Editor’s Note: Below are two letters written from prison by Zakaria Zubeidi, director of the Jenin Freedom Theatre, who resumed a hunger strike on September 17, 2012 in protest against the Palestinian Authority for imprisonment without charge. On May 13, 2012 Zubeidi was placed in detention where he spent his first 50 days in solitary confinement. However, today after a judge announced his case would be re-opened, Zubeidi suspended his fast. The below statements do not reflect the latest updates in the theatre director’s on-going battle for freedom.
Sept 17 2012
I, Zakaria Muhammed Zubeidi leader of al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in Jenin, currently held in Jericho Center Prison announce an escalation of my hunger strike, and will now refuse water in addition to food. I will also no longer speak or answer further questions due to my arbitrary arrest and the unjust Palestinian judicial system. My hunger strike will continue until my death. I am spiritually, physically and mentally prepared to die for my freedom.
I gave an exact copy of this statement to Head of the Jericho Prison in case the spokesperson for Palestinian Security Service, Adnan al-Damiri attempts to denounce or challenge the truth of my statement
. . .
Sept 16 2012
To the Freedom Fighters of my people and throughout the World:
I have been a fighter and have struggled for my people and homeland. I shared my own blood with my brother martyrs and prisoners and participated with them in our struggle for freedom for 10 years. I never surrendered or gave up my rifle against the unjust Israeli occupation that lays over the Palestinian people. After the political changes in the region – I then laid down my weapons but I continued my struggle for my own personal dignity and my people’s freedom. I have now gone through a five year cultural battle for the freedom of my people and we have all have made sacrifices – and even then the biggest cost is blood, including the assassination of my brother and companion Juliano Mer-Khamis the Director of the Freedom Theatre. Despite fighting the occupation in every way I can, I am now being subjected to further injustice, this time by my own people, represented by my arrest by the Palestinian Security Forces on May 5th, 2012, without charges, evidence or witnesses.
Yet, I have followed law and order and continue to up to this moment, but I strongly refuse to submit further to this injustice without any cause whatsoever. This injustice not only robs me of my freedom but damages freedom for all. I am now fighting a new battle in Jericho prison with the only weapon I have left – my own life – through my continuing hunger strike. But now this strike includes food and water. I also refuse to speak further – accepting that the end of this strike must inevitably be my death. I am mentally prepared to die, in the same way many people fought with me – and gave their lives for freedom.
The taste of freedom, the nurturing milk of freedom, was fed to me by my parents who both died themselves for this freedom. My brother and leader, Ziyad al-Amer and companion martyr of cultural resistance, Julino Mer-Khamis and all the martyrs I have fought with have died for Palestinian freedom.
I say to my family, my wife, my dear children – do not grieve for me. This is my path that must lead to two possible ends, either victory and freedom, or death.
Finally, I thank all the freedom fighters at home and all over the world that have been supportive of our cause and I especially thank The Freedom Theatre.
After my medical exam today, Sunday, Sept 16, which will be my last, I will refuse any medical intervention. My current medical status includes dizziness and severe pain in my back , joints, and kidneys. My blood pressure is 60/100. My heart rate is 68 beats per minute. I am able to take 12 breaths a minute and my blood sugar is 84.
Translation provided by the Jenin Freedom Theatre.