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The Face of Brian Avery and other reports.....


The Face of Brian Avery and other reports.....

1) The Face of Brian Avery _ Neesha 2) Nablus to Tel-Aviv _ Neta Golan 3) Update on Nael Suwady _ Huwaida

The Face of Brian Avery

On April 5th, 2003, Brian Avery's life changed forever.

An Israeli sniper fired his machine gun through Brian's face

And pulverized it beyond recognition.

The Apartheid Wall, the Roadmap to Peace - I never really understood it all -

Till I saw the scars on Brian's face.

Till I saw the brutality, injustice and hypocrisy of the Occupation -

Quilted into the stitches on his cheeks.

Every line, every ridge -

Is a story of courage, of struggle, of grief beyond description;

And his eyes are pools of hope.

The lines on our palms may tell our fortune,

But the lines on Brian's face tell the tale of brutal oppression:

This scar on his chin...is the humiliation of a Palestinian man at a West Bank checkpoint, stripped and searched for hours.

This scar on his forehead... is a pregnant woman who couldn't make it to the clinic in time.

This one on the left cheek... is the Israeli soldier who couldn't bear to kill innocent children anymore, so he killed himself.

This one on his temple... is a suicide bomber from Gaza whose existence was so painful that he blew himself up in a bus filled with Israelis.

This one on his lip... is a five-year-old Palestinian girl whose home was demolished by a Caterpillar bulldozer.

Her father and brother were shot. She hasn't said a word since then.

On April 5th, 2003, Brian Avery's life changed forever.

He was wearing a fluorescent red vest, with a big white cross on the front and the back.

He carried no weapon,

He even put his hands up in the air!

The press said it was an 'unfortunate accident.'

But Tom Hurndall is brain dead; Rachel Corrie and James Miller paid with their lives -

So it was no accident that Brian lay in critical condition in Jenin Hospital.

We may never understand the trials of those in Palestine,

We may never risk our own lives to take pregnant women to a clinic, under the watch of snipers and tanks,

But we know in our hearts that the brutal attack on Brian was no accident.

In the face of an illegal occupation, Brian chose to step in harm's way:

He protected those who didn't have a choice.

In this scar near the ridge of his nose... is the untold story of a grateful people

They have nothing to give him but rivers of tears.

They run their fingers gently down the scars on his face;

They hold him in their arms and rock back-and-forth;

They try to speak but their words choke in their throats -

They love him like a brother.

I know this because it is etched into the most beautiful face on earth

I've seen with my own eyes... the face of Brian Avery.

- Neesha Mirchandani

June 20, 2003

For those able to help with Brian's astronomical medical bills, please send tax-deductible donations to:

THE BRIAN AVERY MEDICAL FUND

c/o Wells Fargo Bank NM

7530 Montgomery NE

Albuquerque, NM 87109

Neesha Mirchandani

NIYA

Email: info@niya.org

http://www.niya.org

========================================

Nablus to Tel Aviv Neta Golan June 24, 2003

My father passed away last week.

I took Nawal my two month old daughter and attempted to go to Telaviv to attend the funeral and grieve with my family. Nablus, the city I live in was besieged and completely sealed off. This has been the case for most of the last two years. Israeli soldiers threatened to shoot anyone approaching the checkpoint. I had a letter from the hospital regarding a checkup that Nawal needed to do in Ramallah so we arrived at the Hawara check point in an ambulance. The ambulance stopped at the designated place. The soldiers did not shoot, thank god but they also did not approach us. After about half an hour the driver decided to try to speak to them. He stepped out of the ambulance. Guns were pointed in his direction. He stepped back in. All we could do was wait.All the while settler buses headed for the settlements that surround Nablus whisked past unchecked. Swallowing my outrage I thanked god that my baby was not suffering , that no one in the ambulance was in critical condition. The soldiers had no way of knowing that. But had they known it is likely it would have made no difference.

