Wednesday, May 26, 2004

When doves die

This blog - Rafah Today - is amazing. Although it is the writings of Mohammed, a Palestinian student, clearly hurriedly typed and sent from a laptop, there is something about its clear-eyed humanity which reminds me of some of the reportage of Ryszard Kapuschinski (whose book Imperium is one of my favourites, because he knows that facts are only part of reality and are often a shield against it and that true understanding often comes slantwise - in other words, he has a poetic view of journalism). Rafar Today is the simplest and most direct kind of witnessing, and it is potent. And like Kapuschinski, Mohammed, too, notices and speaks to children: but I suspect he is not much older than my own son.

Rami Al Wawi (9) was wearing a red football shirt, his face was marked with clear sadness and worry and his eyes indicated that he hadn't slept the night before.

He sat down in the rubble of his damaged house and said he could hear the sound of his chicken. He was sure he could hear it but wasn't able to know where the sound was coming from. He kept removing piles of rubble, but could not find it, so the children began helping him. Twenty minutes later they were all able to find it ALIVE. A sad smile lit up Rami's face when he began talking to it as if he was talking to a person. He was very sad when he later found two of his doves killed in the rubble.

Not very far from Rami, a few metes away, in a neighboring house, I found an old woman with pain clearly written on her wrinkled face. She seemed exhausted, searching for something under the rubble of the house. When I asked her what she was looking for, she answered: "For the future!" For the future? I asked. She answered: "Yes I'm searching for the key of my old house, which is more important than time, this key is for my house which was occupied in 1948 and now lies in what is called Israel these days, but I will ever never throw that key because I believe the day will come when I will get to my home in our occupied land. I'm quite sure there will be a day that I will get back to my home, and if it's not me, then my grandchildren".

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