- “Water, Please!!” screamed Sheikh Buddha feebly.
- “Shut up, dirty pig! Not before breakfast!” roared the jailor who was tapping up and down the corridor behind the massive iron door.
It was stifling hot and I was sweating all over in that oven of a cell. The cell was rectangular, too narrow to enclose the three of us; Kifah, myself, and a religious colleague who had a soft lean beard, but who looked like a Buddhist monk after they had shaved his hair and beard, the day after they had brought him in. He became ugly and comic at the same time, so I started to call him “Sheikh Buddha”, which irritated him a lot, but I didn’t stop.
By the door, there was what can be called a “toilet”, and it was a big deal when one of us was obliged to do it. At first we turned our faces away until the other finished, but later Kifah gave up half of his rug and we managed to put it as a curtain. I started to wonder how our primitive ancestors used to do it and whether or not it was shameful or forbidden to do it in front of each other, or whether it was civilization that solved the matter centuries later!!! There was no use in asking myself such a silly question, but I was lucky to sleep beside the door to catch some fresh breeze. I was the shortest, so I was chosen to sleep there, wedged between the door and the so-called toilet. I was happy to be the closest to the “outside-world” but I was more than happy to be as far as I could from “Sheikh Buddha”. Puh! What a sluggish ghost! I hated him to death specially when I had to be left alone with him when they took Kifah for interrogation.
Still there was a long time for Kifah to come; they did not bring him before dawn and it was still around mid-night. Buddha was snoring heavily after getting tired of asking for water.
‘Silence.. the killing silence save the snoring Buddha… Oh! How can I sleep? They will not bring him before dawn!!’.
It had been over a week since they started the new round with Kifah; a soldier or two came at evening to take him there until early morning. They brought him back at the time of the dawn prayer-call or a little bit after, as he dragged himself leaning against the wall, to tell us a few words of his night, before slumbering asleep as he sat there.
I didn’t pay attention this time, as they opened the massive door, two Zionist jailors as they came, pulling Kifah between them. One cracked the door open noisily, and the other pushed him roughly inside as he stumbled, falling on his face on the harsh floor. It was useless to try and stop his falling body with my hands. They closed the door and withdrew silently without uttering a word.
I drew him towards me and leaned his sagging body against the wall; he was fading fast and a shade of death swept over his childish face. He couldn’t open his eyes, and his head sagged over his chest like a slaughtered goat. His hair was soaking wet and he was trembling like a little bird in a stormy evening. I am sure he lost consciousness several times, his coma was heavy, even though they had flooded him with water.
They had brought him earlier than normal that night, there was still a long time to pass before the dawn prayer-call. He was unconscious when they brought him this time, it was obviously useless for them to continue to interrogate a half-dead body.
Death has the smell of burnt dust, it has the taste of a thorn stuck into your throat. You can smell it before it comes; you feel it brooding heavily on your chest, around your neck, as it suffocates you till you stop breathing, compressing you more and more till you see the whole world as a hazy shadow fading slowly pulling you suddenly into a bottomless well …
Suddenly, he started jerking his faint body. I looked at him foolishly, then tried to support his dangling head, but he started foaming out of his suffocated throat, beating the bare floor with his hands, while his legs shuddered stiffly. I tried to stop his hands, but they were waving hellishly with a satanic power, cracking strongly against the floor and the wall, sweeping everything before them like a crazy wind-mill. With open eye-sockets, like a foolish dumb, I realised he was dying, tearing his soul apart with the flying foam out of his gashed mouth. I was horrified, looking at him stupidly, and found myself knocking at the door, madly crying:
- “He’s dying.. bastards!! What did you do to him!! He’s dying!!”
I didn’t even know if I heard the hoarse voice coming from the corridor:
“Shut up you, dirty pig, or I will come and smash your head!!!”
