Sunday, August 13, 2006

Resistance Farm: "The Shed"

The farm: Mostly irrigated citrus trees and vegetables. At left is "The Shed." Shareef and Siham are not allowed by Israel to build a home on their land, so they built a "temporary shelter unsuitable for habitation." We slept outside the shed under the stars... and mosquitos. By the way, received at least 50 or 60 mosqito bites on my face and arms! I didn't even realize it until Shareef and Siham said, "It looks like you have lots of bites from the "Hiss Hiss" (mosquitos)." I looked like I had smallpox. Shareef and Siham seemed unaffected. I asked, "why don't the hiss hiss bite you?" Shareef laughed and said, "Maybe they are apartheid mosquitos, they like your white skin!"

This is a 2003 photo of Sherif and his granddaughter (not his daughter, who is mentioned in the story below).

"Siham and Shareef Preparing Lunch"

Fuul (fava beans), Sabre (cactus), Fatoush (squash-cucumber), and Watermelon make a good luch...

Making Bread, or "khabes."

Irrigate the Fields with My Blood

Shareef and Siham have been resisters to land expropriation since the 1980s. Today they are camping out on their farm, sleeping outside a shed that they built some years back. For them, it's not just about their land, it's about the future generations, and the existence of Palestine. In the mid eighties when the settlers were just arriving here and the soldiers came to intimidate them, Shareef said "Shoot me here on the land, so that my blood will irrigate the field." The soldiers didn't shoot, they just pushed him around. His daughter, who was young at the time, could not sleep for two months after the incident. She constantly awoke at night dreaming that her father was dead. Siham and Shareef took the girl to a psychologist, who recommended that rather than trying to help the child forget about the incident, that they talk about it often, so that it becomes a normal rather than traumatic memory. When I heard this story, I thought, this is really Palestinian resistance psychology: to survive occupation, trauma must be reinterpreted as normal.

Today, the daughter is "normal." She received a degree in English literature and now has children of her own, and lives in Palestine.

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