Volume 2 Issue 2 March 2018
Letter from the Editor In 1987, all of Palestine united under a single movement that changed everything, the Intifada. Although there has always been strong Palestinian resistance prior to this year, the Intifada represented a monumental societal shift; when injustice becomes a way of life, resistance becomes duty. The word Intifada means uprising, and during this time Palestinians resisted in any way possible. When we think of the Intifada, we often imagine young men valiantly throwing rocks at tanks, surrounded by winds of sand with their faces concealed with a keffiyeh. And while this iconic image is accurate, this was by far not the only means of resistance. During the Intifada, citizens organized a country wide grassroots resistance which ranged from launching a boycott against Israeli goods and producing alternative products, defying the closure of schools and universities through underground classrooms, to loudly playing music after the IOF imposed curfew. In this issue, we hope to capture the spirit of the Intifada. Here, you will find accounts of what it means to resist in the diaspora, snapshots of the Intifada, an interview with the Museum of the Palestinian People, and beautiful art that captures the essence of Palestine and what it means to be a Palestinian. Today, the drive of the Intifada is kept alive through people like Ahed Tamimi, who bravely protect their homes and loved ones no matter what the personal cost. It’s kept alive through Palestinian students who struggle through various checkpoints and barricades to get to class. It’s kept alive through every Palestinian child who hears stories of their home that lies across a border. Through every grandmother who sleeps with her house keys underneath her pillow, who never gives up on hope. It’s kept alive by the fighters, the dreamers, the students, the activists, the artists... Resistance can be as simple as identifying as Palestinian, no matter how long it’s been since you’ve touched the soil of your homeland. We at Falastin would like to dedicate this issue to everyone resisting in the name of Palestine all over the world, no matter what their contribution is. We hope to keep the spirit and drive of the Intifada strong and alive through each and every one of us. It’s our job to rise up against injustice. We hope that you can join in on our resistance through art and reclaim the Palestinian narrative. We welcome and urge you to contribute to Falastin in any way you can, whether it be by reading or sharing, or by sending in art, written pieces, or photography. I’d like to extend a thank you to PACC’s board and all of our sponsors for their support. I’d like to thank all the readers of Falastin for keeping the Palestinian spirit alive. Thank you to the staff of Falastin for all your hard work in making the magazine a success, and to Rania Mustafa, for guiding and helping us through the way. And I’d like to especially thank our contributors, past and present, for making this magazine what it is and for allowing us to be a platform of resistance and a channel for justice and truth. May the spirit of the Intifada be strong in all of us, Reem Farhat Editor in Chief of Falastin
Staff of Falastin Reeham Farhat: Entertainment Editor Aya Mustafa: Poetry Editor Marah Siyam: Fiction Editor Aseel Zeinaty and Hiba Birat: Arabic Editors Aseel Washah: News Editor Razaan Halak: Layout Editor We’d also like to thank Noor Siyam, Reem Suqi, and Shuruq Alfawair for their assistance with editing, Ibrahim Issa for his assistance with layout and to Salma Zaitar and Rawan Anani for their art in the front and back covers! 2
Letter from the Executive Director Here at the Palestinian American Community Center (PACC), our mission is to sustain and strengthen ties to Palestinian heritage, while empowering the success and well-being of the entire community. Since beginning the new year, we have made many advances to focus more on reviving the Palestinian spirit. We are working on re-branding and re-launching of our program Holding onto Palestinian Existence (HOPE) to include a year long program to educate about the Palestinian history and struggle. In addition, we will be focusing on building partnerships to expand our Palestinian Education to universities, libraries and schools. One project that we are currently working on to achieve this goal is Field Trips to PACC. This past December we hosted a public school from Basking Ridge, New Jersey where 20 high school students, who have had very limited exposure to the Palestinian culture, history and reality, came to the center. We gave them a tour of the center (including our Museum) and gave them a 40 minute Palestine 101 lecture. Afterwards they toured South Paterson which is also known as "Little Ramallah" and dined in one of the fine restaurants in that location. We are trying to epitomize this experience and replicate it for other schools. If you know any schools that are interested in partaking in this endeavor, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Furthermore, we are launching our second year of the Homeland Project where we take youth between the ages of 18 and 30 on a journey designed to offer participants a fun and educational experience of Palestine. Participants will be offered a once-in-a-lifetime experience to tour the country, explore its lands, delve into its rich history, taste its vibrant culture, and rediscover the roots of Palestine and its people. We invite you all to apply by visiting www.paccusa.org/homelandproject. We do not have the opportunity to engage in the struggle on the ground, but the least we can do is educate, advocate and raise awareness about the Palestinian struggle abroad. This is our version of resistance. So we ask you to partake in this call for action by getting more involved at PACC. Contribute to Falastin whether it be through an article, a story, a poem, a photo, etc. Give this magazine to someone who may not know about whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s going in Palestine. Through Falastin we relay stories, photographs, and articles so that you can see and learn about Palestine and the struggles Palestinians face through the eyes of those who have gone. Get more involved with PACC. I would like to thank the Editor in Chief, Reem Farhat, and staff members of Falastin for their dedication. I would also like to thank the sponsors of this magazine. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s only with their support that we can continue printing the magazine and growing. Thank you to the board of Directors for their support. Last, but not least, thank you for picking up and supporting Falastin.
Rania Mustafa Falastin Advisor Executive Director of PACC .
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TABLE OF CONTENTS Pg. 6-7 “Dear Nana” by Janna Zimmerman Pg. 8 “Across The Border” by Abir Safa Pg. 9 “Part Five: An Excerpt from the Exhibit” by Marah Siyam Pg. 12 رجاء غزاونة- عبد العزيز ابو هدبا Pg. 12 يوسف قطب- بلدة الرام Pg. 13 هبة بعيرات-مخيم ونظر Pg. 14 “Ahed Tamimi” by Nadine Badwan Pg. 14-15 “Amal” by Reeham Farhat Pg. 15 “My Last Intifada” by Boutrose Saba-Norton Pg. 16-17 “My Capital Jerusalem” by Aya Mustafa Pg. 20-22 “Walk Through Bethlehem” by Reem Farhat Pg. 22 “Fly Away” by Karim Ramadan Pg. 23 “My Form of Resistance” by Samar Hussaini Pg. 24 “Identity in the Clouds” by Ahlam Yassin Pg. 25 “Lessons from a Place I Knew” by Yara Assadi Pg. 26-27 ﷴ اسماعيل اللحام-أطفال تحت اﻻحتﻼل Pg. 30-31 “1987” by Reem Farhat Pg. 32-33 “One Step Closer” by Salma Othman Pg. 34-35 “Grains of Sand” by Huda Abukwaik Pg. 36-37 “Stories of the Intifada” Pg. 38-39“My Life in Kalandia” by Dr. Aref Assaf Pg. 40 “The Demolished Reality of Palestinians” by Aisha Assaf Pg. 41 “Person of PACC: Zidan Farhat”
Dear Nana Janna Zimmerman
wish you could have been there. I wish you could have been there in that moment I first saw it. I had wandered ahead, fascinated and unsuspecting, when my friends called me back. And as I came around that corner in al-Quds, I looked up. And saw it. That golden dome rising above the dirty sloping street obliterated every other thought and feeling I had. I felt undone - like all my atoms had split apart and mingled with the sunlight shining on that splendor. I suppose you could say I got tunnel vision, though perhaps it was the cramped alleyway. Regardless, I couldn't focus on anything else in that moment. It was all consuming. Even now when I think about it, I am transported. Like most profound moments of humanity and hope in Palestine, this one was soon diminished by angry shouts down the road and the sight of teenagers with AK47s slung over their shoulders, reflective sunglasses pushed up so close to their eyes that we couldn't see where they were looking. They were alert, watchful. Down the road some kind of pro-Israel rally was going on. This was only a few days after Palestinian Muslims had reclaimed the right to worship at al-Aqsa through peaceful protests. In fact, when we arrived in Palestine earlier that week, we were not even sure we would be able to go to al-Quds, let alone al-Aqsa. I felt tears burn in my eyes at the contradiction: such profound beauty and history amid such fear and force. Getting into al-Quds was its own study in applied bias manipulation. I'm not even kidding: we had all the women wearing headscarves go to the back of the bus, next closest were the darker-skinned among us, and right up front were me and two others: the whitest, most European-looking, most "non-threatening" members of our group. Our bus driver even paid me the hugely confusing complement of calling me "settler-passing." Wow. In America I pass as a lot of things: white being the major one, but I had never been compared to an Israeli settler before. Of course, I am a settler in the way all Americans are, settling on stolen land that belonged to the Native American peoples before European conquerors â&#x20AC;&#x153;discoveredâ&#x20AC;? this continent. Still, I admit I was deeply unsettled (ha) by his well-intentioned comparison to the Israeli settlers here, living on land stolen from another native people by European conquerors. Mostly, I was happy to put my unearned advantages to use to protect my friends and advance our mutual goal of getting into al-Quds. And I was also reminded of how I don't fit in with most Arab circles, even in America with my skin tone, lack of Arabic language, and mixed upbringing. Passing is a mixed blessing everywhere. But today, getting into al-Quds was the goal. Our driver asked me to sit right up front, tie my little blue handkerchief on around my hair as if I were from a moderately conservative Israeli house, and talk into the bus microphone as if I were giving a tour. For about 10 minutes, I talked about anything I could think of, mostly farming. You know me. I told my companions about how cows give birth, about how the weeds in the onion fields grew above our heads so weeding them out felt like being in my own private jungle, how we slaughtered our chickens in the Halal manner, and how celery, parsley, and celeriac are all technically the same plant (just bred to emphasize different parts over the years until they became distinct varietals). My heart was pounding as we approached the checkpoint. "Look straight ahead," our driver snapped "don't smile, just keep talking. Like you do this all the time." It worked. The teenager with the AK47 glanced at us as we approached, then waved us through. We had done it. But we weren't done yet. We wouldn't be done until we got back to Ramallah that night. (And in reality, we will never be done until Palestine is free.) Every moment in al-Quds we were on edge. That's why that first sight of the Dome was so powerful. From that moment, everything else faded. All the stress, the fear, the sweat, it had all been worth it. Getting into al-Aqsa itself was comparatively easy, at least for us women. All of us covered, we confidently passed in front of the guards (still Israeli) and into the complex. No one gave us a second look. The men had more difficulty, but eventually everyone got through. As we crossed the plaza, the call to prayer started up. This time I did not hold back my burning tears. This time I looked up and around at this place of mystery, the magic of faith, and for once I did not feel out of place. I was welcome here. Everyone would be 6
welcome here if they could only see that all Palestinians want is peace and stability and the right to grow their food with clean water and eat it on their own land without the threat of violence. I have a picture of you there. Not you you, obviously. I brought the program from your memorial service, the one that has a picture of you on the front. You are on the phone. I like to think that I was on the other end of the phone, but I never called you as much as I should have. I held that photo up on top of a building meant for viewing al-Aqsa from above. I turned until both you and the Dome were visible together and I took a photo. I can't tell you how much I wish you had been there for real. Or that Photo taken by Janna Zimmerman you had been alive for me to tell you about it instead of writing. Words are insufficient vehicles for my thoughts, sensations, and emotions. I've done what I can. But the truth is that I believe you saw it all anyway. That you were looking down on me and your beloved Palestine all in one, together at last. And you were smiling. Love, Janna
Across the Border: Speaking to Palestine from the Border of Lebanon
Along the border, I am standing on the soil of my She sings to me in every language I never knew I homeland whose thirst for memories are quenched by knew; she harmonizes in the language of resilience, its travelers that have finally returned home never breaking her breath because her lungs were I stood along the roots of my forefathers, tracing made to shield off bullets, their paintings of what life used to be And regardless of how many there were, she would pinch them between her frail fingers like I watched her frail fingers pick the leaves of thyme burned out cigarettes, like she was knitting a quilt that would be passed on for generations She always told me that fire does not burn when She smelled like this very herb, nostalgic and a lot you’re made out of fury; these valleys you bomb are like home; the wrinkles her eyes now carry, and no matter how “These herbs,” she says, “these herbs hold history, many prayers you send to the heavens for her to yet they remind us of our time.” wither away like dried thyme, her fragrance will always greet these roses with the most beautiful hello So allow me to lay roses on this damp soil So massacres can be made pretty without exhaustOn her border, I wonder why she must endure so ing our media outlets much; Allow me to pick these petals off the bud and scatter But I guess a rainbow can never show its beauty them in the sky so we can watch them fall, without the rain and the sun engrained in its skin For once, it'll seem like the roses are smiling back I hear the roses tell her to give them her smile, so at us for we’ve finally used them to decorate our land they too can be beautiful. So she smiled once more instead of our graves and gave her smile away to the roses as she watched them bloom And still, with her frail fingers, she picks the thyme leaves off their stem uttering “Time is almost up.”
