Qalandiya - surviving, not really living

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Tamar Fleishman; Translator: Tal H.

In the photo: Things you see on the way

Or: a place to pray

What I heard from acquaintances on both sides of the Apartheid Wall:

  • Very bad, it’s already four o’clock and we haven’t begun, we’ve been here since 9 in the morning, and there’s nothing.
  • Many people are not really living. They walk, eat, sleep, but it’s not as though they’re really alive. They’re dead. It’s a body walking, eating, sleeping. Living dead.
  • Many children who work here don’t go to school. Even if a kid studies, even goes to the university, what will become of him? He will be like his father, no more. He will never be anything that suits his education and that really suits a person. That’s why many people send their kids out to work selling stuff, not going to school.
  • Only half of the children you seen here go to school in the morning, and only come to work in the afternoon.

On man, who owns a business in East Jerusalem, said: We have no hope, me and my children. I have a home, a good family, I make a livelihood, but it’s a tasteless life. We see how many are murdered in the West Bank, and I’m concerned for my family.

My life consists of getting up in the morning, going to work, going to sleep, getting up in the morning, again and again. I survive. I don’t really live.

I’m asked why I don’t request Israeli citizenship and I ask – how will that help me in life? To vote in the Knesset elections?

The checkpoint lies over a vast area. In the past there was a car-park in front, facing the West Bank. With time, with the “improvements” as they call it, a fence has been erected around the entire compound and the way for anyone headed towards the refugee camp has become much longer.

But wherever there is life, people manage to overcome barriers.

A few weeks ago, the fence was broken and people crossed over to the other side.

Now the army has blocked the breach again, barbed wire and metal rods were placed over it and everything is fortified with metal chains and locks.

But wherever there is life, people manage to overcome barriers.

True, in the meantime the fence has not been breached, but the braver fellows hold out their hand to each other, climb over and cross it.