A year ago I was accompanying an ambulance through a checkpoint in Jenin. A young man with a bullet in his head was sprawled at the back of the ambulance, a doctor was pushing air into his lungs with a manual respirator. Isat next to the driver and said nothing while we waited and watched the patient's condition deteriorate. I know that being confrontational with soldiers can often aggravate a situation. I could not risk that happening. I calmed myself and waited for an opening. I offered the solider a cigarette. He accepted. I gave him another one for the other soldier, and then I ventured:

-"Is it really necessary that we wait so long? This guy is dying." The soldier looked embarrassed -"we have to make sure he is not wanted " -" If you find out he's wanted you can come and pick him up from the hospital. He's not going to run away. He has a bullet in his head." -"I'll see what I can do."

That day we spent on hour and a half at the checkpoint. Time that assured that the young man's brain damage was irreversible. The soldier, a young man himself, was just doing his job. On the day of my father's funeral we were "only" delayed for an hour. It was the third time Nawal made this journey since her birth. Despite the risk involved in getting in and out I came often because I knew my father was dying. I needed him to see his first grand child, to tell him I loved him, to say good by. After the funeral we spent a week with our Israeli family.

My husband who is Palestinian is forbidden to enter Israel\ Palestine that was occupied in 1948. It was hard that he could not be with me. But I knew that I was privileged to be able to grieve with my family. I kept thinking of my friend Amal, one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. With huge hazel eyes and dark black hair. Her family was forced to leave Palestine for Jordan before she was born. Her husband, Abed, is from the west bank. They have two beautiful children. If she leaves the west bank to see her family in Jordan, she will not be allowed back. Her parents have only seen their grandchildren in pictures. Her father was old and Ill and she could not see him. He died and she could not be at his burial or comfort her mother.Today she refuses to accept that her father is dead. It is not death that she can't deal with. For people living under occupation must live with death every day. It is that fact that she was forced to choose her husband and children over her parents that she can not live with. Her hair has suddenly began going white.

The policy of denying spouses of Palestinians residency is one of the many forms that ethnic cleansing takes here. It is a policy as old as the state of Israel but Sharon takes special pride in it. In his election campaign he boasted that he had stopped Palestinians from entering Israel (greater) by stopping family reunification completely. Amal will never see her father again. Many thousands of Palestinians share her fate.

Back home in Nablus Nawal and myself came back to our family and to the routine of waking up every night from the explosion of homes being destroyed or tanks thundering through the streets and shooting. In the meantime Nawal has learned to smile and when she smiles she shines like the sun. =========================

Update on Nael Suwady Huwaida Arraf June 24, 2003

Friends,

Thank you to all who have tried calling and writing on the behalf of Nael Suwady, the young man that was arrested at the Huwwara checkpoint last week while trying to go visit his deceased father in Nablus. Unfortunately I have been unable to get any kind of information on what happened to Nael and where he is. Human rights organizations claim that they cannot do anything because they need Nael's ID number in order to look for him. I don't have it. I call Nael's phone, but it's turned off. Nael's cousin says he still hasn't heard from him.

I wish this was an unusual occurance but the truth of the matter is, it's all too common. I just got a call from a friend a couple of hours ago asking if there was anything I could do to check up on his uncle, who they haven't heard from in 7 months. Sixteen-years old, Mohammed Ali AbdelWahab Shahrouri was taken from his home on November 23rd and his family hasn't heard from him since. He hasn't even been allowed one phone call. And though Mohammed's family knows that he is being held in the Telmond prison, they have been prevented from visiting him or even calling him.

There are approximately 10,000 Palestinians currently being held in Israeli prisons and military camps; over 1000 of these are being held in administrative detention, meaning they have not been charged with anything. Administrative detainees can be held for 6 months without ever being charged or without being told why they are being held. Prisoners are abused and often tortured (see: www.btselem.org ), not allowed access to friends or family and with difficulty even get to see a lawyer. This 6-month term is renewable indefinitely, and usually is.

Freedom Summer Palestine is one week away! Hundreds of people from all over the world will converge in Palestine for 6 weeks of actions aimed at highlighting and challenging the oppressive Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and lives, through coordinated popular direct-action.

ISM will be joining Palestinians throughout the West Bank and Gaza in paving roads, dismantling roadblocks, challenging checkpoints and tearing down the Apartheid Wall.


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