Photo taken by Ahmad Abusama’an
Part Five: An Excerpt from the Exhibit “Al-Shatil” Marah Siyam
'm back in Palestine, but for the first time it was my choice. Everything is different. I'm reacting a lot differently than how I used to and I don't really know why. I've been to Jerusalem before, but this is the first time I feel like I need to go, it's probably because I can't. I was denied a Tasreeh and I have a Hawiyabut I’m getting in. I felt very determined about the matter. I was getting in no matter what. I was ready to die trying, but we got in, easily. It amazes me how God can put a feeling in your chest letting you know that He did what He did for a reason. It’s a feeling you only get in moments like this and when you feel it you know exactly where it came from. I walked up the smooth stairs to the Dome of The Rock with tears in my eyes. My anger subsides; the love I have for the land completely grew back with the purest feelings of love. But the strongest feeling during that hot Dhuhr salah was the instinct to protect, protect the land, the people, the houses of God, everything.
Painting by Marah Siyam
After Salah an older woman touched my arm, in America if that happened I would have gotten anxious. But here people are tender. She asked me to fix her scarf and said, “Make it pretty like yours.” I said of course “you're going to look beautiful,” I cried as I fixed her scarf. Everything came full circle for me. I wanted to tell her how much I’m going to work and sacrifice to make sure her sons and her home are as safe as the feeling in this mosque. I would have died for that old woman; she showed me the tenderness Palestinians have that I had lost in America. I looked up at the intricate and majestic design on the ceilings one last time, thanked God quietly and left-leaving behind my arrogance and entitlement.
عبد العزيز ابو هدبا رجاء غزاونة عرفنا عبد العزيز ابو هدبا باحثا ً بارزا ً في القضايا التراثية ،ومؤلفا ً شعبيا ً بالمعنى العريض لهذه الكلمة .اهتم منذ شبابه المبكر بالثقافة الفولكلورية والتراثية الشعبية ،وامتلك قدرة هائلة على البحث والتنقيب ،وللراحل ايضا ً دراسة طويلة ايمانا ً منه بضرورة صيانة المخزون الشعبي الفلسطيني وحماية تراثنا وبحث موسع حول تأثير اﻻنتفاضة الفلسطينية على من الضياع وعمليات التزوير والطمس والتذويب . عاداتنا وتقاليدنا في اﻻفراح واﻻتراح ،نشرت في الكتاب وعرفناه انسانا ً محافظا ً على القيم العربية اﻻصيلة ،والزي الشعبي الفلسطيني ،خلوقا ً ،كريما ً ،متواضعا ً ،عزيز النفس ،شهما ً ،محبا ً الموسوم "اﻷدب الشعبي في لوطنه وشعبه ،عالما ً بكل ما في هذا الوطن من خير وبقاء ،متمسكا ً اﻻنتفاضة" الصادر عن مركز إحياء التراث العربي بالجذور،ثابتا ً على مواقفه الوطنية والقومية ،ولم يعرف انتما ًء آخر في الطيبة ،ومن إعداد سوى فلسطين. الدكتور عبد اللطيف عبد العزيز أبو هدبا من مواليد القدس سنة ،1935ومن مؤسسي لجنة البرغوثي .وفي هذا البحث القيم يشير أبوهدبا إلى أن اﻷبحاث اﻻجتماعية والتراث الشعبي الفلسطيني في جمعية إنعاش اﻻسرة .كتب ووضع ونشر العديد من الدراسات والمقاﻻت في التراث حديثه عن العادات والتقاليد بمجلة "التراث والمجتمع" وغيرها من الدوريات والمجﻼت والصحف في ظل اﻻنتفاضة هو بمثابة الفلسطينية .وشارك في الكثير من المشاريع والنشاطات والفعاليات حول تقديم صورة جلية وواضحة ومتحركة للحياة في مجتمعنا الفلسطيني في الموروث الشعبي الفلسطيني ،التي كانت تقيمها المؤسسات الفلسطينية ظرف خاص ومميز. المتخصصة ،التي تعنى بمسألة التراث ،وأشرف على تحرير واعداد ً صفحة "تراث الشعب" في صحيفة "الشعب" المقدسية المحتجبة ،في لقد رحل عبد العزيز ابو هدبا بهدوء وصمت ،بعيدا عن الضوضاء والصخب والضجيج اﻻعﻼمي ،وبعد أن أعطى وقدم بسخاء ،تتصرف ثمانينيات القرن العشرين الماضي .كما ساهم في تقديم برنامج عن تراثنا الشعبي في تلفزيون فلسطين وفضائية الشارقة وأبو ظبي ،وتقديم بنبل ووفاء وسمو أخﻼق ،وحياة بسيطة عاشها بتواضع جم وقناعة تامة .فسﻼما ً لهذا الرجل الذي افنى عمره في خدمة التراث والقضية برامج تراثية في اذاعة صوت فلسطين . الوطنية ،ولكل كواكب رموز فلسطين في مختلف مجاﻻت ريادتهم ترك وراءه كتبا ً واعماﻻً ودراسات تراثية هامة تثري الوعي الجمعي وعطائهم ،الذي كتبوا وسطروا بلغة الموت والشهادة خطاب ونص الفلسطيني ،منها ":التراث الشعبي الفلسطيني – جذور وتحديات وتاريخ ،واﻻنجاب والطفولة ،ثﻼثون ليلة وليلة في المضافة الفلسطينية الحلم والحرية ،سﻼما ً لهم جميعا ً حتى مطلع الفجر. ،قرية ترمسعيا " وغيرها.
بلدة الرام يوسف القطب الرام هي بلدة فلسطينية تقع إلى الشمال من مدينة القدس ،وتبعد عنها 7كم .يصل إليها طريق داخلي معبد يربطها بالطريق الرئيسي طوله 0.8كم. وترتفع عن سطح البحر 750م .والرام هي قرية قديمة ،عُرفت في العهد الروماني باسم )الرامة( بمعنى المرتفعة تعتبر الضاحية الشمالية لمدينة القدس وتوجد فيها معظم مؤسسات السلطة الفلسطينية الخاصة بالقدس مثل محافظة القدس الشريف .كانت إبان الحكم اﻷردني مقر قيادة لواء المشاة الثاني وكتيبتي المشاة الرابعة والخامسة في الجيش العربي اﻷردني .ويوجد فيها ملعب فيصل الحسيني الدولي الذي يعتبر الملعب البيتي للمنتخب الفلسطيني ،زارها العديد من الشخصيات أمثال هند صبري وجوزيف بﻼتر رئيس الفيفا .ينحدر سكانها من عائﻼت الرام اﻷصلية ومنها عائلتي غزاونة ورامية إلى جانب عائﻼت من قرية قالونيا المهجرة مثل عائلة خطاب .يحمل أكثر من نصف سكانها هوية القدس. 12
مخيم ونظر هبة بعيرات في دﻻل اﻷكاسيا على صاحبها نظر ربما عزيزي ربما ٌ ْ حملت سحابةٌ عابرة بمولو ٍد ذكر ْ مخيم أنجبت طائرةً أو سماء ربما ٍ ً ً أو نيزكا سماويا مجهول النسب أو موتا ً عابراً ألقى التحية واختفى سﻼمهُ ميﻼدُ جناز ٍة هامشي ٍة ومطر وفيها اختصار أنساب القذائف ما غاب منها عن الذكرى وما حضر فواحدة لخياطٍ يمضي إلى دكانه وثانيةٌ للص صار بعد الدراسة قاضيا ً وثالثةٌ لغريب نزل المخيم بعد سفر ألم أقل أن في دﻻل اﻷكاسيا على صاحبها نظر؟ وفي قيلولة الملثم في المخيم أيضا ً نظر فيه انعكاس الظل لقادمين من البعيد من النشور من القيامة أقل قليﻼً أو يزيد بالوا على الليل السواد وغادروا الك ّل م ّل نحيبهم ما الجديد في عويل أموا ٍ ت عابرين؟ ما الجديد؟ أصار المخيم اﻵن مسيحاً؟ أصار المخيم اﻵن ﻻجئاً؟ أصار المخيم اﻵن صندوق بارود مريض؟ ٌ أيذان جديد لخازوق جديد؟ ما الجديد؟ ﻻ جديد
ولزهر اﻷكاسيا حضور في المآتم والقبور ﻻ أثر لزهر اﻷكاسيا في الموت كالقلم اﻷبيض يلون الصفحة البيضاء ﻻ أثر لها على شواهد القبور مر بخاطري ونسيتهُ ق طارئ ّ إﻻ من قل ٍ ْ لمن نغني إذا مات المخيم فجأة؟ غص في بلعومه؟ بذبحة صدريّ ٍة أو بحلم ّ وأنا التي قد كنتُ أشهد أنه جف ريقه اليائس الذي ما ّ اصفر وﻻ ّ وهو اليائس الذي لوﻻه ما قام لﻸمل فينا قيام وهو المذعور من يأس وشيك ي يقتله وﻻ يحييه الكﻼم فﻼ صمتُ الشاعر ّ وهو البيْن بيْن ي النقي الفلسف القضية فﻼ هو رمز ّ وﻻ هو هامش القضية المنبوذ الخفي وﻻ هو ابن الفراش فنؤذّن في سمائه وﻻ هو على القَ ْ طع ابن حرام يغص في بلعومنا وﻻ هو الحلم ّ وﻻ هو ذبحةٌ صدرية لمساعي السﻼم وهو البيْن بيْن يصر على مكوثه فﻼ هو صاحب الدار ّ يخف إلى سفر وﻻ هو الغريب ّ وﻻ هو السماء إذا اسودّ رحيقها فﻼ نجم يسامرها وﻻ قمر وﻻ هو صاحب اﻷكاسيا في خلواتها فقولوا بربّكم أليس في دﻻل اﻷكاسيا على صاحبها نظر!
