O you with bloodshot eyes and bloody hands, Night is short-lived,
The detention room lasts not for ever, Nor yet the links of chains.
Nero died, Rome did not: With her very eyes she fights.
And seeds from a withered ear With wheat shall fill the valley.
Among the over 7000 Palestinian prisoners/detainees held captive in Zionist dungeons, there is a group of 43 prisoners, which grows with every passing month, of very courageous and patient prisoners. These prisoners, called the “Deans of Prisoners”, have been locked up behind bars for over 20 years! Among the 43 “Deans of Prisoners”, 30 have been imprisoned prior to signing the Oslo Accord in May 1994, and who were supposed to be released, but Israel as always never abides to any agreements or promises. Among these, there are 21 prisoners who have spent over 25 years in Israeli captivity. These are truly the “Generals of Patience”, while 9 prisoners who have spent over 30 years in captivity are termed the “Icons of Prisoners”. These prisoners endure this long and harsh captivity because the love of Palestine is strong in their heart and because the belief in the justice of their cause is as strong as the first day of imprisonment. The Zionist torture couldn’t break them and the Zionist dungeons couldn’t break them. According to “Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum” signed on 04.09.1999, all Palestinian prisoners/detainees arrested by Israel prior to 04.05.1994 shall be released, nevertheless, again confirming the futility of negotiations with the Zionist entity, Israel refuses to release many of these detainees and they are often excluded from prisoner exchange deals. These dungeons are graves for the living, prisons spent more inside them than outside them. They were not only robbed of their freedom, but also of their lives; Some left their children as babies behind to talk to them behind glass bars as grown up men and women unable to hug them. They were deprived of seeing their children grow up, deprived of holding them, playing with them, taking them to school, talking to them, quarrelling with them, celebrating with them, crying with them. Some left their parents and siblings behind, their parents punished and their homes demolished. They were deprived of the morning talk with their mother, deprived of her coffee and taboun bread, deprived of her voice singing Mish’al and Dal’ona. They were deprived of working the land with their father, taking the first steps of the dabke with him, deprived of the evening walks with him among the olive trees. They weren’t allowed to attend their children’s wedding, nor their parent’s funerals. They were neither allowed to share the joy nor give comfort and words of consolation. Some aren’t allowed to see their families, others aren’t allowed to see anyone. And some left the darkness of these Zionist dungeons to lie in the darkness of the graves. They were deprived of the sunrise over Jerusalem, the blossom of the Hannoun on the hills of Hebron, lying under the sun on the meadows in Jenin, playing with sand of the Mediterranean, watching the sunset over Nablus. They were deprived of their mother Palestine. The jailor tried to break their spirits, strangle them within the walls of the captivity, but instead Palestinian prisoners stood as one, united, again and again, and fought fierce battles for their freedom, for their dignity. With their mass hunger strike for freedom and dignity, they are breaking the walls of captivity and are marching towards freedom. These prisoners are not just figures in a list, they are not just statistics to be added to reports. They are heroes, they are freedom fighters. We will never do them justice, will never be able to thank them enough for their sacrifice, but the least we could do is remember their names, know a little bit about their lives, where they come from, what their hopes were and what their wishes for the future are. We should remember their suffering and tell them every day that there will never be freedom for Palestine without the freedom of all Palestinian prisoners/detainees. And to their parents I say: your children are not forgotten. They are in our hearts and minds for they are our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and comrades. Continue reading