Thursday, February 13, 2014

Jenin


I wasn’t sure how much of a fine idea was it to set off to Jenin, I was tentative and hesitant. But at the same time, I needed to be inside this whole experience, not just look at it from an outside perspective.
I also sought after observing the Freedom theatre experience on the ground and see how much we can share and learn and take form this experience to Beit Arabiya.
I had a fastidious feeling as we entered Jenin. It was a calm city, spacious, things seem to be moving quietly and calmly over there, I couldn’t tell when we entered Jenin refugee camp, and it didn’t make any difference from the rest of the city.
What was so noticeable, and partly it is important, the cleanliness in the roads. It is a clean camp, way better looking and developed than Anata.
The theater is quite astounding, a satisfactorily refurbished house, full-size, efficient, and equipped, it serves like a community center, and it was full of youth, both boys and girls.
We were received with friendly looks form the kids, and lots of assistance offers from the youth.
Juliano was contented to see us making it there.
Our group went to the marketplace to get ourselves some food, we were escorted with one of the youth named 3asef, very pleasant boy, we were blissful that the taxi took form us 1 shekel each for the ride, everything seemed to be so cheap over there. The boy was telling me about his experience in the theatre ,how much it changed his and others lives, he was telling me about the history of the place, about the how much they have something to do instead of hanging out in streets doing nothing , how much he sees Juliano , they call him Jull ,as a hero. How much hopeful they become, the man is selling them hope and this is amazing I believe.
We watched the play at six, it was about 2 hours, very enjoyable play , the actors were mixed between Arabs and French, it was funny, inspiring and the acting itself was splendid .
After the show Jull invited us for tea inside, someone came to me, I think it was Suleiman, telling me that inside was the al Aqsa Martyr Brigades leader,(XXX)
He is a tall, a little bit dark young man, his face doesn’t show any evil, he seems to be a nice young man, except for those very dark extremely strange dots he had on his face, as if it was a splash of dark boiling water all over his face, but even with this he did not look ugly.
It was such a powerful meeting, personally I wanted to ask him deep questions.The man is so honest, and that is what he thinks makes him special and popular even among the enemy.
He has a very clear thinking of what he wants to do and what he is doing, his bottom line is the occupation, and he hates Zionism.
This man is incised off his family, he has a demolished house, his mother was killed by an Israeli sniper inside her house, his brother was a martyr, his three other brothers are in jail, and his father was killed in prison. The part when he talked about his mother was mostly emotional.
The part when he was describing how he sends martyrs to explode themselves was the most difficult one in the whole meeting, Aviva, the Israeli woman from the group couldn’t stop crying as he was explaining how he sends these people to their attacks, he was describing the emotions, he was such a direct, clear man, he tried to be indifferent and avoided looking at Aviva, but he was such a powerful person in a way.
His story is killing,
He was shot when he was 11, jailed when he was 13 and then 3 years when he was 14, and then he said there was Oslo and our dedication to peace, and his mothers death, and how all those peace pretenders disappeared except for Juliano.
It was a very powerful meeting, that it would take me a lot of effort to even getting it all out. The scars or dots on his face were from explosives he was preparing and exploded in his face. This man prepares explosives. Belts, sends people t explode themselves.
I felt as I was looking at him, that he always wanted to be asked about his face, and this was when he finally said it.
I am so much captured with his eyes, with his looks, with his quietness, with his bitterness, and as the same time in the way he is convinced in the justice of his cause.
The bitterness when he said about his mother death, when he asked if the peace or any Israeli can get him his mother back. At a moment I felt him as a child, wanting his mother badly, he reminded me of my silly nagging over my clothes.
I’m looking back to things he said, and they are really unforgettable.
He asked a question, the whole world is attacking groups like al Qaeda or Seif al Islam saying that these people abused Islam through using their fight under the name of it. Why isn’t the world trying to persecute the Zionist movement for abusing Judaism in its cause? Why isn’t anyone seeing Israel’s Zionist system as the main abuse to the Jews?
