Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Another muted scream

Sayed Mohamed Dhansay, The Electronic Intifada, 21 April 2009
(Sayed Mohamed Dhansay is a South African who volunteered with the International Solidarity Movement in the West Bank in 2006-07.)

"He stands on a small sandy hilltop wearing a bright yellow t-shirt, cigarette in hand. He is calling out to the soldiers on the other side of the fence "Do not shoot, do not shoot. There are children and internationals here, do not shoot." Thin white wisps of tear gas linger in the gentle breeze, a moment of calm in the confrontation.

Suddenly a tear gas canister whizzes past the camera making an audible "clunk" as it hits something to the right. He tries to let out a scream, but all he manages is a stifled yelp. One can almost hear his breath being cut short as the projectile punctures his chest. Another muted scream of pain. He falls to the ground then jumps up quickly, running a few steps before collapsing again......

For now, the resilience of Bilin lives on. The next day, hundreds turned out for Basem's funeral. His body, draped in the Palestinian flag, Basem was held aloft by mourners as they chanted, "The martyr is beloved by God," eventually bringing him to the final resting place where so many have been taken before.

And while Palestine waits patiently for the international community to stand by its side, the fearless people of Bilin will be out again this Friday. Ready to sacrifice their blood and their souls for something very simple -- just to have returned what has, and always will rightfully be theirs."

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