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A political prisoner tries to imagine wearing shoes again

Israel/Palestine
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Human rights worker Abdallah Abu Rahmah’s letter to supporters and friends from the Ofer prison, where he has been held for two months:

The prison is a collection of tents enclosed by razor wire and an electrical fence, each unit containing four tents, 22 prisoners per tent. Now, in winter, wind and rain comes in through cracks in the tent and we don’t have sufficient blankets, clothes, and other basic necessities….

I was arrested in my slippers, and to this day my family has been unable to get permission to supply me with a pair of shoes. I was finally given my watch after repeated requests. For me this is an essential way to keep oriented; it was unbearable not being able to see the rate at which time passes. Receiving it, I felt so overjoyed, like a child getting his first watch. I can barely imagine what it will be like to have a pair of proper shoes again.

…I am a teacher and before my arrest I taught at a private school in Birzeit and also owned a chicken farm. My family had to sell the farm at a loss after I was arrested. I don’t know if I will have my position at the school when I am released.Adeeb ‘s family of nine is left without their sole provider, as are many other families. Not being able to care for our loved ones who need us is the hardest part of being here.

It is the support that I receive from my family and friends that helps me go on. I am grateful to the Palestinian leaders who have contacted my family, the diplomats from the European Union and to the Israeli activists who have expressed their support by attending my hearings. The relationship we have built together with the activists has gone beyond the definition of colleague or friend, we are brothers and sisters in this struggle. You are an unrelenting source of inspiration and solidarity. You have stood with us during demonstrations and court hearings, and during our happiest and most painful occasions. Being in prison has shown me how many true friends I have, I am so grateful to all of you.

From the confines of my imprisonment it becomes so clear that our struggle is far bigger than justice for only Bil’in or even Palestine. We are engaged in an international fight against oppression. I know this to be true when I remember all of you from around the world who have joined the movement to stop the wall and settlements. Ordinary people enraged by the occupation have made our struggle their own, and joined us in solidarity. We will surely join together to struggle for justice in other places when Palestine is finally free.

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