I started my day this morning seeing my father’s garage in the photos on Facebook in one of the pages that bring about the news of the neighborhood.
Of course, there was no surprise. We live in a situation where we wake up to news of close people jailed or injured or killed. Demolitions are just another daily practice of an occupation.
I found myself calling my father, and I just wanted to know that he was okay. He has been battling against the demolition order for years now, firmly believing that they cannot demolish it, for two simple reasons, that he bought this land more than thirty years ago with the two rooms with no cement ceiling there , and he was using it more as his office to receive the taxi drivers and fix his cars . And he insists: ” I WILL NEVER DEMOLISH MY PROPERTY WITH MY HAND < LET THEM COME AND DO IT .” But according to the municipality, this is a land that stands inside a plan for the neighborhood after 12 years that will include a recreational area. Of course, we live in a municipality that decides to do whatever it wants whenever it wants to us. And of course, we should not resist “recreational” areas!
Anyway, he was fighting this in courts for years, and he finally got a freezing order to the demolition two months ago. And of course, when you live under military occupation, you don’t expect that there is a law that serves you. Despite the illegality of the demolition that took place at 5 in the morning, there is not much to do, because this system protects its persecutors.
I went to check on my father; his voice was strong but bitter. After all, my dad is not young anymore. He is entering his 7th decade in a few years, and he cannot handle such stress the way he did decades before.
I always think that he never recovered from the previous demolition of our unfinished five story building 15 years ago. He never went to see it, until he decided to rebuild it a few years ago . of course after finishing all the licensing procedures that remain endless.
We agreed that we go together to check what happened. I just thought that it is best that we all accompany my father there. We were trying to make it look as healthy as possible. It was not.
A place that did not resemble much to my sisters or me. We also thought it did not matter much to my father . from a distance it appeared as if they have done the demolition with some civilized order. Furniture, papers, office, drawers, …..were all piled in what seemed like order outside. My father disappeared amid the piles of papers, and it seemed that he suddenly remembered that he asked his assistant yesterday to keep the car key in there. I was thinking to myself, for god’s sake how can we find a car key amid this rubble and black plastic bags of thrown items. He just remembered things one after the other, and I am so definite it was just a miracle that made him find that key . or maybe it is a first system he has organized with his assistants in the series of years, and luckily the guy left the key in one of the drawers. But it looked as if my father’s flow of memories to details started surfacing; he was looking for my grandfather’s photo. He panicked when he remembered the picture, but he kept looking for things calmly. “ I need to find your grandfather’s picture” he insisted. Lots of papers, invoices. I am not sure how important or not they were. But they meant many things to him.
I was looking at him, and my heart was burning with pain. It is amazing how emotional people are about their stuff . each one has his package of memories that no one should undermine. He went to his plants, to the water outlet, to some strange items that never occurred to me ever existed. Apparently, that place was not just a garage of junk pieces of cars. It was his sanctuary. It was the place where he spent his whole day. A place where he met his friends, his acquaintances, and it occurred to me that yes, it has been a place that he has been working in for the last almost two decades.
I just could not but minimize the tragedy of loss. It is not about the material loss. About a gang of armed soldiers and uniforms invading your paces and destroying it. It is about that internal destruction they try to make to the soul. It is that kind of loss. And then, in comparison, how can I compare such loss to people who lose their homes this way. Children are standing on rubbles of what used to be their bedrooms. Mothers and wives are watching with tears the memory of years under the debris. Men are losing the sense of security. Humiliated by leaving a family without a roof to cover in the upcoming night.
It was a kind of a relieving condolences to say; this is the price of living under occupation. What do we expect? It is a system that is designed to destroy anything that has to d with us being alive. demolishion is just another ugly face of this fascist occupation.