Tuesday, November 20, 2012

18-11-2012 Attack on Gaza

My uncle called my mother and told her that Israel threatened to bomb a house next to their home, and people there are evacuating their homes. Al-Askri house is just few blocks from my home, the time we heard about the threat. We all gathered in one room waiting for the strike. We were very nervous, the house threatened is 3-floor building, that means it will cause damages to all the neighborhood.

My grandfather home is right in front of the Al-Askri's. 70 persons live in my grandfather's building, most are children. They all gathered at the building's first floor. Kids were crying of horror, and everyone was extremely worried.

As we were waiting anxiously for the strike, Israel launched 5 drones missiles at Al-Askri home, then it targeted the house with F16s missiles. The sound was unbelievable. We could hear the windows of the homes around smashing. We for a moment thought that our house is destroyed, my father went around and checked if everything was okay. Thanks God, everything was fine.

The other day, I went to see Al-Askri's home. The scene was unimaginable, the house is flattened and leveled to the ground. The houses around partially destroyed. Residents of Al-Askri were sitting in front of their destroyed home! They have no shelter now.

below are some photos I shot of Al-Askri house.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Victory or Death

Naje El-Ali once said “The road to Palestine is neither far or near but only at a distance of a revolution.”  Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails have started a revolution against the repression and cruelty of prisons and the hard conditions they live in. Following Naje El-Ali's statement, I say that the road to freedom is neither far nor near, it's at a distance of an empty stomach.

When my father tells me about  the 15 years he spent in Israeli barbaric jails, my thoughts immediately goes there, to the Israeli jails, where there are still more than 5000 prisoners experiencing what my father had experienced.  Locked in their dark cells, deprived from seeing the sun and breathing the fresh air of the beautiful Palestine, away from their homes and friends, not allowed to see or to hug their families, feeling hungry, lonely and cold.  This is how the Palestinian prisoners live and this is what they are obliged to experience every day.

5000 Palestinian detainees are locked up behind Israeli jail bars, dreaming of the day they shall see the sun again. Their life at Israeli prisons is a miserable one. They are deprived of their basic rights that any human being should have. Israel is trying its best to make the Palestinians suffer more and more. Inside the Israel jails, there are young and old men, children, and women. Israeli jails are spread all over Palestine; they do never stop arresting Palestinians.
Palestinian detainees do never accept the injustice and oppression they are subjected to.  You might think they are powerless and can do nothing to end the injustice because they are jailed, chained and have nothing but their bodies. Then you're wrong. Palestinians have their strong will, their desire for freedom, they have their empty stomachs.

Palestinian detainees have long used their empty stomachs to rebel against the cruel and unjust Israeli jails. They used to start the battle of hunger. And today, they continue, and will never ever stop till they get their right of a free and just life.

The least we can do to support our heroes is to show our solidarity with them.  They are eager to know that their people stand by their side and will never ever forget them.

April 17th Hunger strike.

Palestinians inside Israeli jails initiated a mass hunger strike on the 17th of April and they are still going on. Today is their 16th day of hunger strike; they vowed to continue until their demands are accomplished.  More than 3,000 prisoners are now on an open-ended hunger strike in protest of the Israeli policies at jails and the miserable condition of detention in which they are subjected to. They are deprived of their basic human rights. Palestinian prisoners demand to end solitary confinement and administrative detention, put an end to night raids and searches, allow family visits particularly for the prisoners from Gaza who have been deprived of family visits since 2007, ensure the opportunity to continue their education.
Their demands are very legal and they have the full rights to have them accomplished. Israel is violating the very basic human rights of the Palestinian people in general and the Palestinian detainees in particular.
Those Palestinians are not doing so only for the sake of their own freedom, but for the sake of every single Palestinian freedom and dignity. They are the unknown soldiers who suffer to make us live in peace and freedom.