I don’t know, I don’t know, even now I am not sure, I was only sure of my own screams spitting out my throat. I heard nothing but my hysteric crying, deafening my own ears: -
“He’s dying.. scoundrels.. he’s dying!!” while scratching the massive door with my nails.
I felt the door collapse, the cell topple, the heavy stones falling, accumulating over my head, piling ponderously on my chest, crushing my bones, dumping my face..
- ‘Air!.. air!..’ I needed nothing but fresh air to free my chest, a gap to break through, a hole to open out in front of me..
Suddenly, the narrow hole in the massive door opened to show a sullen face of a Zionist jailor spitting in my face:
- “Shut up, son of the bitch !!” and shut it again.
I raised my hand to wipe off the spit on my face, I felt frustrated, weakness and exhaustion crept into my knees up to my soul, I felt utterly lost and helpless. A queer feeling swept me, to demolish the cell, to smash the whole jail with my bare hands, with my nails, but I started to cry out again, a crying that was more like weeping than shouting:
- “he’s dying… don’t you see… he’s dying !!!”
I looked back to Kifah, he was quiet now but still his legs were trembling feebly while his face crumbled as his eyes rolled slowly. He lifted his head heavily to look at me strangely with a primitive horror, raising his hand slowly, extending it to me, as if of a humble beggar asking for charity. His face contoured and his lips trembled as if he was trying to say something to me, a deep sense of horrifying query came out of his eyes that opened widely, the black shade of death covered his childish forehead, but finally, like a hissing of a snake, he mumbled a strange word. Was it the carnation of death or the terminal question of life? I don’t know.. I don’t know, but he frowned swiftly and his hand fell down like a stone and his eyelids stuck to his sockets to lose all the meanings of life, then his head rolled over his chest like a butchered sheep. I stood looking at him foolishly horrified, not able to free my soul from his begging look until I heard Sheikh Buddha murmuring while spreading his hands towards the sky:
- “ Oh, Almighty God!!, destroy the Zionists and all who support them !!!”
Almighty God! Oh merciful God! Who’s that god you extend your hands to Sheikh Buddha? Can he hear you? Does he see? … God forgive! Oh Great God of the celestial throne, where are you now??’
I looked up into the extensive sky were the Sheikh was extending his hands, but I saw nothing, nothing at all but the endless roof of the cell opening into a narrow armoured hole. I dazed into the roof, dived into the endless extension, the roof disappeared, I got into the clouds, and crossed the seven skies. I opened my eyes widely, inhaled the humid celestial air until it washed my soul. I saw God finally, by Jove I saw Him; I saw Him, I begged Him, I kissed His feet wetting them with my tears but he didn’t pay attention to me. He was standing as if delivering a speech, frowning, foaming as he shouted, waiving His hands angrily, knocking on a table before Him; was He protesting the lost world or threatening a harsh punishment??? I tried to catch a word of His speech, Oh God, just one word!, but I couldn’t, it was all but a silent god.
Silence, utter silence!! Why all this brooding silence! Was I deafened? No…no, I cant believe it!!! THE WORD OF GOD, has to boom like a thunder strike in this lost world! Why? Why this silent protest? To whom is God speaking? Isn’t there any listener? I looked towards where God was directing his speech expecting to find the endless crowds of an audience. I expected to see the face of Kifah there, looking directly into the eyes of God, demanding him to revenge!! I turned my head nervously to see the crowd but I was astonished to see nobody, nothing at all but the endless extension of the desert. Oh, no!!! To whom God is speaking, casting his word? I wondered who echoed the Word? No, not the desert… no… never!!!
- “There’s no god but Allah!!… Oh revengeful Allah!!” I was startled to hear that hoarse voice and turned my head to see Sheikh Buddha still muttering his prayers. I looked around the cell… Damn it, where is Kifah? Did he ascent to heaven? I can’t believe it!! I jumped standing and looked at Buddha wondering:
-“ Where’s Kifah, Sheikh?”
-“ They took him back.”
-“ How? When?”
-“ Half an hour ago, you were asleep.”