Ahed Tamimi Nadine Badwan She smacked oppression across the face and showed it who’s boss Fought for her rights and was arrested at night Taken from her home and put in a jail cell with no access to a phone Where she sits malnourished, in need of a shower, shivering from the cold, shaking in fear and crying for help All she wants is her and her people’s freedom Her punches and kicks to that soldier weren’t out of hate for him but respect for her land So here I am Writing of this legend whose name will go down in history Because she wasn’t afraid of the consequences NO She knows what she did was right and has no shame in claiming so Ahed Tamimi is the girl from Nabi Saleh who represents a country of hope So we pray for Ahed and her family to return back home.
Amal Reeham Farhat May 15, 1948, Amal was born. Born next to the ruins of the place she would have called home. Opaque grey, gloomy clouds, the smell of smoke, and an ashy, concrete floor devoured the village. Five seconds ago this could have been her home; Jenin, Palestine. Five seconds ago, Amal would not have had to open her eyes to the sound of mothers’ wails, as they watched their children let go of their hands too early, leaving the world too soon. Five seconds ago, Amal would not have had to smell the gas and fumes in the air as she opened her pure, hazel eyes to the reality. Five seconds ago, Amal would not have woken up to the sight of grey smoke and decay.
Five seconds ago, Amal would not have coughed before crying, shivered before the sensation of the warm touch of her mother’s delicate hands. Five seconds ago, Amal could have woken up to the chirps of doves in her small yet cozy home with the smell of the maklouba cooking in the kitchen and the sight of her father picking fresh olives from the olive trees in her backyard. Five seconds ago, Amal could have woken up as a normal child. A tear drops down her mother’s face as she whispers in her daughter’s ear to hold on tight, that this war would soon be over. Whether it was in a week or a million years, the doves would be free. (Continued on page 15)
My Last Intifada Boutrose Saba-Norton
f I had to do it over, would I? I don’t even know at this point. I pulled the brim of my hat down to my face to protect the red of my cigarette from any stray splashes of rain. The arch I stood under didn’t protect me from it. Standing there, I took a long pull and almost choked with laughter at the thought that I was smoking a cigarette on the same path that Jesus walked down to his crucifixion, and of how he might have appreciated being able to have a smoke then. I pulled my collar up as I heard dogs barking in the distance. The rain would mask my scent but I didn’t want to take any chances. I didn’t regret what I had done, but I might regret the consequences in the long run if I were caught. So, would I do it again? I might be more careful this time around maybe. The dogs were getting closer, I could tell by the way the sounds of their pursuit echoed off the limestone. I needed to get out of the old city. I started walking in no particular direction when I saw the light of a windmill Image taken by Chebmoha across the way, just on the edge of where the new city started, and I began to make my way there. Flashes of lightning betrayed me as they illuminated the streets, letting any window watchers know I was there. I needed to reach my contact, but I couldn’t risk using a cellphone or I’d reveal my location. Oh how I longed for the days when payphones were still a thing that dotted the streets. There was a light up ahead, a doorway was open and a familiar voice with a foreign face greeted me. Were they my contact? “Where are they,” the voice asked as I rushed to pull out the documents from the inside of my jacket, shielding them from the rain. Suddenly, my chest felt warm and things grew darker as smoke rose from a point in front of me and a red stain ruined my shirt. I’d probably do this part over again, if I could.
(Continued from page 14)
For this, Amal’s name was chosen wisely, It meant hope and through the millions of Palestinians’ eyes, hope was all they really had. Hope that one day, death would no longer be a common reality in Palestine. Hope that before your child was even born, you wouldn’t have to fear the thought of saying goodbye before saying hello. Hope that the thousands of Palestinian refugees can return to their righteous home. Just like a child wishes for their favorite toy, Palestinians wish to return home.
And I hope that we can all go home. I hope that this occupation ends. I hope to see the day where all the hoping pays off and we can all live at ease in our tiny little homes made of nothing but love and pride. I hope Amal lives on, ‘till the day she can go home to her small yet cozy home with the smell of the maklouba cooking in the kitchen and the sight of her father picking fresh olives from the olive trees in her backyard. I hope Amal returns to her motherland, Jenin, Palestine. 15
My Capital, Jerusalem Aya Mustafa Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine. I am a Palestinian, therefore should I not be able to enter my capital? Even if I were to be rejected from entering due to my ethnicity, I am under age and the rules do not apply to me. Yet, I am still rejected. I show them my American passport, pleading to be granted entrance, but the lady continues to yell having made up her mind that I am Palestinian and therefore I cannot enter. It hurts. The last time I visited Palestine was when I was seven and I had yearned to enter its capital that I dreamt about on so many nights. Yet, I stand in front of the lady and she continues to yell, telling me to turn back and leave.
young to remember the last time we visited Palestine, but she had a sufficient knowledge of the injustice our people face. Yet, her being a young girl who grew up in America, I know this will be a big blow for her: a memory that will forever be painted in her head, a memory that will never really make sense to her, for how can someone reject a young girl from entering her capital? The memory will be ingrained in her head and she will often try to make sense of it. The memory will be brought up every time she hears or learns of some sort of injustice, and when she recognizes the world we live in is not the happy world in which her dolls reside, she will perhaps make sense of her experience. I know she will. I know this will be the case because it was the case for me.
â&#x20AC;&#x153;Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine.â&#x20AC;?
As much as it hurts, I knew to expect something like this. I had my mind mentally prepared to be rejected, but my hopes were so high this time round. I looked down to my eight year old sister who was confused as to why the lady was still yelling at us. I looked down at her and tears filled my eyes. She was too
I was only three years old: an age where memories aren't even yet made. A three year old is taught how to be nice, play fair, and share. These are principles taught to us at a young age by people who are older so should it not be the rule everyone follows? I was
Photo taken by Helda El-Temawi
torn away from my innocence too early. I was torn away from this innocence before I could even fully comprehend it. I was visiting Palestine for my first time and was excited to see my family. Unfortunately, having been so young, I don't remember much from that trip since. But I do remember one incident very clearly, an incident that is engraved in my head and that throughout the years has replayed again and again.
remember putting my face into the car chair trying to make myself disappear. You know when you're having a bad dream and you try to wake yourself up? That is precisely what my three year old self did. I actually thought I was having a nightmare. I needed someone to wake me up. I remember seeing a man approach us and squeezed my head further into the car chair. The man however, was kind and he made a passageway for our car to leave the gruesome scene. Our car was pushed by several men to help us get out of there as fast as possible. I was so relieved, but tears My family overseas wanted to take my family out to continued to rush down my eyes and those of my family enjoy ourselves: just like anyone else on vacation. We members. I remember stopping at a store to buy some water bottles so that we could calm our nerves down. I remember went to a lovely park and had lots of fun, at least gulping down the water quickly with trembling hands. that's what I am told. I cannot remember the fun I had, but I have a vague My memory breaks painting of the park we from that moment unwent to. What happened til we get to my famon our way back home, I ily's house. We enter will never forget. We were the house crying, rein a small car with my counting the traumagrandmother and my imtizing experience we mediate family. The drive had just faced. My already was not enjoyable as there were so many family members just stared at us with blank faces, checkpoints we had to pass through. However, we confused as to why we were crying. They began to tried to maintain a conversation to keep ourselves enlaugh saying, "That is all? We see things like that all tertained in a car ride that was supposed to last ten the time. You guys didn't see the worst of it". They all minutes but was stretched out to two hours because went back to watching the TV as if nothing had hapof the checkpoints. Perhaps if we knew what was pened. My siblings and I looked at each other speechabout to happen, the checkpoints would have seemed less, shocked, numb. There words replayed themtrivial. We drove into an area and this is where my selves in my head. The nightmare I experienced was a three year old memory begins: life they lived. This was too foreign to my three year Our small car was between two large trucks. One truck old mind, but I couldn’t forget it. I would never forget and it would not make sense of it until I realized that had a red front, the other black. The truck's screens were destroyed, broken in the shape of a spider web. I remember the rules my parents taught me of kindness and love looking around and seeing fire and rocks being thrown. The were rules often broken. They were rules I would see yelling I heard was not the sound of kids at a playground. broken as I entered Pre-k that year seeing some children be mean to others. It was a rule I would see broThe running I witnessed was not one of kids playing tag. The soldiers in green were not dressed up like that for Hal- ken in elementary as people cut the lines to get what they wanted. It was a rule I would see broken by loween. I was terrified. I had never seen such a scene. I could not even think things like this only happen in movies adults who cursed when someone cut them off while driving. It was a rule I would see shredded and for I had never watched a horror movie. For a three year ripped right in front of me when my fourteen year old old, a horror scene consists of a clown laughing too hard. self and my eight year old sister were rejected from The tears rolled down my eyes. I heard my family say words of death, and let's try to run out. My mom told my entering our capital. It was a rule broken time and time again, but a rule I would continue to live by. dad to take my brother from one door while she and the girls would run from another door. Family separation? I
“The Soldiers in green were not dressed up like that for Halloween.”
