Season's Greetings from Qalandia
Postcards from Palestine
Stories of Permanent Exile and Hopeless Expectation
As an American Christian, recently I acknowledged a sort of coming-out on Israel and Palestine (see: "For Palestinians, an Advent #FAIL"). In this brief Christmas series called Postcards from Palestine, I wanted to give voice to several Palestinians for whom Advent is a no-show.
The following story is taken from the journalist Kenize Mourad's personal encounters with Palestinians in 2002. These stories eventually became the pages of her book Our Sacred Land: Voices of the Palestine-Israeli Conflict (Oneworld Publications; 2004).
The other day, the soldiers picked up a man trying to get through the Qalandiya checkpoint to go to work. They blindfolded him and kept him tied to the barricade for hours.
The man was thirsty and asked for a drink. I saw a soldier urinate into a bottle and say, "Open your mouth." The man began drinking but when he realised what he was drinking, he started throwing up and writhing on the ground with humiliation. The soldiers roared with laughter and then took him away.
This is what goes on under the occupation. The international community knows about it and does nothing.*
*This story was told to Kenize Mourad by Salim Shawamreh (not his actual name).