We met a group of 18 Germans hungry for information who had heard an erudite and impressive talk by Roniabout the occupation in general and the situation at Qalandiya in particular.
Even if the sight of people whose weakness and humiliation as a result of the occupation has become all too routine at this evil place – we must not remain silent.
Those who see must show others; those who know must inform others, must document and report the humiliation daily suffered by people who lack rights.
Whoever grows accustomed to crime and injustice and remains silent becomes a collaborator who won’t be absolved.
Because where the rights of individuals are trampled, and a person becomes no more than a passing shadow or is seen only as a security threat, the old man dying of brain cancer taken through the checkpoint as if he were but an object rather than someone with a tormented body and broken spirit becomes another example of the crimes committed in our name.
The 38th anniversary of Land Day had a low-key commemoration at Qalandiya. Apparently the leadership of both sides didn’t want to fan the flames. The soldiers as well as the youths throwing rocks behaved with relative moderation: the soldiers holed up in the smoke-blackened corner tower remained hidden from view while a few youths stood on the opposite hill trying not very successfully to stone the impregnable stronghold. The soldiers made no effort to provoke them but only responded sporadically with stun grenades and an occasional tear gas canister. A disappointed foreign photographer had to leave without a dramatic photo. “They’re playing a silly game…” he said, and wasn’t impressed by our explanation that what he viewed as a “game” is for many youths at Qalandiya the difference between life and death.
Across the way clouds of dense black smoke from burning tires rose above the walls and fences from the town of A-Ram whose buildings border the Qalandiya checkpoint. They proved, as the military armored vehicles and the terrifying “skunk liquid” cannon truck hurried to that location through the army’s gate in the wall, that Land Day is being commemorated properly and appropriately in A-Ram.
And an ambulance driver reported on Friday’s events at the Nablus Gate, telling us that a 50 year old man, who wasn’t one of the demonstrators but an innocent pedestrian had been hit in the face by a stun grenade, lost an eye and been rushed to the trauma unit at Hadassah Ein Karem, semi-conscious, with a broken nose.