A THANK YOU from Palestinian activist, Mahmoud Nawaja
It was 3:30 am, just before Eid al-Adha. We had prepared ourselves to celebrate the holiday in our new dream home, which took us years to finish. Tens of Israeli soldiers, with dogs, stormed our home, terrifying our three children. They took me blindfolded and handcuffed to a military interrogation center near Haifa. I wish I could visit beautiful Palestinian Haifa under different circumstances!
Upon arrival my right hand was swollen, blue, and numb after hours of being tightly chained. They ignored my complaint and did not treat it. Even now, weeks after my arrest, part of my hand is still numb.
They put me in a tiny underground cell with no windows, with rough concrete walls, and a large metal door. A bright light that was always on. I couldn’t tell day from night, so time was creeping by.
During my 19 days of interrogation, I never saw the sun, except for a total of 20 minutes, when taken to the military court hearings.
I resisted the degrading conditions of detention by remembering the laughter of my two-year-old son Ahmad, my conversations with my wife, friends and colleagues, and many little life details that I had not paid any attention to before.
The interrogators forced me to sit in a narrow metal chair for 16 hours in a very painful position, taking turns yelling at and threatening me. But they failed to diminish my will or my hope. Both stemmed from my absolute belief in the justice of our — and my — cause, and my confidence that the BDS movement that I belong to, supported by people of conscience worldwide, would campaign relentlessly to free me.
I transcended my loneliness in their filthy cell by uniting myself, mentally, with the millions standing in solidarity with our people’s struggle for liberation, return and self-determination. Your distant voices were reaching me spiritually, giving me strength and nourishing my hope.
Today, I am free! Were it not for your solidarity, my incarceration would have been immeasurably worse. I do not have the words to express my deep gratitude to everyone who participated in the campaign to pressure apartheid Israel to release me.
As the great Black American poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou once said: “Hope and fear cannot occupy the same space at the same time. Invite one to stay.”
I’ve invited hope and resistance.
United, for Freedom, Justice and Equality.