A bitter memory of a child
(Revised article, first written January 2, 2000)
by Ibrahim Ebeid
February, 25, 2013
We were living peacefully in our towns and villages until the Zionist entity was created in our land and we were brutally evicted from our homes to make room for the colonialist racist settlers. Thousands of our people were murdered and hundreds of our villages were demolished. Those foreigners now are living in our homes, on our farms, towns and cities, and we are refugees scattered around the world. Millions of us are living in miserable camps waiting patiently for the conscience of the world to wake up, so they can return to their homeland, Palestine.
When I was eleven years old, living in Jaffa, I witnessed few Zionist terrorist acts that I have never been able to forget. They dwell in my mind and never depart; they have become part of my experience of the Palestine tragedy, till now I am filled with hate, discontent and rage against the Western powers that created our tragedy.
Once I was with few kids from my school, Jaffa Terra Santa School, we were fooling around and decided to skip classes, our favorite hideout was the busy and crowded vegetable market in Jaffa. That day, when we were mingling in the crowd of buyers and vendors, a pushcart exploded, the explosion was very powerful, few people were killed and scores were wounded, some so seriously that later on died from the severe wounds inflicted upon them.
Another instance that I have experienced with my family when the Zionists gangs tried to blow up the “The Barracks”, a large building, used to house some British Police Officers in Jaffa, located in Al Ajami section, few meters behind our house, the Zionists dressed like Bedouin Arabs were driving a caravan of camels loaded with bombs under vegetables, they stopped in an empty lot right behind our house,the bombs exploded, the camels were killed and their parts were strewn all over and the Barrack was damaged. Our house was cracked right from the corner, from the roof to the foundation, the ground was shaking under us and the sound of the explosion was very deafening to the ears, as children, we were very terrified and my parents were very worried and afraid, at the same time they were trying to calm us down.. Luckily we were not hurt and I wonder if anybody else was killed or seriously injured from the bombing, I do not remember.
Fouad Kobti, a kid from my school, living in my neighborhood, was shot in the chest by Zionist gangs but he survived, he was very proud to carry the mark of the wound left by the bullet that penetrated his chest and exited from the back, he used to show it to us and to others.
Palm Sunday 1948, the worshippers were praying in a procession around St. Anthony Roman Catholic Church when Zionist mortar bombs stared to fall all around the churchyard and Terra Santa School, the Prayers were disrupted and the people were panicking.
Once a bullet pierced our wooden door and struck against the wall missing my father’s head by one inch, he was lucky and we were lucky also to have him survive, we were sleeping on mattresses on the floor for safety instead on raised beds, this what saved my father.
Omar ibin al Farran (Omar the son of the baker) was about fifteen years old and used to assist his father in the community bakery where we used to bake our bread, like any other child of his age, he had his hopes and dreams, but alas his dreams and hopes were not fulfilled, the bakery was blown up by Zionist gangs’ artillery fire on the residential area where the bakery was located, his life was cut short and his body was torn apart into many pieces. Young Omar was gone and we were not able to see him anymore nor were we able to carry the dough to the bakery to bake bread. Omar and the bakery were gone and Jaffa too.On May 1948, my family was forced to leave Jaffa, and left the beautiful orange grove of the Jallad family behind to settle in our village Birzeit, in one room apartment that we used to spend few days every summer.
Summer 1948. Thousands of refugees, mostly women, children and elderly, hungry, thirsty and overwhelmed with panic and fear were filling the highway from Lyddah to Birzeit. I joined scores of people from the village to help them. We offer them water and food. Thousands settled in caves and under olive trees. They made hasty shelters from rags and bushes to protect them from heat and to give them some sort of privacy.
Winter 1948 was bitter cold, a big snow storm took place, snow was about one meter high, this was unusual and this was the first time I have ever seen snow. Most of those refugees, who have never seen snow before, found themselves under a heavy blanket of that cold stuff that made them desperate and fearful for their lives away from the warmth of their homes.
Birzeit with a population that did not exceed the two thousands swelled to fourteen thousand or more. Seeing this human tragedy befalling their brethren and the tragedy widened, the people of Birzeit opened their homes, schools, churches and mosques to shelter the victims of Zionism and Western imperialist which helped create this catastrophe.
Schools were closed and the situation was unbearable and everyone felt pain and despair. Fear was very dominant and overwhelming.
The hope of the refugees for immediate return to their homes was shattered and they were forced to live in permanent camps which lacked running water and other basic facilities.
Years later the refugees started building their dwellings with tin, mud, and stones collected from the surrounding areas. The descendants of these refugees are still living in these miserable conditions impatiently waiting for the conscience of the World to wake up and implement the resolution of return passed by the United Nations. But there is no justice……The Arab people of Palestine know the answer.