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daily life

March 2, 2010

Today was a heartbreaking day. there are many, and they tumble into each other. every moment of existence here is marked by the situation people are born into; heartbreak and trauma seeps into all of the angles and corners of consciousness. today, i started working on gathering interviews with young people who have been arrested, tortured and imprisoned by israel. a story i have covered for years, and one that continues to repeat itself every day here.

my dear friend (and current translator/fixer) shadi and i visited the home of a former journalism student of mine, a spirited youngster named Muhanned who, a year and a half ago, was awakened with his family at 2am by a battalion of israeli soldiers who surrounded his home in Dheisheh refugee camp. the soldiers stormed the house, ransacked it, destroyed all the furniture inside, and took Muhanned away after explaining that he would be back after just an hour at the most. that hour turned into one year of torture, detention and interrogation that Muhanned and his mother and father talked about in explicit detail. a year. he was sixteen.

i sat and listened to him tell his story; and when i spoke with his mother in particular, it brought up so much for me as a mother myself and as someone who has known and worked with this kid for years: the absolute disempowerment of a mother to protect her son; the unknowing of his fate; the stress and reverberating trauma that still echoes within the cellular structure of everyone in the family. and this story is ubiquitous throughout this family, this community, this camp, this area, and palestine for generations now. her fear for her younger children and their probable kidnappings and torture within the next few years was unshakeable. how will she put the pieces back together when her son — her community, her people — have been broken?

afterwards, shadi and i went back to his apartment and made a fantastic pasta dinner with a few close friends. we all sat and smoked and planned the evening activities, but neither i nor shadi talked about the interviews. what was there to say?

Muhanned’s story will be part of an extensive article for Electronic Intifada; look for it in the next week or two.

love & fight


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