I received several reactions to the memoirs that I published successively on the pages of the countercurrents. Some blame me for waiting a long time to write about that period, and they are right. But let us remember the proverb that says it is better to be late than Never. However, I must admit that I tried to write about it in the past, but I felt that I could not because it was a kind of living it again, and I needed to forget them at least temporarily. Painful moments in a person’s life cannot be overlooked. But over time, new layers of events and new challenges in life come that make it easier for one to write about harsh early times.
When I write, I remember many people who lost their lives during that period. I think of these people and wonder what they did to deserve such fate.
They are still in the mass graves where they were when the Zionist aircraft bombed them.
Despite the building up of checkpoints, the Zionist army weren’t stopping anyone at the checkpoints they set up near the camp. During this period, a large part of the people returned and started repairing their homes as much as they could.
We spent our days not knowing our fate the next day. I consulted my friend Shaker because he is from the West Bank and has experience in the occupation. I asked him about his expectations for the future, and his answer was that he expects the arrest campaigns to start soon. Indeed, it was only a short period until the residents of the southern neighborhood were surprised by large forces of the Zionist army in the early morning. They storm the camp with loudspeakers. Called all men from the age of 16 to 60 to gather in front of the camp yard.
I got up from sleep to the microphone’s sound, and my worried mother was looking at me all the time. I was concerned, but I was trying as much as possible to act in a usual way to reassure her. I ate a quick breakfast and went to the camp yard where the people surrounded by Zionist soldiers were gathering. A Zionist officer asked if there was anyone in the PLO, even if he entered one of the PLO offices one time in life. What a malicious question is that because the PLO has been, over the past years, responsible for the Palestinian camps in Lebanon for various educational, cultural, and Social. This means that every person in the camp is subject to arrest!!!!
Abu Ali, a man from our neighbors, was the secretary of the Palestine Workers Union in the area. One time I met him and told him that he better leave the camp. He asked why he should run away because he was a trade union man, and I told him the Zionists do not understand this. Anyone working for Palestine, even in Sports and music, considers it a threat to Zionists because their concern and obsession are to destroy the Palestinian existence, physically, culturally, morally, and in all respects.
Abu Ali joined us at the assembly in the square. After a short time, three cars arrived. In each car, a masked man. The masked people were Palestinians who were exposed to torture. And forced to cooperate with the Zionist occupiers. Later I heard that this was the Nazis’ method of finding out who was a Jew in Germany.
They were forcing a Jew to deal with them, and they put a mask over his face, then he would point out to the Jews.
They asked us to stand five people at a time, and the masked man pointed to the wanted person. When Abu Ali’s turn came, they took him immediately amid apparent joy, as if they had found a treasure. After that time, Abu Ali disappeared and did not appear until now; they must have killed him.
I stood like the others, and the masked man did not point out to me. They took a few hundred residents, and we went back to our homes, and everyone was worried. My father tried again to ask me to leave the camp, and he said they would arrest me sooner or later.
My father said that Zionists, are not English or French!!! They are a group of professional criminals who think they are above the whole world and have the right to be above any law. Indeed, when I began to read more about Zionism later, I realized how dangerous this murderous ideology is, which considers that the whole world owes the Jews and they have the right to do anything in the world without being deterred by anyone.
I was active in The Palestinian teachers’ union and participated in other cultural projects. In addition, I was responsible for the Norwegian solidarity medical team; the goal was to teach them about the Palestinian culture.
We slept that night, and we were apprehensive. Everything was unknown, and no one knew his fate, even after an hour. I told my father after thinking, I am staying with them whatever happens…
One day the Zionist army came to the camp and asked the people the camp to search for a Zionist soldier who was lost in the war. I did not leave the house that day; they forced the people to look for the soldier. Abu Aref is an old man who told the Zionist officer that he experienced two world wars during the ottoman time and the Second World War during the British time, but he never saw an army asking the people to search for their soldiers.
During that period, I sought to contact the Red Cross, and I knew someone who was my teacher and worked in the Red Cross. My goal was to make the Red Cross more frequent visits to the camp to provide protection to the people. The Zionists do not recognize any law in the world, and the only thing that worries them is the presence of a foreign press to Witness their crimes.
Yesterday, I read a report that the Zionists issued new regulations related to the visit of foreigners to the West Bank. They know that these foreigners are sympathetic to the Palestinians or that they can see the violations of the Zionists, so they seek to restrict them from coming to Palestine.
It was a really, very difficult time. I was working as hard as I could to raise the people’s morale in a challenging situation.
Salim Nazzal is a Palestinian Norwegian researcher, lecturer playwright and poet, wrote more than 17 books such as Perspectives on thought, culture and political sociology, in thought, culture and ideology, the road to Baghdad. Palestine in heart.