There was something compelling about his answers too, when I asked him why he can’t use his leadership skills in trying to find another way with his fight for his cause. he said what do you want me to do, when we see five of our friends getting killed falling in front of our eyes, and I have those people ready , waiting there for a signal to reach martyrdom, what do you want me to do .
I can make you reach this level of wanting to die now, if I lock you up in this room, and keep forcing you in, pushing you to the corner and take everything away from you, you would ask me to do this. I said that it means that these people find in you a savior, why can’t you convince them in other things.
He said, these people come and nothing in the world could change their minds. I didn’t reach their level of this kind of feeling, except once or twice, but once you feel this deep burning of oppression, nothing can stop you; these people lose the meaning of life.
But whatever he says or believes in, is somehow contradictory in my views in certain ways.
I believe as long as someone like him , still despite of everything that happened to him decides not to commit an attack and press that button ,as he described it , it means those who reached there can be convinced in keeping or holding up to their lives.
I do understand that oppression is a killing tool, I am one of those who reached that point of oppression inside a bad marriage, and maybe divorce was considered a real suicide attack.(for me staying in that marriage was suicide) .
But again, I was there, and I could have given up hope on life, and yes, whether anyone agrees with me or not, the intensity, the complexity, the powerfulness of the two situations are the same.
Reaching a decision to get a divorce was like a decision of signing a pre entry contract to surgery. But I signed it with hope that I will survive and start over, not with desperation of an ultimate death.
And here we go, it is about choice, and choice of life should always win any other choice.
And with this man, it is so easy to decide taking charge of taking other people’s lives, but why didn’t he took his own life.
If seeing his mother death, his father’s, his brother’s, his whole family destroyed. Being encountered to death so many times made him still wanting to live, why doesn’t he think that others can still have other reasons to live for, despite the real burning oppression?
Maybe I can be indifferent about Israeli victims, maybe I can give myself justifications as someone who knows what oppression is, but. As we were talking about the feelings of those who decide to make an end to their lives, I can’t feel but sympathy, to those lost lives, because they didn’t find anyone to create a path of hope for them.
If the path of death could be so easy, then the path of hope must be easier.
If someone has the power and control on facilitating such acts, then he can have power in using his control in more positive deeds.
Maybe, if he or these people trained those MARTYRS to military actions, even in the weakest and least equipments they have, it would have been a more tolerable and moral act. At least, those people would have kept the sense of life.
He himself mentioned that there were times when he prepared his weapon and waited for them to come and kill him, but the next day, he woke up with new feeling to life.
Even by doing so, he decided to fight, to fight for his life, not to give up on his life, and push a button.
I have been so confused and somehow sweeping my mind carefully with all what took place with that man.
For the very first time in my life, I genuinely feel that suicide attacks are not martyrdom attacks,
Because, fighting the enemy means fighting for your life, fighting for your survival, and that is what we need, that is our strive.
And this man is a living example.
I admired in him, his confidence, his belief that the only one who can take his life is God, is what is destined for him. I admired his strive to life, his resistance to death that is haunting him, why would he facilitate death?
Why wouldn’t he organize guerilla fights, sneak to settlements, shoot aimlessly on soldiers or settlement , with almost great chances of getting killed, but with a noble fight for life . A decent fight for the just cause he believes in.
How can he sell people a dream of a just afterlife when he couldn’t give them hope for a current life?
When he allows himself to stay alive, and he allows himself to sacrifice others.
It s all confusing,
And I never ever expected myself to come out with this idea about all what is happening behind those scenes of the ideology of those attacks.
I always considered that every Palestinian is a potential suicide attacker, for the simple meaning of oppression .
But, there is a difference between making this burning feeling control my actions ,and then do it, and between making others use my feelings to make me put an end ot my oppression through ending my life ,and still have them go on in their lives .

Nadia Harhash
1-8-2007Jenin