October 22, 2013.
Although I have been living far from Palestine for a few years and I am now in my forties, I still have nightmares about the Israeli army invading my house when I was a child and about the first time I was tortured. This is the reality most Palestinian former prisoners live with for the rest of our lives.Read the rest here.
When I was a child, friends my age who were arrested before me said they “saw the stars at noon.” This was a saying we had. You can’t see the stars at noon when the sun is shining. But when children are under torture, especially when they are beaten in the head, they see a flash, even when they are blindfolded. This is what we called seeing the stars at noon.
I was arrested the first time, with a few other children, when I was 14 years old. Our hands were cuffed behind our backs and our eyes were blindfolded. The soldiers were beating us. I heard the screaming, and I was screaming, too. I fell down and someone took my hands and made me stand. Suddenly a huge hand slapped me in my face. I felt dizzy and I saw the flash. I fell down on my shoulder. It was very painful and then I blacked out. The minute I woke up, even though I was under torture, I shouted to my friends, “I saw the stars, I saw the stars!” Later, it became a joke among us: “He saw the stars, he saw the stars.” I didn’t realize that those stars come back and visit you the rest of your life.
About 500-700 children are arrested by the Israeli occupation every year, according to Defense for Children International-Palestine. These children face a policy designed to kill their spirit and shut them down. It targets them physically and psychologically. The impact is planned from the first moment of arrest. Typically, children wake up in the middle of the night to hear soldiers yelling and knocking violently on the doors of their houses. They take them from the house and the child finds himself alone among a large group of soldiers. According to Mohammed, a 15-year-old boy in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan:
It was very painful. My hands were handcuffed behind my back and I was blindfolded. I was beaten by the soldiers everywhere on my body. I felt the pain everywhere. I was thrown in the floor of the military jeep and the soldier’s boots were kicking me everywhere. I felt I was bleeding but I didn’t know where.
Ziad Abbas is a Palestinian refugee from Dheisheh Refugee camp in the West Bank. He is the cofounder of the Ibdaa Cultural Center in Dheisheh where he served as Co-Director from 1994 to 2008. Ziad is also a journalist who has worked with Palestinian and international media and has participated in the production of several documentary films. He has a Master of Arts in Social Justice and Intercultural Relations from the School for International Training Graduate Institute. Ziad is the Program Manger for Cross-Cultural Programs at the Middle East Children’s Alliance in Berkeley.
BOYCOTT ISRAEL !!!