“Shit!!”… I mumbled and looked up at the hole in the ceiling but it was futile to guess the time. It was very dark, but I bet it was dawn or a bit before that.
I was sure they would start their dirty game soon, they would not wait until the morning; they would take one of us for interrogation, to fabricate the usual story of suicide, or they might accuse one of us of killing him for collaborating. They would wash their hands perfectly and spread them to dry up from the blood of Kifah. Bastards!! Surely they are scheming their plot now but whose turn will be the next?
Kifah died, killed, nothing remained from him but his memory. He used to lean his thin lean body against the wall and talk for long hours without stopping. A childish simple talk. Sometimes he irritated me with his consecutive questioning, those naïve questions about interrogation; how long would it last? When we will get out? What shall we do?… He thought that I was a big store of answers, and that I knew all that he didn’t. He used to end his questions and wait a little, looking at me: “Ha!… what do you think?… surely you know…. You have been into jail several times and have a long experience….” … Oh! What can I tell you, Kifah? How can I answer you? Is there a law for their eccentric behavior? No, no… there has never been a law but it is absolute nonsense, utter tyranny!! You, yourself told me once that your life is the chaos of mere haphazard chances, those crazy chaotic chances of being shuffled, plucked out of your place to be thrown in the middle of nowhere!! Is there a law for chance? Can you predict the grand lottery?
He didn’t wait for long. The sound of feet came stamping on the floor, getting closer every further step to stop finally by the stubborn door. The sound of the keys and the chain clanged ominously. A short jailer opened the door. I got ready to stand, I felt that my real battle had started, every thing is over now, nothing remained but bare confrontation. I will face them with my teeth, and spit in their faces. I stood up on my feet but the jailer overtook me saying: “No not you”, then headed toward Buddha who stood up sluggishly. He handcuffed him and dragged him out by his shirt and closed the door.
The stamping feet went away slowly. I heard Buddha’s feet rapping at the floor confusedly. The sound perishes to die out finally. Silence enfolds me to wait the ghost of the unknown. I dazed at the wall which looked like a great giant spreading his hands to block my way, my vision.
Waiting ! Waiting, Oh!… I don’t know why it came to me to remember a phrase that was written by hand on a table in on one of the city restaurants. I read it while I was waiting for Sonia one evening… (the best things come to those who wait.) ..the phrase was written neatly. It seemed that whoever had written the note had waited a long time before his girl finally came, so he must have written it slowly while expecting her to come. I laughed and felt the hot tears washing my soul. Waiting? Shucks! A wait in which you die every minute for a big warm hug, to throw your head on the velvet shoulders smelling the sweet scent of the swelling bosom.
What a vanity! When would the stab come? How would they thrust it into your stomach??? Sheikh Buddha wouldn’t endure for long, and if he did, they would not leave him alone, they would tear his soul apart until he bought into their game. He would not be able to stand it. I knew him as I know the palm of my own hand, I knew how to read his face and soul perfectly over the last three months. When we decided to start the hunger strike, he agreed at first, but then retreated quickly as if stung by a snake, as if receiving his revelation suddenly. He said the hunger strike is forbidden, it is a slow suicide, and who dies will be thrown into hell on his face!
Did I wait for a long time? I don’t know, but I think they brought him back after four or five hours scratching the floor noisily with his shoes. He sat murmuring his prayers. I asked him no question but I left him to have a rest as I watched him. Surely he knew that I was longing to hear his report. He kept silent for a long time. Never mind! I will wait until he finishes his silent prayers. I am not going to start talking but will let him take his time. After a while, he turned his head slowly to look directly at me; I knew he wanted to torture me by that sullen look, he wanted me to ask, but I will not. He looked at me stubbornly for a long time but finally, he said hesitatingly, as if he was tearing the words out of his lips:
-“They….announced… that… he committed suicide.”
-“They…. forced.. me … to hear the radio news.”
-“It …said… that…. a prisoner committed suicide in Jnaid jail.”
-“Damn it ! So fast !!” I said helplessly.
-“ It said also that the authorities formed an investigation committee.”
-“The bastards! How come?”
Buddha said nothing but kept looking at me with his rheumy, scared, weak eyes. ‘What is there behind your languid eyes, Sheikh?’ I thought to myself. ‘What is behind those lashes my dear!! Thousands of questions are already hidden behind those stupid prayers… you are not going to betray me.. their deception was pretty enough to kill us all, don’t crush me more by your wondering look of an old fox!!!’ I can’t stand waiting.. it always killed me to wait !!
-“So???” I asked loathingly. I wanted to discover more of the inside space of his mind, to see where I fitted inside it exactly. Then, as if he was forced to confess, finally after an exhausting long round he said crest-fallenly:
-“They… want…. us…. to co-operate with the committee.”
Again, the Sheikh didn’t reply but kept gazing at me, entreating, his eyes glistening with childish tears, until he buried his face in his hands and burst into sobs. Through his sobbing, he murmured poignant cries: -“What sin did I do to deserve all of this??? What in heaven can I do?… I… want to… get out of here… I… did nothing to be here…”, and again he broke out with hysterical wails.
I interrupted him – and shouted in anguish in his face:
-“Your sin? What do I do then? What did Kifah do? You coward, for hell’s sake!!”
I felt crushed, I was so miserable, yet burning with internal rage. I felt my heart bleeding, sad to death. I didn’t want to be harsh with Buddha. By Jove, I didn’t want to be any more sadistic to him, but I was raging with fury at him, at myself and the whole world. The blood of Kifah hadn’t dried yet, and they were already bargaining over it. No, never!!… If killing the sheikh could solve the problem, I felt like I wouldn’t hesitate to wring his neck, but he was just like me, thrown here, in this cell, sucking up the dirt of the whole world, feeling the horror creeping into his neck, waking up every night with nightmares of ghosts, skeletons and cut-heads !!!
Time? What is the use of time? It felt like a giant crushing wheel rolling over you to smash your skull, suffocating you, drying your blood, with your chest getting narrower with every passing minute, your eyes rolling in their place until you even lose sense of your own head and your body becomes a useless sack of dirt.
The sheikh became quiet slowly, and stopped wailing as he lay on his face putting his head to the other side of the cell. Finally he was silent. He didn’t move for a long time, his face still buried in his hands. I thought he had fallen asleep, taking a rest for a while from his obsessive nightmares, but then he accosted me with a choked voice as if talking through a pipe, with his face still buried:
-“Be careful, you are their target.”
-“How did you know?” I asked loathingly.
-“I heard Izra saying: ‘that fucking big-mouthed atheist must be silenced.”
-“I don’t know… I am just warning you.”
-“Damn it… what more would they do?”
Does it matter to take care or not while being in the middle of a battle, Sheikh Buddha? What miserable fate is waiting for you when you jump to avoid a shell only to land on top of a mine? How can you retreat among those hellish tanks heading your way? No!… no dear.. caution has no meaning in the dictionary of the cells, there is only bare confrontation. Retreat means death, escape means suicide. You have to go ahead, always ahead until you get out of the mine-field, or you die, and there your dead body will rot.
A gloomy evening brooded as we sat mournfully silent. What are the scoundrels cooking on the fire of hell? What is their coming elusive step? My head ached dreadfully. Buddha was still flung on his face. The metallic sound of the keys and the chain came again clanging against the door, it sounded neutral this time; the sound of the broken rock rolling down a steep cliff, falling down to the dark bottom of dirt where sun never shines. The door was opened, the same short horrid faced jailor peeped pointing to the sheikh: “Get up!” The sheikh looked at him humbly for a while and shook himself to stand asking: “To interrogation?” The jailor replied him with a punch on his stomach shouting: “Shut up!”, and pulled him out.