Hunger strikers' life at Risk

Bilal Thiab and Thaer Halahla 

Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahla are two Palestinian detainees who are held illegally in administrative detention. Bilal and Thaer have declared their open hunger strike on 29 February 2012. They have been hunger striking for more than 60 days to protest administrative detention. Bilal and Thaer decided not to stay silent over their miserable conditions at the Israeli jails. They have followed the steps of Khader Adnan who hunger striked for 66 days protesting his administrative detention and who has made victory over the Israeli occupation and gained his freedom, and the steps of Hana Shalabi who hunger strikred for 44 days.
Bilal Diab and Thaer halahla's health condition is deteriorating. They  suffers from unbelievable pain, they started vomiting blood, their families are very concerned about their health and said that they are afraid that they might die in any moment.
There are a group of another prisoners who have been hunger striking before April 17th.
Hassan Safadi, on his 58th day of hunger strike.
Omar Abu Shalal, on his 56th day of hunger strike.
Mohammad Taj, on his 40th day of hunger strike.
Mahmoud Sarsak, on his 42nd day of hunger strike.
Abdullah Barghouti, on his 20th day of hunger strike.
Jaafar Azzedine, on his 35th day of hunger strike.
Fares Al-Natoor, on his 35th day of hunger strike.

Palestinian prisoners have started a revolution using their empty stomachs. Their empty stomachs speak louder than their voices. Nothing matters to them when it comes to freedom, neither hunger nor jailers will make them stop the battle, The battle of empty stomachs. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

When I Tried to Kill the Dark

"What the hell? Why they cut it now, there are still two hours to go, the electricity is supposed to be cut at 12" I yelled angrily. I am sure that many Gazans had the same reaction when they cut the electricity before its scheduled time. Well, if you're asking about who the hell are "they". I can barely give you a clear answer, as me myself do not even know!  Is it Fatah? Is it Hamas? Is it Israel? Is it Egypt? Or all of them together?  I do not know.

The electricity crisis is not something new to the Palestinians in Gaza, It has been hitting the Gaza Strip since 2006. However, we managed to adjust ourselves to it as it was just cutting off for 8 hours a day. The current electricity crisis is a literally a crisis, now we have only six hours of electricity a day. We have never felt such depression and misery because of the electricity just like how we feel these days. 

Okay, back when the electricity was cut at 10 pm rather than 12 am. I adjusted myself to that day's electricity schedule. Our area was supposed to have electricity from 6 pm to 12 am, but they "cheated" and deprived us of two full hours of electricity. I felt so angry, but I decided to "try killing the dark."

We couldn't turn the generator on because we didn't have fuel. Fuel is getting more and more expensive and no one can afford buying it every day. So my sisters and I decided to watch a movie. My sister's laptop had 93% battery so we used it to watch the movie. We watched "The Shawshank Redemption" We were following every second of the movie impatiently to know what the end would be.  We loved the movie and it made us forget about the electricity. We imagined ourselves as we were in a cinema as the cinema requires no lights.

Unfortunately for us, the battery died 30 minutes before the end. My sister ran to bring my laptop so we can watch the rest of the movie. My laptop had almost 50% battery and it lasted just for 20 minutes (my laptop's battery is somehow useless, I know) both laptop batteries died and we couldn't watch the rest of the movie… We watched it the other day.

Now as our laptops had failed us.  I decided to do something else and not to surrender to the dark. I decided to complete reading "Fast Times in Palestine". PS: (you should read that book, it's amazing and informative.)

Everything that day didn't stop failing me. I had a candle left so I used it to read and kill the time but the candle unluckily died. It was the last candle we had.

It's turning to a boring, non-stopping story, I know. Anyway, that how it went and how it goes every day in Gaza.  After I ran out of candles, I decided to use my phone flash. I turned it on and start reading, forgetting about the dark, and the roaring noise of the generators around.  My phone battery lasted for almost 40 minutes then it died. IT DIED! And now nothing left. No candles, no laptop battery, no phone battery, no generator. I had no choice now but to surrender and force myself into my bed.  

