VISIT PALESTINE: POSTCARDS FROM OCCUPIED TERRITORIES / 4

South Hebron Hills - Demolitions

It’s a day like any other. After the breakfast around the fire, Aissa runs away with the backpack on his shoulders. He is lively as usual. Like every morning, he has the gift of gab and his voice keeps other children company in their way to school.
The bell is ringing. Aissa joins with his classmates in the classroom. Holding a pen, ready to follow the lesson, he smiles at the teacher. His legs are struggling to stay still, dangling from a chair too high for his small stature.
Once the lessons ended, Aissa runs home, already looking forward his freedom during the afternoon.
But what awaits him that day is sadly different from usual.
His shining eyes leave space to a lost look, confused. His backpack falls down from his shoulder.
His house is gone. And in its place, a heap of rubble.

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VISIT PALESTINE: POSTCARDS FROM OCCUPIED TERRITORIES / 3

Wadi Auja - Access to land

Despite the storm which it seems to be falling, Mariam undaunted takes her flock and leaves her four children to their bigger sister. She really needs a breather from the screams of her spitfire and barefoot children. She walks toward Wadi ‘Auja with her little girl of few months in her arms. She has a beautiful smile.
She arrives in the valley where the shepherds of the area are going with their flocks. Not a kilometre further there is Omar Farm, the illegal outpost from where all the problems are coming.
The sky becomes clearer. Other shepherds are arriving, assembling to drink a tea.
Then something come to spoils the bucolic atmosphere.
The soldiers are coming.  
The women exchange a look, almost to give each other strength, while the soldiers are coming down from the jeep. They don’t seem worried, indeed it’s seems that they want to remain.

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VISIT PALESTINE: POSTCARDS FROM OCCUPIED TERRITORIES / 2

Az Zawiya village - Agricultural checkpoints

Abu Sameer leaves his house and proceeds through the streets of the city, wrapped in darkness. While he is walking, other villagers join him. It is 5 in the morning; the city is still silent. Only the workers are following this routine made by greetings, yawn, waiting, swearing, injustices and solidarity. A walk between the city and the woods to the gate, a small iron door who give them the possibility to get to the “other side”.
There are already people over there, waiting. Workers, generally. But there are also many farmers, which are prevented to reach their land freely due to the separation barrier. Abu Sameer is one of them.
The gate opens at 6 in the morning. But the opening hours depends on the soldiers, who are late sometimes few minutes, sometimes hours. In the meantime, the workers are waiting, even under the flowing rain in winter.

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VISIT PALESTINE: POSTCARDS FROM OCCUPIED TERRITORIES / 1

Az Zawiya village - Land grabbing

“Talla (look)! Can you see the ruins over there?” Amir asks. “That’s where I was born and grew up. All that land belongs to my family”.
The wind blows hard almost to return the pride of those words.
From the hill Amir looks that land, now so far from him. A military jeep patrols the road on the other side of the fence. Voices are heard in Hebrew, and the sound of machinery which are working in the quarry. Amir lets slip his usual contagious laugh. “When I was a child, I always got closer to the quarry to play”.
The silence returns. Amir can’t go back on that land.
Now the grey buildings of Israeli cities are there, and not so far Tel Aviv.
For someone, a wall to protect from a world considered hostile but that people refuse to see and to know; for others, a cage which is becoming narrower and oppressive.
Now the wall separates and divides a land that before stretched free until the sea.
The wall imposes itself vehemently, following a line deliberately not regular. Delineates spaces, not only physical, but mental.
An “outside” and an “inside” where it’s easy to get lost.

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Carpe Diem - Seize the day

February 2020

I still have a few days to live here before going back to Italy. That very same Italy which now, due to a  “SmartVirus” (as I call it), is suffering and going crazy.
I said “live”, rather than “remain” or “spend time”, because here, in the South Hebron Hills, and in particular in At-Tuwani, we live.
It does not matter the time going by, especially in this season when the days get longer and time passes slowly.
We live every second in a more authentic and full way, without wasting it.
We enjoy the beauty of the small things, of being together, of the family, of the friends, of the  neighbor.
Almost, I would say, we are in peace, light heartedness, freedom and serenity.

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