A Bullet, A Lie

(to Sami and his family)

by Joost Hiltermann
published in MER157

ahmad had those
wildly intense
eyes that
would stare through you
as he spoke and
would light up
every now and then
as he listened and
would drive me crazy
what
does he want from me?

 

i remember ahmad
when
he returned from prison
to ya‘bad
and his grandmother
ululated in jubilation
danced in happiness
served coffee to share
her happiness

 

and it was ahmad
who took me around the village
when i came on
mundane visit
to see all houses
demolished or sealed
in town
recording a history
of occupation

 

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"When the Rest Is Quiet, There Is Revolution in Dahaysha"

by Melissa Baumann
published in MER152

We enter Dahaysha through one of several gates, past rusted oil drums piled high in a stockade and a chain-link barbed-wire fence that residents keep tearing down.

The alleyways are quiet; people must be inside. M. takes us to the home of his friend A., 27, a business student at Bethlehem University. Eight prison stints have postponed his graduation indefinitely; he has been under camp arrest for two years.

“I leave prison, my brother enters,” A. smiles cynically. Two of his three brothers are now in jail. One sister was imprisoned for five days once for allegedly throwing Molotov cocktails; his father, who works in a chicken factory in Bayt Shams, has gone to prison three times.

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Abu Farid's House

Family and Politics in Shift

by Beshara Doumani
published in MER157

Driving to Salfit through the villages of Yasuf and Iskaka on a sunny fall day is an exhilarating experience. The asphalt road winds like a snake through hill after hill dotted by olive trees whose clusters of tiny, pastel green leaves shimmer in the light breeze. Rich brown earth, freshly turned, is strewn with stones and contoured by terraces. Closer to the road, thorny shrubs, grasses and the lazy, bleached branches of fig trees leisurely soak in the sun, anticipating the impending winter.

Uprising in Gaza

by Anita Vitullo Khoury
published in MER152

One year before the Palestinian mass uprising began, the writing was on the grey cement walls of refugee camp houses in Gaza, where you could read the anguish of Gaza camp residents at the spectacle of the Amal militia bombarding Palestinians in the camps in Lebanon. These attacks forged a real unity among Palestinian factions there and carried Palestinians here into street demonstrations -- as much against Amal’s assault as against Israel’s “iron fist.”

Israeli military authorities must have sensed that resistance was about to escalate; when demonstrations became irritatingly frequent, they increased punitive measures and violence against Gaza Strip residents, particularly against boys between 13 and 20 years old.

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Children's Territory

by John Berger
published in MER157

Given the same materials and the same opportunities, young chiliren all over the world paint in a similar way. They don’ necessarily paint the jame things. (Eskimo children will saint different animals from the chilIren in the Sudan.) What is similar is :he way young children make intuitive narks on the paper -- a question of space, gestures, proportion, even color.

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Gaza Diary

by Melissa Baumann
published in MER152

February 7, 1988, Morning

“Welcome to Gaza,” the sign reads, but the streets are not inviting. The long road into town is nearly deserted, its shops and shanties locked shut; only a few men gather sporadically for coffee or a cigarette. Beyond, the camps stretch toward the sea like a giant junkyard, people and goods cast off on this spit of land.

It is the start of a two-day general strike, and unwise to be on the street. Soldiers are everywhere, visible and not.

Morning in Ramallah Military Court

by Penny Johnson , Lee O'Brien
published in MER152

The main street was completely deserted on the way to Ramallah Military Headquarters the morning of February 25. It was the second day of a general strike called for in the eighth statement by the United National Leadership to protest the visit of Secretary of State George Shultz. Few people were even walking on this sunny winter day; the occasional car sped by, any driver aware he would be considered a strikebreaker.

The West Bank Rises Up

by Penny Johnson , Lee O'Brien
published in MER152

Ramallah’s landscape this February 21 has overtones of a war zone. Residents have dismantled the ancient stone wall across the street for a series of barricades. The smoke of a burning tire rises in the clear early afternoon air over nearby al-Am‘ari refugee camp and army flares light the camp at night. The camp’s main entrance has been sealed by a wall of cement-filled barrels. Helicopters chop the air overhead; sirens of ambulances and army jeeps pierce streets that are virtually deserted this afternoon, ordinarily a busy time of day. In camps and villages, even the winter nights are the scenes of sharp confrontation.

Israel Faces the Uprising

A Preliminary Assessment

by Azmi Bishara
published in MER157

The Palestinian uprising has stripped away Israel’s externally oriented masks (propaganda) and its internally oriented masks (defense mechanisms), as political rationality has steadily retreated before the state’s frantic response. Israel’s confrontation with the colonial reality of the occupied territories has led to political polarization which is not contained within existing party boundaries. It has penetrated all the parties and raised real questions which Israeli society must deal with. As the uprising continues, the cleavage in Israeli society becomes deeper over two basic issues: negotiations with the PLO and recognition of the Palestinian right to self-determination, including the establishment of a state.

"Suddenly I can't hold my head up."

by Joel Beinin
published in MER157

Dan Almagor personifies Israeli popular culture of the post-1948 period. He is the master lyricist of the modern Hebrew song, with over 600 compositions and 300 translations to his credit. His songs have been performed on many official and semi-official occasions, and he has composed for the Israel Defense Forces troupe and regularly placed his versatile talents at the service of the state and the Zionist movement. Dozens of Almagor’s plays and satirical and musical revues have been performed in Israeli theaters and cabarets, and even on Broadway. His musical about Hasidic life, Ish Hasid Haya, broke all Israeli records for a dramatic performance and was seen by a third of the country.