I went under my covers. I was not sleepy at all, but there was nothing I could do. All my sisters went to sleep already, and it was just me awake. I kept staring at the ceiling till I finally fell asleep….

copyright Viva Palestina Malaysia  vpm.org.my

Friday, February 17, 2012

Khader Adnan,The True Human Being.

I seriously do not know how to start. I am full of anger and distress. Being a Palestinian means that you will never pass a day without hearing bad news, or even experiencing some. I waited 12 hours to start writing this piece as the power was off almost half of the day. I do not want to talk about the electricity crisis in Gaza or the serious consequences of this crisis on us because there is something far more important to talk about.

The detainees cause has always been a main one in the Palestinian cause in general. Palestinian detainees suffer harsh conditions of detention behind the Israeli jail bars, they are subjected to injustice, oppression, and they are subjected to the ugliest methods of torture by the Israeli occupation. 

Hunger-striking has always been used by Palestinian detainees as a non-violent method to fight the prolonged Israeli occupation and his barbaric policy adopted at prisons. The first hunger strike was in 1969 and it lasted for 19 days. There were many other hunger strikes which followed the first one. The Palestinian detainees start hunger strikes to protest Israel injustice and to force the Israeli occupation into applying their just demands.

As I am writing this I suppose you already learned about Khader Adnan's cause.

Khader Adnan, A Palestinian detainee in the Israeli jails, has been hunger striking for 61 days in protest of his illegal detention and Israel cruelty and injustice against the Palestinian detainees in the Israeli prisons all over the occupied Palestine. Khader Adnan was detained on December 17/2011 from his own home outside Jenin, Israel Occupation forces (IOF) broke into his house and arrested him aggressively in front of his two young children and his mother. Khader was handcuffed and blindfolded. IOF drove him to a military jeep and they started beating him ferociously and slapping him on the face.

On Khader's first day under arrest, he started a hunger strike to protest against his illegal detention.  Khader Adnan is held in prison without charge or trial. This is the administrative detention where people are held in prison for political reasons rather than criminal reasons. Israel violates the international laws and standards of fair trials by detaining Palestinians without charge and without giving any evidence against them.  Palestinian detainees are often arrested because they fight for their freedom and dignity; they are not criminals nor terrorists.

Khader Adnan's health condition is deteriorating and his life is at risk.  He has had nothing other than water since December 17th. His wife says that he is always dizzy and his condition is getting worse and worse. Even though his life is at risk, Israel keeps him shackled to a bed . A doctor from Physicians for Human Rights said

"He has lost 30kg and weighs 60kg. He suffers from stomach aches, vomiting, sometimes with blood, and headaches … His general condition is pale and very weak, his tongue is smooth, he has slight bleeding from the gums, dry skin, loss of hair, and significant muscular atrophy. His pulse is weak, blood pressure 100/75. He is permanently connected to a heart monitor."

As I am writing this, a hash-tag on Twitter about Khader Adnan (#Khader61Days) has trended worldwide, I felt a little bit relieved after I saw people from different countries talking and tweeting about Khader Adnan. However, I am too disheartened that the mainstream media has said a little regarding Khader's cause.  One wonders what if Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier who was arrested by Hamas and released months ago, was the one who  is hunger striking for more that 60 days? I assure you that the whole world would start talking about that and accuse Palestinians of terrorism.

Khader Adnan's cause reveals the inhumane face of the Israeli occupation. Israel who claims to be the only democracy in the Middle East has been breaking the international laws since the year it came into being sixty years ago. The entire world is watching the suffering of the Palestinian people but has decided to keep their mouths shut and their eyes closed. Khader Adnan, with his strong determination will spread awareness about the Palestinian detainees cause and he will never stay silent.  

Khader Adnan is the new Palestinian legend of the non-violent resistance. He's the Palestinian Gandhi. His only weapon is his empty stomach; his only food is his dignity. We all stand in solidarity with you and all the Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons.