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MEMORIAL on the 50th Anniversary of the Kafr Qasem Massacre

Political Prisoner from Kafr Qasem

Interviewed 1999

For heroic activity in defense of Palestine, Ahmad and Adel spent 14 years in prison. They were released only two weeks ago to return to the respectful welcome of the town of Kafr Qasem. Their release is indirectly part of the so called peace arranged between the various agents of the bourgeoisie who rule the Palestinian population. Because Kafr Qasem is in the interior of Palestine48 under the Israeli government their release was not directly part of the discussion between the Palestine Authority and the Israelis. They had to appeal to the Arab members of the Knesett.

As the friend of a Kafr Qasem family, I was able to visit both prisoners and hear their discussion one on one. I consider this to be a privilege.

Ahmad told me that the hardest thing he had to endure while in prison was the duty of telling his close friend the news that his mother had passed away. He said while in prison the love and sympathy of a mother gains huge proportions. Next to God comes one’s mother.

He said that denial of all the comforts of life from the smallest and simplest has taught him that all activities no matter how minuscule have meaning. The denial of the smallest freedoms of action led him to understand their meaning and their importance. Their only weapon was the hunger strike and they used it at great risk to themselves and their health to gain the smallest freedoms and privileges.

I asked him if they were put to work wanting later to ask if they were paid and how much. He said that they were denied the structure of work. But since they had to care for all parts of the prison for themselves they gave that work great importance. He said that basically they had almost nothing to do and he spent his time thinking on all types of things.

He thinks that the years spent in prison were lost years which in some important social dimensions. Now that he is out and talking to his old friends he feels that alienation which results of differing experiences. He feels as though he is a stranger among his own friends. Their concerns with maintaining daily life has been so overwhelming to those outside prison that they had no time to think while he had 14 years in which to think on all manner of concerns. In respect of contemplation he is a hundred years in advance of his friends. In either case be it social loss or advanced thinking he is at a distance from current life around him.

His largest concern at present is his personal relationship with his mother and father who suffered the varied anxieties of his imprisonment. Bringing a measure of healing to their pain is uppermost.

At last as I look at him, he takes something inconsequential on the cofee table in front of hime and moves it just a little bit and he tells me "small things become very important in prison."

Web posting and auther: Samia A. Halaby, September 2006.

Copyright, Samia A. Halaby, 1998, All rights reserved. To request permission to reproduce any part of these words, or pictures, or to express your opinion CLICK HERE.

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