been exposed to their oppression since the day I was born and their hatred just made me more determined to fight for my right to exist and resist. The plastic band tied around my hands was sinking in my skin, I could feel every muscle in my arms, coerced behind my back, burning in pain. No food, no water, no toilet was permitted. International law: just words to be used at their own convenience. But still, we are the terrorists.
The landscape from my rooftop is breathtaking. You can see the whole valley and in the clear days you even manage to see the sea off Jaffa. Sinuous contours chase and overlap each other originating the hill on which my village leans on. The clinging roots of the strong olive trees keep us steadfast, the blossoming almond trees gives us hope as winter isn’t everlasting, the red spring flowers in the fields provide shade to our martyrs and every stone reminds us that we have the right to chase away the oppressors from our land.
This is Nabi Saleh.
Nabi Saleh, that night, was immersed in a peaceful atmosphere. At least until 2:00 a.m., when the blasting banging on the doors broke the charm and the menacing shouts snatched us from our sleep. 300 full armed Israeli forces were deployed against a village of 500 unarmed civilians. They stormed the village when the only witnesses could be the stars guarding over us, they broke into our houses, they threatened us, forced us to wake up all the family members, also the newborns, because they were searching for ‘wanted’ people of whom they had photos. Here you are born a potential terrorist.
Five of us were arrested. Amongst us a 15 years old kid, already his second time.
Friday14th November – Chapter III will be published