Categorized | Middle East

WE DON’T TAKE-CARE OF SUCH THINGS…

NOVANEWS

We don’t take care of such things…

Harassing the little beggars.

It happened in 2005, again in 2006, and 2007, and 2008,

and 2009 and 2010 and it is happening now, and again and

again, in broad daylight, by law and norm: the various Occ-

upation forces harass the children of the Shawamrah family –

Mohammad, Ahmad, Rami, Hussam and Yunes – and all the

other venders.

This was not the first time that the police had harassed the

Shawamrah children. Only one of many. 15-year old Moha-

mmad, the eldest, called and said that a police car abducted

Hussam, then eight-and-a-half years old, from the crossroads

where he was selling chewing gum, and disappeared, and he

asked for our help. This time he even remembered to note

down the license plate number as we had instructed him

whenever policemen would hurt them again.

This time Mohammad was terribly worried, and so were

we – from our experience we know that sometimes the police

leaves these children in some faraway field. This has already

happened with Ahmad and Rami, but Hussam is only

eight-and-a-half years old, and how would he find his way back

 alone, Mohammad kept repeating. Find him, he asked, tightly

sewing the tears that flooded him, despite his efforts to get over

them.

We called the police.

A child has disappeared, we said.

Really? Said an attentive voice, full of concern and a sense of public responsibility,

doing its duty.

What’s his name?

His name is Hussam.
Hussam? Silence took over for a moment. Then the voice sounded again.

Eh… We don’t take

care of such matters. 

Hussam is not a particular child called Hussam. An especially beautiful child,

eight-and-a-half years old, whose eyes are soft, and an aged sadness laces his

sweetness like a shroud.

For Hussam is not a child, or a person.

Hussam is a Palestinian. This is his being. This is his nothingness.

This is his fate.
 

Sometimes it is ‘only’ the theft of goods. Namely, policemen take the

children’s goods away from them, goods paid for with money, without

returning it, without paying for it, or even handing them a form attesting

it had been confiscated. Sometimes they are the soldiers who make the

little venders stand outside in the cold and rain on a small mound next

to the checkpoint, as punishment, or they smash the goods down to the

ground, again and again, and sometimes the police picks them up in its

van and leaves them out in some faraway field, to make their way back

alone, make them learn their lesson. And sometimes it’s done with a

beating, with or without a stick. Soldiers or policemen. In the field nearby,

or inside the vans, or even with a billy-club, Like the one police officer

David Revivo used on the four children after they were hunted

down, inside the filthy staircase of the Youth Division on Shlomtzion

Street (West Jerusalem).

We lodged a complaint on behalf of the children against police officer

David Revivo with the Police Internal Investigation Department.

Not because we thought him a lone culprit, or that if David Revivo would

never harass them again, the abuse of the children and venders in general

would cease.

We lodged our complaint because we had his name. And because the children

asked us to do so, because they were so terrified of him.

Because we could not extricate them from their lives, no matter how much

we wanted to. From a faulty parenthood that sends them day in day out

morning till night, out into this menace, and from the Occupation that does

not see them as human beings. But at least, David Revivo, who in addition to

everything else uses his billy-club on them, at least he wouldn’t go on

terrifying them, we hoped together with them. In our hybris and naivete we

thought that we could remove him, at least. For after all we had all four

children and another two who were not of the same family, willing to testify

against him. To identify him as the one who took them to the Youth Division,

and beat them up with his billy-club. And how another policeman said, why

are  you beating them up, a policeman they could describe if asked to.

And exact details about the abuser himself, his looks and his police van and

his partner. And we, ourselves, privileged as non-Palestinians, we too can

testify that this policeman is a liar. Or at least a potential liar. About how we

once came to the crossroads and the children told us he had just taken away

their miserable packets of chewing gum and stashed them in his trunk and

we asked him about it and he denied having done it, and then his partner at

the time, a volunteer who introduced himself by name, and didn’t know what

his partner had just said, told us that indeed, David Revivo had taken the children’s

chewing gum packets and they are right in that trunk. In other words, he had stolen

them. Contrary to what David Revivo said, himself. And all of this was on video, that

could be summoned for inquiry, as well as we ourselves.

Here is our complaint to the Police Internal Investigation Department, as well as

 the answer we have finally received from the Police Internal Investigation Department

after nearly two years of endless requests, telling us there is no basis for inquiry.

A named policeman beat up children with his billy-club. There are witnesses. There

is opinion stating that he doesn’t tell the truth. There is a learned opinion that this

must be investigated.  And the answer of the Police Internal Investigation Departm-

ent that there is nothing to be done. Because in a state where civil rights are accorded

on the basis of ethnicity, and the rights to property and health and education and

freedom of movement and work are accorded on the basis of ethnicity, even the

definition of childhood – so we learn – is based on ethnicity. Because the Occupa-

tion authorities and ruling power naturally hold hands when the “enemy”

is Palestinian. Even if it is a child. Because there is no such thing as a Palestinian

child. Only a Palestinian.

And if it’s a Palestinian, his blood is free for the taking.

And that is the whole story, of Palestinians under Occupation, and always has been,

between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

Translated by Tal Haran

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