Mosque and Church in the Uprising

by Dale Bishop
published in MER152

It was only one of the hundreds of incidents that cumulatively have come to be known as “the uprising.” Here there were no beatings or shootings, no bloodshed, and, as far as I know, no one was arrested. In fact, compared with the dramatic events we have been witnessing nightly on the evening news, this was such a tame one-act drama that even the participants may have by now forgotten that it took place. But on a Sunday morning in early January, when the uprising was about a month old, an incident took place just outside the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City that imparted a certain clarity to me about the nature and significance of the events of the past months.

Two Poems About Palestine

by Sharif Elmusa
published in MER152

In the Refugee Camp

The huts were of mud and hay,
their thin roofs feared the rain,
and walls slouched like humbled men.
The streets were laid out in a grid,
as in New York,
but without the dignity of names
or asphalt. Dust reigned.
Women grew pale
chickens and children
feeding them fables from the lost land.
And a madman sawed the minaret
where a melodious voice
cried for help on behalf of the believers.

Of course he gazed at the sky
on clear nights,
at stars drizzling
soft grains of light,
at the moon's deliberate face,
at the good angel wrapped in purple air.
     He had no ladder

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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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