A Walk Through Bethlehem: The Museum of the Palestinian People’s Exhibit
ple. He wants to engage people through talking both about Palestinian culture and history as well as what is happening on the ground today.
child drinking water glares as his photograph is being taken. Mother and son smile in front of their family home. A boy with a Keffiyeh wrapped around himself sits atop a friend’s shoulders in the middle of a bright celebration. The images are strikingly human and remarkably normal. This is Bethlehem, authentic, stripped down, and real. A beautiful reminder that life thrives and flourishes in Palestine, despite the horrors of the occupation.
In 2014, Nassar took steps into making this dream into a reality and began to contact artists and photographers in Palestine. Since then, the museum has launched exhibits all over the country from Washington D.C., to New York City, and even here at PACC in the summer of 2016 as part of PACC’s HOPE program.
Among images of the Nassar shared that the muChurch of Nativity, ripe seum will soon have a permafruits, and happy farmers are nent space in D.C., which we images of graffitied birds, a are all looking forward to seebrutal, yet compelling indicaing. According to Nassar, one tion of the injustice being perthing he hopes to see more of petrated against this land and is greater support for the muit’s people. Paintings from Founder of the Museum of the Palestinian People, seum from the Palestinian Palestinian artists such as Bshara Nassar American community. Ayad Arafah and Wael Abu Yabes, and photographers such as Elias Halabi, line “Our community as Palestinians is more directed the walls here at the Museum of the Palestinian Peotowards humanitarian work and helping people in ple’s Bethlehem Exhibit at Manhattan College. Palestine and we forget about the culture and about the importance of having a big cultural institution This Museum and exhibit were organized and founded by Bshara Nassar. Nassar came to the United that can influence how people think. So I think that is States in 2011, and, like any other tourist in Washing- the biggest challenge we face as a Palestinian community, to start to see that these things can do that.” Naston D.C., he visited the numerous monuments and sar said. museums there. It was then that Nassar got the idea to start a museum to showcase Palestinian works of We were lucky enough to get to speak to photograart. pher Elias Halabi, the official photographer of the Na“I went to the museums, monuments, and memori- tivity Church in Bethlehem, whose work was featured als, and saw how proudly Americans tell their stories in the exhibit. through these museums. And I felt this sense of loss According to Halabi, his biggest responsibility as a because I couldn’t find a museum to tell my story.” Nassar shared. He added that he looks to the African Palestinian photographer is to show the side of Palestine that the media does not show. American Museum in Washington D.C. as an example of his goal for the Museum of the Palestinian Peo20
“That is what I am trying to do and that is why I studied photography in 2008, because back then I used to give a lot of talks in the states and Europe, and all that time I really wanted to find an image that reflects who the Palestinians are, and how Palestine is really like, but I could not find any pictures. Back then all the pictures were of demonstrations and destruction, of the conflict, of soldiers shooting at kids, of settlements. Most of the pictures were political pictures that reflected only on the conflict. For me, Palestine is like a coin and it has two sides. The first side is the beauty side, the culture, the history, the side that people do not really see, and the other side is the conflict. For me it is like the beauty and the beast.” Halabi goes on to talk about his favorite subjects to photograph. He shares that he enjoys capturing people in the streets because that shows a human story. To demonstrate the effect of this, Halabi turns our attention to the adjacent wall which was showcasing a few of his photos. He points to an image of a young boy who is looking directly into the lens. He looks confused and tired; the image was clearly a candid.
Halabi explains that this image was taken during Ramadan where thousands of people come from Hebron and Bethlehem and queue outside the gates of Jerusalem waiting to pray. “And this kid,” Halabi begins, “is waiting with his father to go to the other side of the checkpoint, but I don’t think he actually passed. I didn’t follow up with him, I took the picture and had to leave, because there was another martyr in Jenin so I took this picture and ran to take other pictures.” However, taking photos in Palestine is not always as easy as pressing a button and leaving. Halabi mentions that the Israeli Offense Forces often make being a photographer difficult, especially at checkpoints. “A lot of times, the soldiers stopped me from taking pictures at checkpoints,” he said, “Especially at checkpoints, a few times, some soldiers caught me and made me delete [my pictures] and asked me to leave the checkpoint.” Halabi walks us across the room to show us one of his favorite photographs, which showcases a Christmas celebration in Bethlehem. The photo was taken using a fisheye lens and gives a wide view of the celebration. On the far left, a mosque can be seen. “To me, “ Halabi shares, “it is more symbolic that the mosque is in the picture. In Bethlehem, Christians and Muslims live like brothers. I don’t like to call it coexistence, because it is more than coexistence, we live together as one people under the same circumstances when it comes to conflict.”
Photographer Elias Halabi stands in front of some of his work
(Continued on page 22)
Fly Away Karim Ramadan 1948, When a new scheme was found, In our land, we were attacked, In our children’s tears, we drowned. So Fly away… Like the birds did, Like a speck of sand in a desert storm, Netanyahu, IDF soldiers, Trump, The nearest thing to a devil, in human form. Fly away... Like pests, Like the shameless cowards you're trained to be, Thousands of families broken apart, Thousands of refugees forced to flee. But we'll fly… With hope,
With courage, that’s illustrated within our scars, As we raise our hands to God, Gazing sympathetically at the stars. But we’ll fly… With pride, With the valiant personalities we always hold, Take our land, our schools, our homes, But unlike yours, our hearts will never turn cold. And though I’m from Syria, Palestine’s a red line for us all, And in order to retain it, The whole Ummah must stand tall. So we won’t fear your presence, Your so called “existence”, In our gardens our roots are forever cultivated, Our existence is our resistance.
(Continued from page 21)
Afterwards, the occupants of the museum moved to a larger hall where Halabi gave a presentation on his work. The exhibit and the energy surrounding it embodied the meaning of resistance. The images and painting showcasing both the brutal realities and the beauty of life in Palestine created a powerful atmosphere, further emphasizing the strength and role of art in resistance. To read more about the Museum for the Palestinian People and see how you can support the spread of the Palestinian narrative, visit their website at https://mpp-dc.org/ or follow The Museum of the Palestinian People on social media! Halabi’s “Young Boy at Checkpoint 300 during Ramadan”
My Form of Resistance Samar Hussaini
was born in the United States to exiled Palestinian parents. Raised outside of DC, I was surrounded by politics, culture, diversity, and the news which was on 24/7 in my house. My mother recounts that in 1975, when I was five years old, I said to her, “Palestinians are bad people.” She asked, “Who told you that?” and I responded, “Television.” It broke her heart. My father soon after wrote an op-ed published in the New York Times entitled “Yearning for Palestine,” where he discussed seeing himself distorted in the media countless times. He described what happened and how they told me, “No beautiful one, we Palestinians are good; we want peace, brotherhood, happiness. We have to repeat to Americans every day; we want peace in Palestine.” They never stopped encouraging me to stand up for what was right and taught me to always be proud to be Palestinian. I am now a mother of two young children and I worry that they will one day say the same thing I said to my parents in 1975. I continue to tell my children what my parents told me: “Palestinians are good; we want peace, brotherhood, and happiness.”
low effect asking the question, “What happens to the people and their culture with no homeland?” I am proud of our people and culture. A society filled with a rich history and beautiful customs. As a child, I would visit my family in Jerusalem with wide eyes, amazed at the beauty of the countryside and the mouth watering food. My family was generous and the people were kind. These are the narratives I continue to share. I tell the story of Palestine and its people in a positive light, empowering my children and generations to come to grow up feeling proud. I paint so that others may see a different story than the one being portrayed in the media, so that I may carry on my father’s hopes and dreams. I am Samar Hussaini, I am Palestinian American, my art is a record of my Palestinian identity and my form of resistance. You and every viewer are part of my achievement.
Through my art, I tell the story of Palestinian identity in a positive light by showing the distinctions of being a Palestinian-American. I reveal the richness and elegance of my culture, while creating thought-provoking ideas of dialogue and hope. The traditional representation of the Palestinian Thobe is reimagined and recreated through mixed media acrylic, graphite, paper, and gold leaf. I include traditional elements such as embroidered cross stitch indicating regional identity, the iconic patterned Keffiyeh, and writings of my father, Dr. Hatem Hussaini. My father, an outspoken political activist who passed away in 1994, spoke about creating empathy and humanizing Palestinians in hopes that people would hear him and grow from that understanding. “Rise” was created using two paintings. I painted a canvas as the fabric of the dress. Then creating a dress pattern, I cut and hand stitched the painted canvas dress onto the background painting. A mesh wire stitched into the dress creates a disembodied and hol23
Identity in the Clouds Ahlam Yassin You ask of my Identity But for so long I’ve lived neither here nor there You ask of my Identity And for so long I wanted to respond - I am my mother’s daughter You ask of my Identity And for so long I have responded I am my father’s daughter, granddaughter of his father, and great-granddaughter of his father My name, my father’s name, my grandfather’s name, and my great grandfather’s name I have known one of those men, and yet, Those names run through my patrilineal veins You ask of my Identity And for so long I wanted you to know of the Olive Trees that raised me You ask of my Identity And I tell you; it is all but a memory You ask of my identity And I now tell you I am my husband’s wife
…a mother to three beautiful children.. You ask of my Identity And I wanted to tell you of the mountaintop I called home But then I realized the mountain was no longer my home You ask of my identity and all I can tell you Part of me is in the clouds You ask of my identity And I can tell you It is not earthly bound Transcending nations Heaps and bounds Identity is the kaleidoscope of… Hope, love, struggle, despair and triumph Found within the hearts Of each and every one of us. Ahlam Yassin was the winner of PACC’s Poetry Contest on the topic “Identity”
Photo taken by Ahmad Abusama’an
Lessons From a Place I Knew Yara Assadi The breathtaking mountainous terrain, the bountiful olive trees bearing fruit, a mother goat and its child grazing the sparse bushes. Expansive horizons leading into stone homes of crimson. Bricks are positioned along the streets and up the walls of alleyways, like the jasmine that flourishes with vines hugging the ancient structures who carry the weight of history on their shoulders. Windy nights and sandy roads imprinted from the footsteps of children running, a dusty soccer ball rolling down the street; a picture that comes to mind when someone whispers the word “serenity.” Until another bullet’s echo pierces the air.
our home. It's mine and yours, and just because we fear our neighbors does not mean we give up our home.” “So, you are afraid!” I insisted. “Yes, but we are not weak. When it's really dangerous, we’ll just go inside and drink tea. The sun will shine another day, so why leave everything we know because of a storm?” I shook my head. “But this isn't fair! You shouldn't be afraid for your lives.”
