Trending Topics:

A prisoner named Shorouk Duyat

Israel/Palestine
on 7 Comments

I had barely slept that night when I woke up and saw a face looking and smiling at me. It was a beautiful smile; I had never seen a cooler and and more beautiful smile in my life. I saw your face this morning – my friend and cellmate Shorouk Duyat.

This smile that had visited me and left me confused. I remained helpless and could not understand the meaning of it – is it a smile of blame, pain, joy, longing, appeal …?!

Shorouk Duyat, 21, is a prisoner who is held these days at Damon prison in Israel. I met her in prison three years ago. Her face is full of life despite the pain. She was shot in the shoulder and hand, and suffered many injuries silently. She did not talk to anyone about it, or about the pain she endures.

My first conversation with her was during the recess we got at Hasharon Prison when I looked at her eyes for a while and I asked her, “Do you feel any pain from the injury?”

She looked at me deeply with her sad eyes, smiled and then shook her head. She denied that she was in pain, I answered with a smile, and shook my head the same way she did and then we laughed a long loud laugh without knowing why.

Since that moment we became close friends. We started talking a lot, and laughing, crying and rejoicing. She was 19 years old, she loved reading, she came to our cell every day and said to me with her beautiful smile, “Dareen .. Dareen what did you write recently ?! Let me hear it please, I want to hear it.”

Shorouk Duyat. (Photo courtesy of the author)

During the recess time (al-foura) on my (bersh) bunk, I began to read to her what I had written. She was touched and expressed it with a smile, or applause, and from time to time even with tears. I said to her then, “Shorouk write, write everything you feel.”

The next day she came to my cell and one could see the joy on her face as she held a notebook in her hand, saying, “Dareen, I wrote something and need your opinion on it. I wrote it and wonder if you have time to hear it?” My happiness was indescribable.

She read to me what she had written. It was the finest writing I have ever heard, regardless of its simplicity and spontaneity. We worked together on the efficiency of her language and corrected some errors and brought out the first light of the thoughts she had in prison. Her text was full of creativity, feelings and questions. On that day I heard her thoughts about the pain she experiences and got a real sense of who she was. Since that day Shorouk never stopped writing.

Shorouk Duyat likes to draw as well, although she is not very good. Whenever she paints something she laughs a lot at her own paintings. She was annoyed at the gossip and the noise in the prison, and was happiest when she ate Loacker biscuits. Whenever she ate a piece she would come to my cell and feed me with one of her biscuits.

I told her, I do not like the lukewarm taste of everything. She said jokingly, “This is the taste of life in a prison. You lose a huge part of the meaning of life in prison.” We laughed about the reality in which we lived, sarcastically. The more I said to her that I’m vegetarian, the more she made fun of me, and she joked with her Jerusalem dialect: “I’d like to understand what do you mean, vegetarian? How does that work for you?”

There was this specific word which made her laugh at me  whenever she heard me say it. That was asa (“now” in village dialect). Her laugh made me change the word to halla (“now” in city dialect) but even when I said halla, she changed it to asa, and also laughed at her own replacement.

Shorouk likes to act and imitate characters. After we moved to Damon prison we wrote a play about an investigation and she began playing her role brilliantly.

One day I asked Shorouk whether she could show me her injury. She immediately uncovered her shoulder and put my hand on the scar left by the bullet that pierced her body. I wanted to pull out all the pain and painful memories by giving her everything she loves. I do not know if I succeeded in giving some happiness to her heart, or if I failed.

We read some books together, including the novel by Ghassan Kanafani, Men in the Sun, and talked about it afterwards.

Shorouk is a ball of energy, so full of life. She has the ability to do everything – to write, to challenge herself, to live, to hope, to sacrifice, to have faith and morality, Shorouk is as full of science as well as creativity.

Shorouk Duyat is a story that I will keep telling. I will always remember her.

Shorouk is a geography and history student at the University of Bethlehem. She was arrested on November 7, 2015 in Jerusalem,after she said a settler attempted to remove her veil and her response was to pull him away. According to her, she hit him with her bag and pushed him with her hands but the settler pulled a weapon out of his pocket at fired three shots at her. The first was in her neck, the second was in her breasts and the third was in her shoulder. She was convicted of an attempted stabbing. The High Court gave her a sentence of 16 years and an $22,000 (80,000 NIS) fine.

On December 24, 2018,  Shorouk stood in the High Court to challenge the punishment she received three years ago, on the same day I also stood up to challenge mine! But the difference was huge. As I was out while she was still in prison serving her 16 year sentence! I wished the court accepted your appeal that day my dear. If only I could ease the sentence for you. I know you are one of the purest human beings. Unfortunately your request was rejected and the sentence remains the same.

As I talk and write about my story with Shorouk, I read an article about the soldier Ben Deri and his early release parole from prison. He is the murderer of the young Nadim Nuwara and was convicted of killing the Palestinian teen in cold blood in Beitunia near Ramallah during the commemoration of the Nakba on May 15, 2014. Ben Deri was in prison for less than a year, although the High Court imposed a prison term of only 18 months. As was the case with the soldier Elor Azaria, the murderer of Abdel Fattah Sharif in Hebron who was also released from prison early. As well as a minor who participated in the burning of the Dawabsheh family in Duma was released under house arrest after serving only two years. 