The footsteps departed away fading. I felt my head getting hollow, the steps beating my head like clubbing a huge drum. The cell extended endlessly like a silent eternity, long hours passed like ages. Oh! If only I could sleep. My eyes stiffened as I stared stubbornly nowhere. The sheikh would not come back, I felt that deep in my blood. He would get out tonight or tomorrow morning maximum, but after getting into their circle, they have nothing to keep against him. He entered the cell like a ponderous shadow reciting death prayers. He came seven months after we got arrested to occupy the dark corner and spread his hands praying like a Buddhist monk facing the sun. He seldom talked but to his god in foolish prayers. Did God respond him? I don’t know… I don’t know but he got out now. He went like a silent shadow dragging himself in strange stillness.
I still remember when they brought him for the first time, three months ago; it was a sad evening just like this evening. I felt frustration in my blood, it was after our trial as we returned crushed not able to stand up. The whole world got dark in my eyes and I walked blindly back from the court. Before the trail the attorney told us encouragingly: ” Don’t worry… they have nothing against you … Surely you will be released today.”
We were five students in that trial. We were arrested in the same period of the last wave of demonstrations, last October. They drew us to the court like a small cattle of goats. I was sure that we were to be released that day, they had nothing against us, or at least I was sure of Kifah and myself. The interrogation was absurd all the time, aiming at nothing but to continue and may be forever. They were shouting, cursing, clubbing and battering us. They exposed us to all kinds of calamities for nothing, but to satisfy their animalistic instinct. What a futility! Two weeks of continuous interrogation about my role in the collage’s club. I told them that I was not a member of it, I had never been a member of it.
- ” Shut up your mouth…You initiated it.” One of them said furiously.
-” I was one of the group that established it but I was never a candidate nor a member… and all the activities are academic and you know that perfectly.”
- ” You fucking bitch! … you want to teach us our work?”
The interrogation went on futilely with no result. If they were so furious about the club, why didn’t they arrest anyone from its members? Just one to prove how stupid they are. “An underground leadership?” What a vanity! What for? For developing nuclear weapons? The hell, what a stupid claim! I am sure they arrested us purely for personal reasons, just to beak our vigor, our dignity, to damage our sense of revolt. They wanted to drag us along with their trail of tyranny. It is forbidden to talk, to breathe: “Who are your roommates? … What are their political opinions? When do you go to cinema… Whom do you meet there?… Questions …questions, an overwhelming flood of questions that you can’t face. Barbarous shouting, nasty curses as if you were in a bazaar of beasts, animals, slaves and mobs. Delicious “meals” of beating and clubbing with every question or curse. You lose conscience everyday, you die a thousands times a day. What a futile circle! What a hopeless hell!
‘Oh Sonia! What an absurdity you would feel when you know how much I suffered for you! I can’t believe, I don’t believe how can they bear all that burning rage. Why, in heaven, you personally? You are completely out of the game but they wanted to drag you inside to quench their thirst for brutality, for humiliation. You, the white rose, why in Satan did they want to distort you? Why all that madness?
Since the first week they are digging up my head with their nails for your memory, to get you out into their crazy world of heavy clubs and shouting. On the fourth day, I still remember, exactly on the fourth day, they took me out of the cell to one of their equipped interrogation rooms. The chief officer was sitting behind his disk with two of his escorts or subordinate interrogators. He looked at me searchingly, his red face of a Russian drunkard gleamed strangely. I was still standing handcuffed by the door. He gazed at me more than I expected. What a stupid naive I was, I was so foolish to think that he might untie my hands benevolently and release me, but his eyes flushed with a furious lust as he sucked his filthy lips:
-“What is your relation to Sonia?”, his question thundered in my head. Why Sonia? I had never imagined their dirty mind would bring her in. I thought a thousands times in the hectic rolling of time not to reply to him, to keep silent like a dead stone, but finally I said:
-“She’s just a colleague.”