When it's really dangerous, we’ll just go inside and drink tea.
“Yara, look. This is not a matter of fair and unfair, it is a matter of love and hate. In God’s eyes, The rolling horizon is scraped more violence in the world will by barbed wire. The pavenot bring peace, only love will. ments interrupted by metal I am not going to hate those boxes: miniature arsenals, checkpoints. The roaring, destructive grumbling from who are blinded by it; if we give hate, expect it to come back around. If you give love for those who are a caterpillar bulldozer, ripping through the mother wrong, they can't blame you for their wickedness.” trees, which screams as each root gives up its grip. The windy nights have become lonely; no child to be I shrugged, as I did not understand her meaning at seen, no flora to sway. the time, but as I watched Lena graduate from high school, then university, and get married, going This paradox that I have come to know is Palestine. through celebrated milestones, without batting an The holy land, yet it feels as if hell is running free. eye, I began to understand. She carried on. She had not given up her identity despite walking to school These pictures of fear and beauty used to exist sepawhilst fearing for her life, regardless of checkpoints rately in my mind, until I heard some wise words ruling every corner of her neighborhood, in the face from my cousin, Lena, as we walked in our late of losing the only home she has ever known, she cargrandmother’s garden when I was eight years old. ried on. “How? How do you guys stay here? The second I see another soldier I feel like hitting him!” I said. If I have learned resilience from anywhere, it is from Palestine. She smiled, picking a fig and said, “Habibti, this is
وفي السياق ذاته تقول أبو لبن ":دائما ً كانت قوات اﻻحتﻼل تقتحم المنزل وتبحث عن أبنائي وأكثرهم ابني اﻷكبر هشام وهذا الحال في أغلب بيوت المخيم حيث كانت القوات اﻹسرائيلية تطوق منطقة مخيم الدهيشة بالسياج وتضيق الخناق على جميع سكانه من حيث الدخول والخروج من وإلى بيوتهم. يوم استشهاد رفيدة يقول والدها ":قبل استشهاد رفيدة بيومين ارتقى شهيدان من المخيم اﻷول عماد قراقع في 15أبريل والثاني ناصر القصاص في 16من أبريل ،وتلتهم ابنتي في 17 من الشهر نفسه ،كان المخيم ملتهبا ً غضبا ً وكانت هناك دعوات لمظاهرة ،خرجت رفيدة عند الساعة التاسعة صباحا ً مع رفيقاتها أي قبل اندﻻع المواجهات ،وبعدها بدقائق سمعنا صوت إطﻼق نار ،وخرجنا بسرعة لمعرفة أسباب صوت الرصاص. وإﻻ ببعض الشبان يقولون لنا بأن رفيدة التي أصيبت وتم نقلها إلى مستشفى "بتي" ،عند وصولي إلى المستشفى دخلت إلى الغرفة الموجودة فيها وشاهدتها ملقاة على السرير والدماء تمﻸ المكان وأخبروني باستشهادها ،كانت إصابتها بالرأس في الجبين تحديداً ،بعدها بساعتين انطلقنا لدفن رفيدة في مقبرة قرية صورة والدة و والد الشهيدة رفيدة أبو لبن أرطاس ولم نستطع إدخالها إلى المخيم لوداعها بسبب منع التجوال المفروض على المخيم ،أما إخوانها لم يلقوا عليها نظرة الوداع اﻻخيرة بسبب عدم قدرتهم الخروج من المخيم إلى قرية أرطاس المحاذية للمخيم". وفي رواية لشهود العيان بأن من أطلق النار على رفيدة هو الضابط نفسه الذي كان يهددها على الدوام )أبو النيجرو( ،وقال جنود اﻻحتﻼل أن سبب إطﻼق النار على رفيدة " أن الفتاة كانت بمﻼمح فتى وذلك بسبب قصر شعرها وأنهم شعروا بالخطر وأطلقوا النار" ،وبعد استشهاد رفيدة بفترة قصيرة اختفى الضابط الملقب "أبو النيجرو". وفي تقرير للحركة العالمية للدفاع عن اﻷطفال – فلسطين ،إن أكثر من 1996طفﻼً فلسطينيا ً استشهدوا على يد قوات اﻻحتﻼل اﻹسرائيلي والمستوطنين منذ اندﻻع انتفاضة اﻷقصى في أيلول عام .2000 منذ عام ،2014استشهد 15طفل فلسطينيا ً على يد قوات اﻻحتﻼل اﻹسرائيلي في الضفة الغربية 14 ،منهم بالذخيرة الحية ،ووفقا ً لتحقيقات الحركة العالمية ،لم يشكل أيا ً من هؤﻻء اﻷطفال تهديداً مباشرا ً لقوات اﻻحتﻼل أو المستوطنين. وبحسب مكتب اﻷمم المتحدة للشؤون اﻹنسانية )أوتشا( ،فإن 1477طفﻼً آخر في الضفة الغربية أصيبوا بالرصاص الحي أو المعدني المغلف بالمطاط وقنابل الغاز المسيل للدموع ،والقنابل الصوتية خﻼل قمع المتظاهرين خﻼل السنتين اﻷخيرتين. ويذكر أن إسرائيل وقعت في العشرين من نوفمبر/تشرين الثاني ،1989 على اتفاقية حقوق الطفل وهي معاهدة دولية تعترف بالحقوق اﻹنسانية لﻸطفال ،وأخذت باعتبار اﻷشخاص دون سن ال 18بحاجة لرعاية خاصة على الصعيدين المحلي والدولي بسبب عدم نضجهم البدني والعقلي ،ولكن إسرائيل تضرب بعرض الحائط جميع اﻻتفاقيات الدولية وتنتهك القانون الدولي في ممارستها الجرائم ضد الشعب الفلسطيني وخاصة اﻷطفال!. صورة الشهيدة رفيدة أبو لبن
أطفال تحت اﻻحتﻼل ﷴ اسماعيل اللحام طفا على السطح مصطلح )اﻻنتفاضة( في فلسطين المحتلة ابتدا ًء من جباليا بقطاع غزة ،بعد دهس سائق شاحنة إسرائيلية في 8ديسمبر /كانون اﻷول ، 1987مجموعة من العمال الفلسطينيين على حاجز أيرز اﻹسرائيلي الذي يفصل قطاع غزة عن بقية اﻷراضي الفلسطينية منذ سنة ،1948ذلك الحدث كان الشرارة اﻷولى ﻻندﻻع )انتفاضة أطفال الحجارة( في كل اﻷراضي الفلسطينية. كانت الوسائل التي يستخدمها الفلسطينيين في اﻻنتفاضة اﻷولى تتمثل في الحجارة والزجاجات الحارقة والسﻼح اﻷبيض، بينما استخدمت إسرائيل اﻷسلحة النارية والدبابات وايضا ً سياسة العقاب الجماعي وهي هدم البيوت والسجن وإصدار بطاقات شخصية بلون محدد للمطلوبين ومنع العمل داخل أراضي عام ،48ومنع السفر خارج اﻷراضي المحتلة .وأمر وزير الدفاع اﻹسرائيلي آن ذاك إسحاق رابين جيشه بقمع المتظاهرين وضربهم على أطرافهم وعظامهم ﻹحداث كسور بالغة عرفت ب"سياسة تكسير العظام"، محاولة منه ﻹخماد اﻻنتفاضة. وبعد أيام من خطاب رابين ،في 26 فبراير /شباط عام ،1988قام الجنود اﻹسرائيليين بتكسير عظام وائل و أسامة جودة وهم مقيدين قرب نابلس ،وبثت محطات التلفزة حول العالم المشاهد بعد CBSاﻷمريكية قيام مصور شبكة موشيه البرت ،بتصوير الحدث ونشره. وبحسب إحصائيات منظمة مراقبة حقوق اﻹنسان اﻹسرائيلية بتسيلم ،فقد بلغ عدد الشهداء اﻷطفال الذين قتلوا على يد قوات اﻻحتﻼل اﻹسرائيلي ) (281طفل فلسطيني في فترة اﻻنتفاضة اﻻولى. وفي مقابلة مع عائشة أبو لبن )66عاما ً(، من مخيم الدهيشة لﻼجئين جنوب بيت لحم ،وهي أم الشهيدة الطفلة رفيدة ابو لبن )13عاما ً( ،والتي ارتقت عقب إطﻼق جندي إسرائيلي النار على رأسها مباشرة بدم بارد ،أثناء فترة اﻻنتفاضة اﻷولى في 17أبريل ،1989تقول أبو لبن ":كانت طفلتي رفيدة مليئة بالحيوية والنشاط ومحبوبة من الجميع ومتفوقة في دراستها ودائما ً تساعدني في أعمالي المنزلية". وتتابع أبو لبن" كانت رفيدة تشارك في الفعاليات السلمية الوطنية في المخيم وتتعرض لضرب من الجنود اﻹسرائيليين ،ولم أكن أعلم بذلك ولكن علمت بعد استشهادها ،وكانت تتعرض رفيدة لتهديد من قبل الكابتن اﻹسرائيلي الملقب "أبو النيجرو" المسؤول عن اﻷنشطة العسكرية اﻻحتﻼلية في المخيم آن ذاك ،حيث قال لها ) راح ييجي يوم واطخك فيه(" ،كانت رفيدة مثل باقي اﻻطفال تشعر بالخوف والقلق من الضابط وجنوده اﻹسرائيليين ،حيث قالت ﻷمها يوما ً ما " دائما ً أصادف )أبو النيجرو( ،ويقول لي )سوف اقتلك ودائما ً يضربني( " ،وذات يوم كان الضابط نفسه يضرب رفيدة بعنف في منطقة الحارة الغربية في المخيم وتم تخليصها من بين يديه من نساء المخيم. وتضيف أبو لبن ":من أكثر المشاهد التي أثرت في نفسية ابنتي ،هو مشهد إصابة الشهيد ﷴ أبو عكر أمام المنزل حيث قالت رفيدة لرفاقه الذين كانوا يرافقونه بأن يدخلوا ﷴ إلى منزلنا خشية عليه من جنود اﻻحتﻼل الذين كانوا يبحثون عنه في أزقة المخيم ،وكانت تشعر بألم على إصابة الشهيد ﷴ أبو عكر حيث استمرعﻼجه لعام كامل وانتهت باستشهاده.