I might, at any minute, find myself in jail again. Maybe the court will misinterpret my recollection of Shorouk in prison as support for terrorism. It might try to argue that I am violating the terms and conditions on my release. Today I am still on a conditional order for three years, with a six-month punishment if I violate my parole.

Regardless of all of this, I am unable to be silent and I am unable to surrender to a condition of silence. Silence denies me my right to speak about how I lived and how I feel and about the suffering of my people. The powers that be do not want me to use what is most important and precious to me, and that is my voice.

Dareen Tatour
About Dareen Tatour

Dareen Tatour is a poet and Palestinian citizen of Israel who spent nearly three years jailed and under house arrest. She was convicted in May 2018 on charges of incitement and support for terror organizations after she published her poem “Resist, My People, Resist Them” on social media.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

7 Responses

  1. gamal
    gamal
    February 7, 2019, 2:24 pm

    “Shorouk is a geography and history student at the University of Bethlehem. She was arrested on November 7, 2015 in Jerusalem,after she said a settler attempted to remove her veil and her response was to pull him away. According to her, she hit him with her bag and pushed him with her hands but the settler pulled a weapon out of his pocket at fired three shots at her. The first was in her neck, the second was in her breasts and the third was in her shoulder. She was convicted of an attempted stabbing. The High Court gave her a sentence of 16 years and an $22,000 (80,000 NIS) fine”

    so she was attacked and judicially lynched…I read the two Tatour pieces…wow and Shorouk….

    men huh we are just shameful…not many things make me blush but shit.

    currently Jackie Walker is seeking funding to enlarge her play The Lynching..Solidarity is a duty which you shirk at the peril of your Psychic, Spiritual and Temporal well being, that’s how it seems to me anyway, an inescapable thing.

    shorouk is sunrise…isn’t it.

    Jackie Walker

    was born in New York, the daughter of Dorothy Walker, a Jamaican mother, and Jack Cohen, a Jewish American father, after whom she was named. Her parents met as political activists – she a student doctor, he a Communist of Russian origin – and travelled together on the ‘Freedom Rides’ in the Southern States of America during the early Civil Rights struggle of the 50’s and 60’s, often risking their own lives. Dorothy was eventually deported from the country; not before her incarceration in Pilgrim State Mental Hospital in NY.

    This story and Dorothy’s journey to Deptford, London, in the early sixties, and early death, is told in Jackie’s extraordinary and moving family memoir Pilgrim State (2009). Jackie is an educator, trainer, performer, political activist and writer.

    She was the Deputy Vice Chair of Momentum, the group that was set up to protect the movement that arose with the election of Jeremy Corbyn, but was later dismissed from the position and suspended from the Labour Party with smears of antisemitism and ‘bringing the Party into disrepute’. The Lynching, with forensic skill, huge heart and great humour, is a theatre piece that examines this whole struggle, much of it told through the voice of Jackie’s mother…

    36434106_1548505119885864_r.jpeg

    Our Proposal:

    We want to develop Jackie Walker’s fantastic show The Lynching into a three-women version for and by other descendants of the Windrush Generation. This is a piece about the intersection of Jewish and Black struggle, and social activism over three and more generations. An amazing and unique story that is, at the same time, universal. It will be directed by Steve Tiller

    https://www.gofundme.com/developing-the-lynching

    • eljay
      eljay
      February 7, 2019, 3:06 pm

      || gamal: … men huh we are just shameful … ||

      Women can also be shameful and hateful, so I wouldn’t generalize to men in this case any more than I would generalize to Jews when it comes to the actions of Zionists. Just my 2¢.

      • gamal
        gamal
        February 7, 2019, 3:57 pm

        With respect that is neither nor there, what has what women do got to with anything, you have to learn how to hear man not police stuff you don’t understand to no positive effect at all.

        “generalize” you calling me sexist?

      • eljay
        eljay
        February 7, 2019, 5:08 pm

        || gamal: With respect that is neither nor there, what has what women do got to with anything, you have to learn how to hear man not police stuff you don’t understand to no positive effect at all. … ||

        What has “police stuff” got to do with anything? Like me, my point was simple: The actions of one or more men, women or police officers are the shame of those men, women or police officers.

        || … “generalize” you calling me sexist? ||

        I’m not calling you anything.

      • Stephen Shenfield
        Stephen Shenfield
        February 9, 2019, 9:22 am

        I think that probably eljay has misunderstood what gamal meant, but it is not my place to try to explain him. I wish gamal would react more patiently when he is misunderstood instead of getting angry, which achieves nothing. eljay means well and gamal is not always easy to understand due to cultural differences and mode of expression.

  2. MHughes976
    MHughes976
    February 7, 2019, 5:08 pm

    Presumably the settler had no knife wounds but knew that a claim that ‘she tried to stab me’ would be believed regardless?

    • Stephen Shenfield
      Stephen Shenfield
      February 9, 2019, 9:51 am

      She was convicted of an ATTEMPTED stabbing. The settler had no wounds because the attempt failed, thank God. It failed because instead of using a knife she tried to stab him with her bag. Why then did she think that she could stab someone with a bag? Perhaps it was just a matter of ignorance. Her studies in geography and history had not equipped her to tackle this issue. Or perhaps she was cunning enough to use a bag with sharp serrated edges, but when the bag collided with the settler there was no contact between those edges and his skin. Because she had not undergone adequate training in bag-to-bag combat. But she was trying to stab him — a fact irrefutably confirmed by two qualified telepaths who happened to be standing nearby at the time of the incident.

Leave a Reply