EVERY ‘TERRORIST’ HAS A MOTHER

Another tale from the hospital…..

During my first week at the hospital I was witness to the first hand brutality against the people of Palestine. A bed was wheeled into my room by two young Israeli soldiers wearing identification badges of the Military Police. In the bed was a young boy, both legs in casts and signs of beatings on his head and face.

I innocently asked the soldiers what was going on…. and was quickly informed that the boy was a ‘terrorist’ and is in their custody until he is able to leave the hospital and go to a military prison. “Terrorist” I declared….. you guys are holding loaded machine guns while he is strapped to a bed all broken up from head to foot!!! He has a bullet in each of his legs and you say he’s the terrorist…The response was that “he threw stones at an army jeep”. I asked where the jeep was at the time and they told me it was in a small Palestinian village just outside of Bethlehem.

I went to talk to the young lad at that point…. he denied all charges, told me his name was Hanyeh and begged me to get word to his family that he was in the hospital and alive. He apparently was in custody for two weeks at that time and his family was not informed if he was dead or alive or where he was. A young lad of only 17 possibly being mourned by his parents who way to often witnessed young boys disappear never to be seen again…

I asked him what his home phone number was, there wasn’t one. I asked the name of his village and was told. Fortunately I knew some people there and was able to reach them and was able to get word to Hanyeh’s mother about his whereabouts.

The next morning there she was standing in front of me. Disregarding all traditions associated with religious Muslim women, she put her arms around me and kissed me on both cheeks, crying and thanking me at the same time. The boy was asleep, I woke him and told him he had a guest….. “MAMA”!!! It was a very moving scene. The police intervened at that point and told her to leave and not speak to him…. my immediate reaction was “not on my watch!” I told the young soldier to shut his eyes and his mouth and allow them to have a short visit. By some miracle, the soldier turned around and left the room…

After a few minutes the mother asked me for my cellphone number and asked if her husband can call later and speak to the boy… of course I agreed. I also told her that if she was able to visit again to tell the soldiers that she was visiting me, and from my bed she could speak to her son.

A week later the boy was moved to a different ward where it was a bit more difficult for family visits. The soldiers informed me on more than one occasion that Hanyeh asked for me every day, my new friend the ‘terrorist’.

I can’t help but ask what would have happened if I wasn’t in the room when the young lad arrived. Would his family ever been told where he was or why? This is not an isolated incident, unfortunately these actions by the Israeli Military are the norm. The prisons here are full of young Palestinian ‘terrorists’, many of whom were never brought to trial or officially charged , as was the case with Hanyeh.

The signature quote on my email is “To believe in something and not live it, is dishonest.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi ~
I think I was being honest by living my beliefs during that period.

It also made me realise how more efficiently the hospital itself could run if it wasn’t used as an extension of the military prison system.

8 Comments

  1. September 27, 2008 at 15:14

    It seems to me that if this “terrorist” was a true threat – someone that the IDF was seriously concerned with – a number of things would have been done that obviously were not considered important. The first and most obvious being that the “prisoner” would have been taken to a secure detention facility with medical services rather than a civilian facility (you weren’t in jail, were you???).

    Secondly, and perhaps of equal importance, if this boy was truly a suspected terrorist he should have been placed in a private room, totally sequestered with a 24-hour guard at the door and no telephone in the room for him to contact anyone in his village.

    The very idea that you were able to contact his family seems wonderful, but imagine if he really had been a terrorist (I don’t believe he was) – the messages being sent to the family could well have been coded messages for a terrorist cell. “The birthday party for Alyah must go on without me, and I’m sorry I could not get her wonderful present from Uncle Habibbi’s shop” could easily mean that “the attack on x-day is to go on, the weapon is still at that dude Habibbi’s shop … good luck.

    Of course, if the soldiers had suspected that this was a possibility they would not have reacted so “humanely” to your activities – further evidence that this boy was merely that – a boy. Whether it is the United States getting lessons from Israel which are being applied to the prisoners in Gitmo or if it is the other way around, there are so many “ghost” prisoners now – prisoners being held WITHOUT having even been CHARGED – without the benefit of a simple arraignment or the opportunity to speak with an attorney (why speak with an attorney, you have not been charged with anything) that even some Republicans are beginning to crack under the inhumane system that is being born out of this incarnation of Bush’s wet dream come true.

    Israel’s version of the Patriot Act – whatever they call it (Israeli Constitution???) – seems to allow (?) for similar denials of basic human rights – rights that most of us have enjoyed since the signing of the Magna Carta 793 years ago (yes – 1215 – Habeas Corpus was born in 1215 – but that in your joint and drag on it, Dubya), all under the auspices of “national security”, the mantra of the desperate conservatives who are unwilling to face the possibilities that the majority of people – from both sides of the question – would be willing to live side by side, in peace, so long as they were treated equally; so long as there are no double standards and people are provided with a fair opportunity to live their lives and raise their families in safety, knowing that they will have food on the table and nobody will be bulldozing their house down in the middle of the night, why wouldn’t they live in peace with their neighbours?