-“A f–ken liar!” said one of his escorts, and pushed me down into a chair. The chief interrogator didn’t pay attention to him, but stood up and stepped towards me brazenly and initiated another question, as he opened his cadaverous mouth:
-“How many times did you fuck her?”
-“Please have respect to your title.” I said trying to collect my courage, but he anticipated me with a bunch in my face and I fell back tied to the chair.
-” Reply to my question, you son of a bitch!”
‘Oh, Merciful God, help me!! How can I reply to that rotten filth? How can I dive into that pool of shit they are dragging me into? Shall I say she is the dearest thing in my life, and they don’t deserve even to utter her name, they distort her name when it comes out of their stained mouths. But Oh Sonia, I will never let them drag you in even if I am hanged’.
-“I respect her as a dear sister.” I said while still flung on my back.
-“Shut up, you fucking atheist!! Don’t you know what respect is?” bowled the chief interrogator madly at me, kicking at my waist. I couldn’t stand the strength of his kick, I felt blood boiling in my head, he kicked again and again, as the room swayed in my eyes, I couldn’t bend, I couldn’t move as my hands were crushed back under the chair… I don’t know what happened next, until I woke up again to find myself flooded with water, shivering, as they still looked down at me, laughing, and one of them unzipped his trousers and urinated in my face… as still the laughing carried on..
-“This is the kind of respect you deserve… dirty pig” said the chief officer as he frowned again and added “We will teach you how to reply your masters … we will tear your soul apart while you look.”
Then he returned to his desk and brought a club as his mates jumped to parade as one of them asked while frowning at me: “another party?”
The chief smiled as he waved the club..
-“How many times did she sleep in your dorm? How many girls did you fuck?” The overwhelming flow of questions flooded again but I was too weak to reply at the time, I already had taken my final decision of eternal silence, of a freewill dumb- I would never open my mouth as long as the interrogation is leading to that swamp of dirt.
Oh my vanity! What obscenity comes out of that mud of dirty mouths!!! Silence… Silence!! What an absurd weapon to face a filthy bastard!! A final resort to face that deadly plague! What filthy mouths like those of stained hungry wolves snatching at a rotten cadaver! Where did they learn all those shameless curses? Where did they suck up all that dirt? Oh Almighty God, I will not endure dying a thousand times, I cannot stand their hell twice!!!
Six days of continuous interrogation, about what? Only about you Sonia. I lost conscious hundreds times, the blood bruised hot out of my head, cold out of my limbs. I saw God and the Messengers, I saw death. Why? It is just for you Sonia. I started to disbelieve you, in God and the Holy Books. Why? What does it matter for them? I will sleep with all the women of the world. I will make my eternal bed of their bodies. I will suck all the taverns to death. Is there any law that forbids you to die drunk, to commit suicide on the velvet body of your love, of your wife? No, no law will ever prevent you from opening your eyes. No… Future will ever be so gloomy.
We were five students. Absurdity… nonsense; (where do you sleep? What do you eat? Have you tried Buvaille wine?… What is your accumulative average? Why did you got out with the demonstration? … Do you support …? Why do you oppose to..???… I told you a million times I will not change my blood. I can’t ! I will not replace my skin. The attorney says: “They have nothing against you … you will get out today … I am sure.” Absurd abracadabra! What an attorney is he? A slave trader? A judge? A vegetable peddler! Vanity! What did you say?? Auh! I will never change my belief.