1987 Reem Farhat This is a dystopian fantasy where nothing is dystopian nor a fantasy. I hereby present to you Palestinian history.
eople had been saying the universities were next for a while now. In Palestine, there’s a weird gray area when it comes to legality. The occupation is illegal, even the UN agrees, but it still happens. So are the many forces that come with the occupation, the arrests without trials, the imprisonment of children, uprooting people from their homes. And now, going to University was an illegal act, according to them. It happened slow at first, then all at once. They started sending letters to universities, limiting what could be taught. Professors and students alike were appalled by this infraction, this, insinuation that somehow, somewhere along the line, these foreigners thought they could choose what we were being taught. Eventually, a notice was sent out, all Palestinian universities were to be closed indefinitely. They said the schools were a “breeding ground for violence.” But with all the shebab no longer in school and in the streets, their logic clearly made no sense. Some of us went anyways. We saw the announcements, heard the warning. Obey or be met with force. But we were just learning. Studying. They wouldn’t take our future. But when I got to campus the first day, it was littered with soldiers standing outside the door. They would take any excuse to shoot. Their prerogative was death. Entering my own University would be a violation of the law, one I could pay for with my life. But injustice never breeds obedience. Making school illegal just meant we’d have university underground. They can take away my degree, but never my capacity to learn. Ustadh Selim got in contact with us all. He spread the word by mouth, afraid that any technological communication would be intercepted. We went to his house in shifts, making sure there was distance between our visits. We didn’t dare carry books. I kept a pen and notepad in my back pocket, hiding it as if it was some weapon. This was the scene, five eighteen year old almostmen, sitting in the living room of our professor, talking about medicine in hushed tones. We were all risking our lives, and the lives of our professor. By learning. The law is a funny thing.
Illustration by Aliyah Chowdury
My family would murder me if they knew I was out this late. However, my father’s anger was the least of my worries now. Hair tucked tightly under my black hijab and wearing a long black abaya over my clothes, I slipped into the darkness with the note in my hand. I kept my footsteps light, knowing the smallest noise could set off a landmine. I had just had to walk three blocks, silently, then I would meet him and give him the letter. Oh, how the neighbors would talk if they saw me, daughter of Ahmed, out this late. I giggled at the thought of the rumors. I was 20 years old and not married; once you get past 18 people start to wonder. These thoughts entertained me as I slipped through the night. In the thick silence, I heard whispering. I could not make out the words, but I heard the static of a two way radio. I held my breath, the sound of my beating heart growing louder in volume, drowning out the sounds I heard. Were they behind me? Were they ahead? In my frenzied panic, I could not tell. I crouched
down by the nearest porch, back against it as I held myself tightly, willing my breathing to calm down. I had two blocks left. Baba would kill me if I got shot. Mama wouldn’t be able to live with herself. Amir wouldn’t either. Straight ahead, I saw two white orbs floating in the air. A large set of yellow teeth that looked like upright thorns appeared soon after. It took everything in me not to gasp in fear as the creature in front of me wagged its tail and heaved heavy loud breaths as it assessed me. Do not move. Do not move. Donotmove. Donotmovedonotmovedonotmove. Seconds stretched into eternity as I felt a growing pit in my stomach. It was the feeling you get when you run up the stairs and miss a step, as your confused foot steps down and finds nothing. Except while that feeling is fleeting, this one was agonizing in it’s length. My son was smiling. He was dressed in a white tshirt, like the ones those kids in those American movies with blue eyes and clean teeth wear. His green eyes reflected the light he was shrouded in, the same light that was dripping off him like blood. He stared at me, and I stared back. He looked so happy, but my face was wet, and as I lifted my hand to check why, I realized that burning hot tears were slipping down my face. I reached forward to grab my son, and he disappeared from my grasp. I rose from my bed with a start, jumping up and making my head foggy in the process. I always told him that he’d give me a heart attack one of these days. I didn’t know it would be this soon. I didn’t need to check his bed to see if he was home. A mother who hasn’t seen her son since the day he was born would know him from his presence. In the same way, she’d know his lack of presence. I went upstairs anyways, and was comforted to see his form underneath his sheets. I got closer to kiss his forehead, but his figure sunk underneath my touch. In his place were two pillows, placed vertically, posing as my son. It was three am, the devil’s hour, and my son was nowhere to be found. I sat on the edge of his bed praying. After an hour or so, a loud crack reverberated through the air. Lights in homes slowly began turning on, as worried mothers went to check on their sons. Those whose sons were home closed their lights
after an hour of waiting for more sounds. The rest of us sat with our lights on and our hearts in our hands, praying, begging, hoping that we would not have to bury our sons come dawn. I heard a second loud boom resound through the village. A mother always knows . Me and Eissa had been planning tonight for a whole two days. We were gonna go sneak onto the highest mountain in our village, and see who can throw stones the farthest. It would be perfect tonight, because all week the streets have been empty. All the shops close at 8 pm sharp now, so my uncle who owns the corner store shop won’t be able to rat me out. And all the bullies and mean older kids stay home too. Mama told me to make sure I was always home well before 8, because then the yahood would take me away. But parents always tell their children things to scare them. Like the one time my big sister Amirah told me there was a jinn living in our bathroom, and I believed her until Mama caught me using the bathroom outside by the tree. Eissa told me to meet him by his house and we would walk the distance together. But I wanted to show him that I could climb up the mountain without him. I knew I was cheating getting a head start, but I was younger than him, so it was okay. I weaved through the village, staying close to the walls so no one would see me from their windows. I made it to the edge, and revelled in my accomplishment. But then I heard a voice. “What are you doing out past curfew?” Asked a tall man. He had a huge gun across his chest, it looked like the ones in the movies I watched with my cousins. Except this one was ginormous. A lot bigger than the one that guy Scarface used. I think the man was talking to me, and had been trying to for a while. He kept saying “Khalas!”, telling me to stop, but then he took the big gun off of his shoulder, and pointed it towards me. He was showing it to me! I reached my hand forward to touch the side of it, still standing in front. Then everything turned red. I was hot, my shoulder felt like it was on fire, but I couldn’t see any flames. I couldn’t see anything, actually. The pain slowly dissipated, I started to feel cold. I couldn’t tell when I had stopped feeling entirely.
One Step Closer Salma Othman “BOOM!” “Sabrina, are you okay?” My cousin came rushing to check up on me. “Yeah, what was that?” I asked scared and disoriented. “It’s happening, it’s finally happening!” “What’s happening?” He didn’t answer me, he had a glazed look in his eyes. “Adam, what is it?” I yelled at him, snapping my fingers. “This is the revolution we have been waiting for. The intifada is finally here,” he said and then ran out of my room leaving me confused. I have been waiting for this day, but I was sad that a special person couldn’t be here to witness it. 3 months ago “Sabrina,” my brother yelled, coming into my room, causing me to rush to stuff my papers underneath my pillow. “What is that?” he asked me. I struggled to calm my breathing, worrying that he saw what I was hiding. “Oh nothing, just homework,” I replied as casually as I could. “Why would you hide homework from me?” “It’s nothing, don’t worry about it,” I told him a little too quickly. “So, what do you want?” I asked desperately trying to change the subject. “Oh right, I wanted to tell you that there is another article written by Mahmood Salem and you should read it.” I sighed in relief and smiled at him. “Alright, I’m coming.” What he didn’t know was that I read that article and all the articles before it. I read all Mahmood Salem’s papers before anybody else did because I am Mahmood Salem. I started writing when my parents died and I promised them that I would do something for this country, for my country. Nobody is allowed to know, -especially not my brother. After my parents died he made it very clear he doesn’t want me anywhere near politics or Zionists. “Ahmed,” I called my brother quietly. “Hmm,” he answered not paying attention. “Do you think people actually read these?” I asked him holding up the article. “Of course, haven’t you heard the people talking?
They want change and they want it now. But most of them need a push. Everyone reads them and everyone is talking about them. Whoever Mahmood Salem is, he’s amazing and knows how to write about politics,” he said with a happy glint in his eyes. With that I was content. I didn’t want people to compliment my writing, I wanted people to talk about it. I got up, taking my brother’s plate with me to wash the dishes and think about how to get the people moving. What do they need to read so that they can wake up? Ahmed said that most of them need a push. What could that push possible be? I wrote about everything. I wrote about the killing of innocent people. I wrote about how they moved into our land little by little. How they threw people in prison for no reason. I was so caught up in my thoughts that I jumped when my brother touched my shoulder. “Sabrina, are you okay? I have been calling your name,” he asked concerned. “Oh nothing, sorry I was just thinking,” I replied once I recovered from the scare. He just looked me in the eyes and hugged me. “It’s going to be okay. You are going to be okay,” he said comforting me. But he didn’t say he was going to be okay and that worried me. Time has passed since the incident with my brother and I still remember what he said and I can’t forget. I tried to tell myself he didn’t mean it but my mind wouldn’t let it go. Ever since that day I have been writing more and more articles. I would go out and record everything I saw. Anything that would give the Palestinians the push they are waiting for, but today the news came to me. “I am reporting live for Al-Jazeera in Gaza. We are getting information about an accident. An Israeli drove into a group of people killing two and injuring nine. The Israeli military said it was an accident but was it really an accident?” I turned the TV off right away and ran to my room. This is the push that was needed and I was going to make sure they heard about it. I was going to write another article. I took out some paper to write and once the pen touched the paper I couldn’t stop. Once I finished, I ran to the place I publish in and made copies. After I was done, I ran out of my house to find the little boys that always give out
these papers. While I was running, I bumped into someone and all the papers fell. “I’m so sorry,” I said with my head down trying to collect all the papers before whoever I bumped into looked at them. “Sabrina,” I heard that voice and I knew I was done. “Ahmed, what are you doing here?” “What are you doing here? What is this Sabrina, what have you got yourself into?” he asked me, picking up the papers scattered on the ground. He stared at them while rubbing his forehead. “I told you to stay away from this stuff. I can’t…I can't lose you too! I promised Mama and Baba I would protect you. But you just couldn’t let me do that could you,” he asked me. “I couldn’t just sit back and watch Ahmed. I had to do something and now we have to let the people know about this,” I said. “Okay, okay I will go,” he said and without giving me the chance to protest, took all the papers and
ran. He gave it to everyone on the way while taping it onto buses and buildings. That’s when what he said to me earlier came back to me. “You will be okay,” he told me. He didn’t say he was going to be okay and that’s how I knew I might never see him again. I started to cry slowly at first, but then I started to sob. When I got home, I collapsed onto the floor, staring at the wall feeling numb. I stayed like that for three days waiting for him to return until, one day, I heard a knock. When I heard it I immediately knew he was gone. I opened the door to see my cousin holding a bloody body and when I looked at the face I fell to the floor and sobbed. I tried to stop but I couldn’t. I didn’t want to believe it but every time I looked up the evidence was right there. My brother might have died but he died for a reason. He died for this land and trying to start the very first intifada. His death was just another reminder of how cruel the Zionists are.