    The only terrorists here are the ones who put the weapons in the hands of the children, the ones who incite the young people – through the manipulation of religious doctrine and the taking of scriptures out of context – that it is their duty to God or Allah to kill their enemies; the true terrorists are those who feed the hatred with their fear of change, who are unwilling to put aside their prejudices in order to try a life of peace rather than a continuation of strife. The true terrorists are those who have institutionalized the hatred that is expressed against each other – both in the media and in the literature that is given to children. When you see videos of young children spouting epithets against other peoples, phrases that have been well rehearsed but are totally devoid of comprehension as they are spoken you know that the work that needs to be done is so great, such a massive task, that it is easy to lose hope – easy to want to give up – but that would be the way of the coward.

    It is far easier for someone to turn and run when they are outnumbered. Rather than that we need those who are willing to lay down the weapons pf war and approach the opposition armed only with that which has truly shaped the destiny of mankind: the human intellect.

    Too many innocent lives have been destroyed already; it is time to turn our pens into the swords that they were meant to be and wield them with the strength of the mightiest armies: change can only come if apathy is soundly defeated, it can only come if we stop moaning about what tomorrow may bring and actually do something today.

  2. Dom Martin said,

    September 27, 2008 at 15:38

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    In GENOCIDE: The New Order of Imperialism, the reader goes through the same expe rience as the poet-artist, Dom Martin, presents a powerful, metamorphical view o f humanity through his 64 politically-challenging poems. Examining the tyranny o f man against man, the verses and striking illustrations evoke a wide gamut of e motions and experiences as the poet awakens the reader to the present day realities and challenges us to “re-examine our oft-neglected attitudes and biases that we may more honestly reshape our expectations.”
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    Permission has been granted by the author, Dom Martin to reproduce — in printed form, blog or web media — excerpts or artwork from the book.

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  3. Karin said,

    September 27, 2008 at 19:28

    SO GREAT you’re back!! How are you doing? To tell you the truth I was worried …
    I assume you were at Hadassa Ein Karem … right? I worked there at respiratory ICU in 1988/1989!
    I remember a very similar story … I was member of “Rofim le shuiot adam” and as such looking for a mentally handicapped, deaf guy from Hebron who’s foot was virtually severed by a soldier who didn’t understand that the guy did neither HEAR nor UNDERSTAND orders shouted to him. They just shot … and let him lay without help, no ambulance was allowed to approach for QUITE a while. I went to a umber of departments till I found him … and did my best to help.

    Another “incident” with a “terrorist” .. my card from “Rofin le shuiot adam” and a juicy portion of self confidence and assertiveness opened every door. I found the young guy, chained to the bad, bleeding with bullet holes in both thighs, “watched” by two soldiers in a room. Initially I was not allowed to approach, then not to talk with him (like you:not on MY watch!) … and finally I chatted with “the terrorist” who as far as I remember threw stones as well, for almost an hour, got the number to inform his family. They were SOOO grateful … and I was very happy to be able to help!

    Watch yourself Steve!!

  4. Alexina said,

    September 28, 2008 at 00:16

    What a wonderful thing you did. And what a heartbreaking story. Thank you for brining some warmth and kindness and love into that family’s life. It is horrible all the hatred and pain going on in the World. I just don’t understand where all the cruelty and inhumanity is coming from. The disrespect for life, the complete lack of a heart (kindness, goodness, compassion, sympathy) – what has happened to humans? Why have we devovled instead of evolved? It is sometimes too sad for me to even think about.

  5. September 28, 2008 at 04:43

    […] EVERY ‘TERRORIST’ HAS A MOTHER September 28, 2008 Posted by verteta in Israel, PALESTINE. trackback Full Link : HERE […]

  6. Bob Birch said,

    September 29, 2008 at 01:36

    Thank you for standing up for human rights. The world, and Israel, needs more people like you.

  7. DavidG. said,

    September 29, 2008 at 03:01

    I have to admit I thought the worst, Steve! I imagined you in some Israeli or American torture centre suffering waterboarding or much worse.

    Hope you make a full recovery and can get on with the great work that you do.

    Take care!

  8. Expel to IsraHell said,

    October 1, 2008 at 00:33

    The Word Terrorist is an exercise in mental masturbation..and it is in fact, the opposite of what its meaning implies

    We in the West, with Britain & IsraHell, call those that Resist Occupation terrorists, Rather than Those That Are THE Occupiers..

    As they say, one mans terrroist, is another mans freedom fighter

    Great article, but that word ‘terrorist’ should always be in quotations to denote its guise & the fact it eminates from the Zio West.


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