We were standing in the courtroom like orphans in a slave market. By Jove! I heard the shouting of the vegetable peddlers coming out from very far; sweet melon! fresh cucumber! Potato … come along … who outbids takes it! Fifteen! Now !! Over !… I didn’t pay attention when the judges asked us: “Do you have some thing to add?” What? Cucumber! Tomato! Oh! It was hard for me to keep balance. I did a great effort to regain my awareness. The judge looked at me strangely, as if at a lunatic mad. His prudent look had a paternal brilliance that forces you to respect him like a reverent saint. Saint? Peddler? Cucumber! The hell!! What shall I say? I will not keep silent. A little murmur went throughout the whole. Kifah tapped my shoulder encouragingly. I stepped two short strides and collected my courage and said in a confident voice that seemed louder than I wanted it to be: “You sir judge … We all have a full trust and hope in your impartial justice … We ask for nothing but justice.” I felt a strange easiness as if I put a huge burden off my shoulders. I returned besides my colleagues. There were some students who came to support us but Sonia was shining over them all. She looked at me with her charming smile. Oh Sonia! Why did you come here today? I am dying, don’t kill me more. Don’t you see how I became now, a swaying shadow that can’t stand? My eyes filled with horror like a coward criminal. No…
The Judge! The hell. He stood up. He looked at us firmly, then looked throughout the whole searching as if he was looking for something. He knocked three harmonious times on the table before him. The whole court got utterly silent, all the eyes stared at him. I forgot myself looking at him foolishly. In his pose he looked like a Greek god casting his judgment over this lost world. He flitted some papers before him then looked straight ahead and started reciting his decision, like a trenchant sword that cut straight as a string of light: “after consulting the police reports and hearing the attorney proceedings…the court decided that there is no legal reason to continue detaining them … so we order to release them immediately … ” Kifah jumped kissing me even before the judge ended reciting his decision. I felt a sweeping happiness comes over me. I am free! Yes, for the first time in my life I feel so free. My soul flies highly in the sky.
Judge? Peddler? How come? A courtroom? A small room that is called a courtroom, even smaller than the well-equipped interrogation room, all Zionists around except us. The judge, soldiers, jailers, intelligence officers, and even interrogators, all in all in harmonious unity. Nobody at all was allowed to meet us, not even my mother who had waited since early morning, we were left to face the judge; a sullen faced judge, like a nazi killer, who was looking at us loathingly, talking to an intelligence officer who was holding a file beside him, as he smiled a pale smile then frowned as he looked back at us.
“Sir judge, they are guiltless,” said the attorney, “the Shabak have no charges against them… they have to be released.” The judge shook his head irritated, and flipped the papers before him. The attorney waited but the judge said nothing. He kept flipping the papers, when an officer, an intelligence one probably, aided him and handed him a paper from the file. The judge read it attentively and put it in the file again. He looked at us again in his sunken eyes, as if not seeing us really but through the intelligence file, then said: “Do you have something to add other than what the attorney said?”, and his sunken eyes blinked to show a cadaverous face, as if he was ill, weak, about to die. “No, nothing,” said Kifah “we ask for nothing.” Then the judge looked at the attorney saying: “But the report of the Shabak says other than what you say; They are dangerous to the public.” And without giving the attorney any chance to talk he added: “there are secret evidences that they might induce disorder and riot if released.” The attorney tried to interrupt: “but there’s no…” but the judge kept talking: “ they are to be detained administratively for three months to be renewed if needed,” and held the “secret” file and went out.
Free? What a vanity! Did they release us? Did they leave us? Absurd! A choppy sea of killing futility, crushing despair freezing our blood. They drew us hurriedly from the court room as if they wanted to smuggling a precious loot: ” It is just three months and will get out soon.” Said a jailor as they drew us out. But we didn’t get out, we were doomed to wait death, slow death. Hope! What meaningless, barren word! The world got utterly dark in our eyes, vanished like a departing fly in the storm. When evening came, we lost everything, the last trace of hope, the last sense of life, everything swayed in the hazy gloom of nothingness; the dumb walls of the cell, the sullen faces, the stubbornly brooding steel door, all in all became black like death. Screaming? Shouting? Shout if you wanted till you split yourself through, till your eyes get out of your skull.
Silence! Stillness! The silence of the gloomy tombs in the darkest night, we kept silence until it lost its meaning. We drank stillness in our blood till the walls, tombs and the dead bodies screamed; Death, Oh Merciful God, death, death… !!
Sami, the bedouin
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