“Dareen, you have great potential and exceptional qualifications, but we cannot hire you. We simply do not want trouble at our office.”
I have survived three and a half years of jail and house arrest — punishment for writing a poem against the occupation. Throughout that time, I was banned from using the internet, but my friends would always print out and bring me articles published about me and my cause. Even when other outlets neglected my case, Mondoweiss was a major supporter and posted every update.
When I finally was released in September, I heard many variations on the comment above as I tried to recover from having lost my job and spent all my money defending myself in court. But a criminal record under the charge of “terrorism” has prevented me from getting a job and rebuilding myself economically. I knocked on so many doors but have only faced slammed doors or, at best, the honesty of “we simply do not want trouble.”
These responses have given me a permanent feeling of pain, anxiety and depression. Sometimes it feels as if I am still imprisoned. When I most need work and income, I am deprived of the chance to earn a living.
Every Palestinian political prisoner here in Palestine faces this problem after being released from prison. Those like me who hold Israeli citizenship are in theory eligible to work in Israeli institutions — but they reject us due to racism and for these fabricated claims of “terrorism.” Even in the Palestinian community my people were afraid to hire me, despite their respect for me, my sacrifice and my fight for freedom of expression. They told me, “Dareen, we love and appreciate you, but we cannot employ you.”
On October 10, 2018, I was sitting in my room feeling depressed about the dozens of applications I had sent. I received an email from Adam Horowitz of Mondoweiss, congratulating me on my freedom. Adam wrote that Mondoweiss supports my cause and will continue to do so even after my release. He asked if I would be willing to write for Mondoweiss, on any subject I choose. What a relief! To be paid to practice my right to freedom of expression, of which I was deprived for so long!
Adam’s email was like a lifeboat in the midst of the storm of my harsh reality. His message made me feel the meaning of true humanity and the basic value of journalism in our lives. Most of all, I felt that as seriously as Mondoweiss takes its reporting obligation, the site puts loyalty to humanity above news or articles.
I could not have imagined for a moment that I would become part of the Mondoweiss family. Just like that, overnight, I became one of the site’s writers. I get to deliver my thoughts through its pages and my written words have become an integral part of this essential center for thought and resistance.
When Adam posted my first article on the site, I started feeling like the self I had lost for so long — as a writer and as a human. Mondoweiss is the only place that initiated to help me stand on my feet again. It is not only a media outlet, but an institution that cares for humans, their feelings and lives as it also values facts and original reporting.
Successful media, in my opinion, is that independent, honest media that comes out of the people’s heartbeats and concerns. It contributes to lifting up humanity, it does not wait for the authorities’ support to continue. How beautiful it is when that voice is from us to us, because humanity is what moves this institution—not political agenda, nor factions or authorities.
Working with Mondoweiss has helped me rediscover the meaning of true freedom and democracy. Writing for Mondoweiss and reading what my colleagues write, I feel that the site deepens faith in freedom and values it for every one of us alike. To those who lead Mondoweiss — and you who support the work — freedom is not merely a call or a word said, but a reality.
Every day I feel that in working with Mondoweiss, I hold an immense responsibility to contribute to the continuation of this site. I hope you will agree with me and contribute today in any way you can, as the site calls for freedom, justice and an end to occupation at every level.
By following all political and social developments related to Palestinians and Israelis, Mondoweiss provides an essential service that I trust you value as I do. In my opinion, Mondoweiss contributes to the development of an educated public who works for freedom and justice.
Please join me in supporting Mondoweiss — an institution that supports Palestinian writers like me both morally and practically. I am honored to be part of the Mondoweiss family.