“My brother might have died but he died for a reason. He died for this land …”
Grains of Sand Huda Abukwaik
Painting by Rawan Anani
y first memory of Gaza consists of snapshots and moments, nothing more. Blurs of soldiers and checkpoints come to mind, and hours of travel time in a hot bus, not being able to move. I remember everyone piling up in a taxicab, trying to squeeze as many people as possible into the small space. I remember sitting in the bus in my dad’s lap, begging for water, not able to turn my head to face my dad. It took hours to smuggle a bottle of water from the front of the bus to the back, where I sat. Opening the bottle, I lifted it to my mouth, ready to quench my thirst. Four year old me was disappointed. “The water is so hot,” I complained. “Shh, baba,” my dad said, not moving his lips when he spoke. “It’s all we have.” Four year old me didn’t understand anything then. Four year old me wanted to go back to Pre-k, where all my friends were playing and having nap time. I didn’t want to be sitting on this filthy bus for hours, not moving more than an inch every hour. I wanted to jump up and down, let everyone know that my birthday was next week. I wanted to be excited, I wanted to be happy. The suffocating bus ride carried on, and, to four year old me, it took a year before we finally stopped. I jumped up, ready to get off, but my dad yanked me back down. “Not yet.” I frowned. I was hot, I was thirsty, I was tired. I wanted to get out, to go play. But, that wasn’t an option for me, a four year old girl just trying to get home. I observed the people as they got off the bus upon order, one by one. I watched as they were checked and 34
abused before being passed through the checkpoint. Some people were told to step aside, though to four year old me, I couldn’t understand why they were crying. They were allowed to wait in the shade, weren’t they? They didn’t have to wait on a long line like the rest of us. They were lucky. It was finally our turn: my dad, my pregnant mom, my two sisters, and me. We got off the bus and arrived in front of the soldiers. They called us out name by name. I heard my father’s name, and he stepped forward. Next was my older sister, only six. She went to join my dad, slipping her hand into his for comfort and security. Then, it was my turn. I passed through the metal door and went to stand on the other side, with my dad and sister. That was when my mom was called. My mom moved towards the door, my three-year-old sister clinging to her clothes. A soldier stood in her path, asking her to leave my sister and go through. He pushed my sister away, and she fell back with a cry. “Baba, what’s happening?” I asked, pulling on his sleeve. He placed my hand into my older sister’s, and said, “Stay together.” He moved closer to the gate and looked at the soldier. “Hey! That’s my wife and girl!” The soldier sneered. “Oh yeah? Well, we have protocols, and the girl can’t go until her name is called.” My dad held his anger, just barely. “She’s only three! She doesn’t understand to wait her turn! Call her name and let her pass already.” “We don’t know if she’s allowed entrance yet,” the soldier smirked. “She has to wait her turn.” “So you want us to all move on and leave a three year old girl by herself?” my dad exploded. “Do you not understand the mentality of a little child?” The soldier frowned. “You’re causing too many problems, as usual. Let us do our job, or all of you who came on this bus will be sent back.” Four year old me didn’t understand anything, and perhaps that’s why to this day I do not remember what happened next. I do remember, though, that we had a birthday party at my uncle’s house, and I remember them closing the lights and bringing in a birthday cake with candles for me, like in the movies. Of course, four year old me didn’t realize that they
didn’t close the lights or bring the candles to make me happy; they just didn’t have a choice, with no running power. I do know now that the only reason we had to go back to Gaza was because a sudden change of rules, that stated that anyone five or younger who did not have a Gazan passport would never be allowed to enter. That was why we had to leave school, leave work, leave life behind and go on this journey, just so I would have the right to be able to come home one day. I am just one of many, many victims who had to go through so much to be able to step on my land, to be able to see my family. This is what pushed the people to say that enough was enough, and that the soldiers had to go. This is what brought on the second intifada in Gaza, and this is why today, Gaza stands, free of soldiers, yet still in the grasp of the enemy. The first intifada brought to the world the truth of Palestine, and Gaza. The second intifada removed the soldiers from Gaza. And all of us are praying, waiting, for the third intifada, that would free all of Palestine from the hands of such brutal enemies. I do have one vivid memory of that trip. My older sister, my parents and I had gathered our things and were ready to go to our family’s house, completely exhausted. As we walked, we noticed the absence of my three-year-old sister. Turning around, she was easy to spot, kneeling in the sand. She was grabbing handfuls of sand and throwing it in the air, smiling at us innocently. She was just a child after all, and what else would you expect from such a child, but to sit in the sand and play, oblivious to all that was happening around her. It’s because of children like my sister that we fight. It’s because of children who have been forced to lose all innocence before they even have the chance to be children. It’s rare to find a child living in Palestine with much innocence left intact, but the loss of innocence is made up for with an abundance of hope. Hope for better times, and hope for the chance to one day live like any other.
“The loss of innocence is made up for with an abundance of h o p e.”
Stories of the Intifada Below are six testaments of what life was like during the 1987 Intifada. Many of these stories below have been translated into English. “The first Intifada highlighted the many great characteristics of the Palestinian people, among them being bravery, kindness, caring and accepting the other. During these days, I felt every Palestinian house, neighborhood, and space belonged to all of the people.”
Hanna G. Hanania, President of the Ramallah Association “The first Intifada was the most beautiful one. It was characterized by solidarity and everyone felt like family. This solidarity was also reflected in the various organizations, all of them working together against the Zionists and forming one national leadership.”
Hussein Mehyar, President of the Nablus Association “I was in my second year at NJIT when the first intifada started. As part of the General
Union of Palestinian Students in the USA we led weekly demonstrations in New York City and held activities on different campuses in support of the intifada.”
Diab Mustafa, President of PACC “The uprising, despite all its pains, means very much to us. During the Inti-
fada, we felt pride, dignity, and an unmatched self-confidence. Every mother of a martyr, of a prisoner, or of those wounded was our mother too. We worked collectively and voluntarily for God and our homeland. Our sense of belonging to one land was greater than any tribal affiliation.”
Zidan Farhat, PACC Board Member “The Uprising was one of the first important events that took place in Palestine after
the 1967 war. It signaled a major change to the perspective of the Palestinian issue. The Zionist enemy, the Arab world and the Western world realized that the Palestinian people would not surrender and would not yield to the occupation.”
Majdi Salem, PACC Board Member
“The best memories I have while living in Palestine were during the First
Intifada. People were united and nothing could have divided that unity. I still remember the smell of tear gas every time Israeli soldiers shot at us after school hours, -and that was if we had school.”
Shukri Taha, President of the Deir Debwan Charity Association
My Life In Kalandia- Palestinian Refugee Camp Dr. Aref Assaf
alandia Camp is one of 59 Palestinian refugee camps run by the United Nations. My family has called this ‘home’ since 1948 when they were expelled from their village, Allar. I just returned from a short visit to Kalandia Camp, where I lived for my first 18 years. The Palestinian camps have come to represent the Palestinian Nakba, The Catastrophe. Some 59 refugee camps were established by the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) to house about 720,000 Palestinians who were expelled from their native villages and towns in what is now known as Israel. The West Bank and the Gaza Strip are home to 28 camps, while the rest exist in neighboring Arab countries. The total US aid to Palestinians is minuscule, especially when compared to that which Israel receives. For example, the US annually gives $528 per capita to Israelis and three dollars per capita to Palestinians. United Nations official information shows that Kalandia’s original residents come from 52 villages in the Lydd, Ramleh, Haifa, Jerusalem, and Hebron. Like other West Bank camps, it was established on land that UNRWA leased from the government of Jordan,when it acquired the West Bank in 1948.
home for my parents and their extended families for the last six decades. My parents, God bless them, did not watch any TV, and they did not believe in birth control. They would bring to life some sixteen children, eight of whom are alive while seven died of infancy and child malnutrition diseases. In 1967, an Israeli soldier shot one sibling to death at the young age of nine. The body of Abdelkarim was never returned to my parents. The loss of their oldest son was a devastating blow. My mother still tearfully and fondly recounts his short life and sudden death. Yet, it is where my fondest memories still exist. It is where I went to school, sometimes barefooted, and it is where I played games that today’s kids would never recognize. My love for writing was nurtured here due to my English teacher, Sami Attallah. We played soccer in an old and deserted quarry. Just outside my parents’ home, I ventured with friends to hunt for birds, which would make a tasty dinner. Moreover, it is the place where I made toy cars from steel wires- a passion that would stay with me for life. To own a bike would remain a dream deferred until I arrived on the shores of America.
“Kalandia Camp became the ‘temporary’ home for My parents, along with some fifteen families from my parents and their ex- their native village, Allar, settled in a section of the tended families for the last camp that is still their main domicile. The Israeli six decades.” Harâel and Etzioni bri-
gades destroyed Allar, my ancestral village in Palestine, in October 1948. It has been renamed Matta and is occupied by Yemeni Jews. Little of the village reKalandia Camp was established in 1949 on 0.42 square miles of land, about seven miles north of mains except for the one-room school and some stone Jerusalem. It was given this name because it sits next foundations. Its 450 inhabitants were forced to flee to an old Palestinian village by the name of Qalandia. and settled in other refugees camps in the West Bank With a population of over 10,500 registered refugees and Jordan. Their offspring can be found in many and close to 5,000 non-registered residents, it may be parts of the world. one of the most congested place on earth-well before Israel, which occupied the West Bank in 1967, Manila and Cairo. unilaterally annexed the camp area as part of Greater Jerusalem. While Kalandia Camp remains under total Kalandia Camp became the “temporary” 38
Israeli military control, Israel does not provide any infrastructure services to the camp. Moreover, it has prevented the Palestinian Authority from providing much needed municipal services. It is worth noting that UNRWA does not administer the camps, only its own installations and programs. That task is left to “popular committees,” a loosely structured group appointed by the Palestinian Authority to run the civil affairs of the camp. The shelters lack ventilation; trees, which were once abundant, are now a rarity. And narrow roads with potholes the size of a Volkswagen bug are impassable even with four-wheel drive jeeps. Pedestrians, cars, and the occasional ill-fed donkey face these challenges daily.
usage. Israel, which controls the generation of electricity in the West Bank, deducts its dues from the taxes it collects for the Palestinian Authority under the terms of the 1994 Oslo Accords. Service interruption is severe, especially during the cold winter months when power may not be restored for days. The UN runs the four schools in the camp covering pre-K through seventh grade. UN’s estimates that 42% of the camp’s population is under 14 years of age. One vocational training school has graduated thousands of Palestinians who formed the backbone of skilled workers who helped build the Arab Gulf States. Palestinians have always viewed education as their economic and political salvation. They often boast that they have the highest percentage of Ph.D. holders of all the Arab countries.
