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
does he want from me?


i remember ahmad
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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Palestinian Communists and the Intifada

by Alain Gresh
published in MER157

Maher Al-Sharif, Al-Shuyu‘iyun wa Qadaya al-Nidal al-Watani al-Rahin [The Communists and Issues in the Current National Struggle] (Damascus: Center for Socialist Research and Study in the Arab World, 1988).

The role of the Palestinian Communist Party (PCP) is one of the most important and least understood aspects of the intifada. When a member of the PCP Political Bureau was elected to a seat on the PLO Executive Committee at the 18th Palestine National Council (PNC) in April 1987, many interpreted it as a sign of Moscow’s role in the process of reuniting the Palestinian factions. But that is an insufficient explanation for the double “cultural revolution” this opening represents.

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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 Jamal's Family

by Joost Hiltermann
published in MER152

In MER 146,1 wrote about Abu Jamal and his family. In mid-December, two weeks into the uprising, soldiers came to the house of Abu Jamal in the Old City of Ramallah. They arrested two of his teenage sons, Nasir and ‘Umar, and one of their cousins from across the street, and took them to the new prison camp in al-Dhahriyya which was opened specifically to house those arrested during the uprising. There they spent 12 days, along with hundreds of other boys, average age 16, packed together in tiny rooms, deprived of washing facilities and forced to use a trash can as a toilet, with few blankets and with little food.

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What the Uprising Means

by Salim Tamari
published in MER152

This article is adapted from a talk Salim Tamari gave at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC on February 25, 1988.

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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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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.