“In a strikingly oxy-
moronic fashion, the camp is an oasis of hope. ”
The camp has evolved to provide a permanent housing site for its residents. The UN has severely reduced its services and has become more of a shantytown. Gone are the tents and one-room stone homes with leaky tin roofs. It is congested, dirty, without a recognized municipal authority, and as such, it is totally disorganized. Here you need no building permits and no construction standards are observed. Now a perplexing compilation of multilevel concrete homes choking off the narrow and dilapidated roads with open sewers. Nevertheless, kids--and there are lots of kids--play soccer and ride bicycles while navigating their ways around old cars that refuse to die. Against all odds, the camp is a success story of determination and perseverance. The phenomenal growth of the camp is a reflection of the residents’ exponential growth and their limited ability to move out. In any given homestead, you may encounter two or more generations of refugees. But in spite of all obstacles, the camp is a place where many champions have left their marks whether as martyrs resisting the occupation or as famous doctors, lawyers, professors, artists, and community leaders. Most ‘homes’ are connected to public water and electricity infrastructure. The camp leaders decided in 1970 to contract for electrical and water connections and at their expense introduced the first ever utility hookup in a refugee camp. Since about 1987, the first Palestinian intifada, the majority of camp residents no longer pay for their water and electric
Almost one in five residents is unemployed, no one is hungry either. An extensive network of religious and social networks coupled with strong family ties provides a sustainable safety net for the less fortunate. Foreign remittance has traditionally constituted a significant portion of income for refugees. The Israeli military has total control over the ‘security’ of the camp especially now that it abuts the infamous Kalandia Checkpoint separating the West Bank from Israel’s self-designated Greater Jerusalem. Frequent clashes with soldiers interrupt the slow and inhumane treatment of Palestinians trying to reach Jerusalem, which is off-limits to most Palestinians. The arrests of Palestinians are a normal routine here, where Israeli military jeeps under the cover of night enter the camp looking for suspects. The calmness of the night is often violated by the sounds of bullets announcing the military actions. My parents’ homestead has seen its fair share of such invasions. Kalandia camp is an eyesore, but once you look with your heart instead of your eyes, wonders abound and human determination becomes evident. Here you will find no trace of Weltschmerz. In a strikingly oxymoronic fashion, the camp is an oasis of hope. Whatever anyone thinks, it defined my childhood memories of which are impossible to erase.
The Demolished Reality of Palestinians: A Discussion About the Demolition of Palestinian Homes
ome can have many meanings to different people. Some of us think of home as just a physical location where one lives. However, “home” is more than just a comfy couch and a warm bed. It is a place of love, connection, and security. Many of us living in homes take advantage of the fact that we have something that many others do not have the luxury of living in freely. While most of us cannot imagine being apart from our homes, others are forced out of theirs. One example of those people is the Palestinians, and since the start of the Israeli occupation in 1948, the demolition and uprooting of their homes has become a reality. The demolition of Palestinian homes by the Israeli army is on the rise, causing major incidents and catastrophes, including the death of an American activist, Rachel Corrie, who was killed by an Israeli bulldozer while attempting to halt the annihilation of a Palestinian home. Beginning in 1967, during the Palestinian exodus, commonly known as the Naksa, Israel began the internal displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, specifically within the West Bank and Gaza. There were many actions taken to eliminate the Palestinian population, including house demolitions-which was the most used practice. This was one of the most inhumane ways to forcibly remove people from their own land. Imagine living in your own home, and then waking up to the chilling scene of soldiers aggressively removing you and your family members from your own house, detaching you from the one place you thought you would never lose, your home.
tions of Palestinian houses occurred during the 20082009 Gaza war, where vast military operations were used to destroy homes in Gaza. Home demolitions have greatly contributed to the “policy of displacement”, explaining one of the biggest ways that people are being displaced from their native homes. Israelis unlawful actions towards the Palestinians have turn millions of them into refugees. The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), an action group created to oppose the Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes, has been trying to prevent the unlawful house destructions. The year 2011 was one of the worst years for Palestinians, as 622 Palestinian structures were demolished, which caused 1,094 people being displaced. As for the past year, in 2017 alone, 351 structures were demolished and 528 people were displaced from their homes. Since 1967, there have been 48,743 Palestinian structures demolished by the Israelis.
“Innocent Palestinians have had their homes demolished…”
There have been many callous and cruel acts done to the Palestinians by the Israelis, and home demolitions are only part of them. There are many things that Palestinians cannot do because of the Israeli occupation. Palestinians can’t live freely because of the ongoing Israeli military presence. The Palestinians have no control of goods and supplies, and they cannot control water access. Overall, Palestinians do not have many rights of citizenship; and the Palestinians within post 1948 borders do not even have the same civil rights as the Israelis.
The demolition of houses is done by the Israelis to eventually eliminate all Palestinians from their homeInnocent Palestinians have had their homes demolished with justifications falling under administra- land. Innocent families and children are forcibly retive demolitions and punitive demolitions. Adminis- moved from their homes, and left with nothing but trative demolitions occur to Palestinian homes with- debris. Everything that they ever had is taken away out Israeli-issued permits, which are nearly impossi- from them. Imagine going to bed one night with eveble to obtain, and punitive demolitions, which occur rything in your home and waking up the next day with absolutely nothing but dirt and rubble. Sadly, to whoever is suspected to be actively working this is the reality of many Palestinian families, and it against the Israeli military. Both demolitions are inhumane and cause many horrific situations for Pales- will remain an ongoing issue, until justice is served for the Palestinians. tinian families. Some of the most traumatic demoli40
People of PACC: Zidan Farhat Zidan Farhat is a PACC board member. A father of four and an active member of the PACC community, Zidan’s passion for Palestine stems from his teenage years when he lived through and witnessed the first intifada. For his hard work and dedication to the Palestinian cause, he was chosen as this issue’s Person of PACC and was asked to answer the following question: What in your life has inspired the work you do at PACC?
ِبسْم ﷲ الرحمن الرحيم ﻷني من جيل اﻻنتفاضه الذي افتخر به وبتضحياته الجيل الذي تربى على التضحية والتطوع دون مقابل لن أتردد في التطوع في مركز الجالية الفلسطيني وكنت أرى فيه فرصه ﻷخدم بلدي من خﻼله وفرصة ﻻستثمار وقت أبناءنا في تثقيفهم وتربيتهم تربية وطنية؛ وﻷن الوطن يعيش فينا نشعر بالسعادة ونحن نساهم في بناء وطننا من خﻼل توجيه قدراتنا وقدرات أبناء الجالية في خدمة بلدهم اﻻُم من خﻼل المساعدات والبرامج واتاحة الفرصة للحوار مع ضيوف المركز من داخل الوطن .حول الوضع السياسي لفلسطين دون تحيز المركز الفلسطيني فاق كل توقعاتنا بالنجاح الباهر وأصبح ملتقى لبناء الصداقات والتعارف بين اﻷهالي وأنا فخور أن نرى أبناءنا وبناتنا من رواد المركز وقد زرع فيهم حب الوطن وأصبحوا .سفراء لوطنهم في مدارسهم وجامعاتهم لقد أصبح المركز الفلسطيني بيتنا الثاني بفضل جهود كل المخلصين من أبناء الجالية منذ تأسيس المركز كان هدفنا أن يشعر كل فلسطيني أنه جزء من المركز وأذكر مرة أن كان نقاش للجنة المركز عن ترتيبات حفل المركز السنوي والغينا فقرة اﻻستقبال والترحيب للمدعوين للحفل وقلنا هذا بيتهم . ومركزهم وكيف لنا أن نرحب بهم بمركزهم ومن أهم ميزات المركز أن نجح في حشد كل طبقات المجتمع تحت سقف واحد ِمن جميع فئات الشعب الفلسطيني فعندما يحضر الى ندوة أو حفل للمركز ترى العامل والمتعلم والتاجر والغني والفقير وجيل الشباب والشابات وكبار السن بفضل كل هذه اﻹيجابيات التي نراها بالمركز أصبح لنا ان نتفاءل أكثر بكثير مما كنّا نعتقد بمستقبل المركز وكلما تحقق هدف يصبح الطموح أكبر ليشمل . كل المناحي المتاحة لخدمة الوطن
In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent and Merciful: I come from the generation of the Intifada, a generation that has been raised to sacrifice and volunteer. It is for that reason that I was eager to volunteer and work with PACC, because it is an opportunity to serve my country and my people by investing in the education of our children. PACC allows us to serve Palestine by creating and fostering a dialogue about our homeland. The center has surpassed all of my expectations and has become an avenue to build strong friendships among our people and has ingrained in our children a love for our homeland and made them ambassadors for our people in their schools and universities. Thanks to the efforts of our community, PACC has become a second home to all of us. I remember a discussion we once had during a board meeting where we decided to cancel a welcoming of the guests because we decided there was no need to welcome someone into their own home, because that is what PACC represents for our community; it is everyone’s home. One of the amazing things about PACC is our ability to mobilize all kinds of people under one roof, from the worker, the learner, the merchant, the rich, the poor, the young, the elderly, and the women. I am optimistic that as a community we can further mobilize to help the entire Palestinian community.
Thank you to Rawan Anani for giving us the opportunity feature your paintings in our magazine! For more of her work and to purchase paintings, follow her on Facebook and Instagram and email her at email@example.com Check out page 34 and our back cover for her featured work!
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