I wonder what is the most difficult thing, for them to forcefully come to your house and take it over?
Or , upon your return to your house, find it rubble and start to pick up what you preserved from your memories?
Or to wait year after year, day after day, for an approaching moment that chronicles their takeover of your house, and they take you out of it by force, no matter what you try: calm down or fight, because it is simply as the new colonizer said to (Mona) the daughter of the house owner: “If I don’t take it, someone else will.”
How right does this colonizer seem? How shameless is he? How realistic is he?
How much can a person fight to stay in his home?
Home …. our first and last source of safety.
The home in which we always escape after a difficult day, after hardship, after a trip, after work, after everything we do in our lives … we return to it to be safe.
What can a person live while threatened to be deported every day for years?
I cannot imagine the resilience of these families. I cannot think of the conversations that the children of these families have among themselves.
What are their plans? Where are they going? What memories will they take with them and what will they leave behind?
The huge Loquat tree always stopped me. This time I didn’t dare pick a fruit from it and woo myself victorious by having one. The smell of sewage (wastewater) that was released by the occupation soldiers since last night is lingering in the place. The Loquat fruit seems bitter in the midst of all this amount of anticipation and the scent spread through an exhausted air.
I look in front of me, and that house is waiting for the next hours of evacuation for the new colonizer to live in.
They don’t think of us as human beings. I wonder what they are thinking? But how naive it sounds, the idea ofmy question.
They do not think like us. They don’t see humanity as much as we do. We are nothing but “Goyims”. They are the distinctive ones. They are all-powerful and imperious.
And we’re just people who’ve lived here …live here, they don’t care.
They do not care about memories that began after the first moment of the first expulsion more than seventy years ago.
Those families that have built an existence out of “nothing” like those fumes that are sprinkled at them at night, as if the occupier wants to assure them: You will leave for nothing as you came from nothing, and we do not care about you. He who will be displaced for the first time will be dispersed again.
As if something inside me needs to live this nothingness as those who live it in this neighborhood, I ask myself how much bitterness I can bear. Is that a devoured gulp? How deep can this smell enter, into the depths of the breath. How long can it last. How much can they bear. This ugly truth … the contemptible … the bemired … How do we tolerate the burden of smells that attach to us and adhere to us in refusal to leave?
I found myself going to that place. To where that couch, and the fig tree and its neighbor, the Loquat tree, and that old man who owned one of the threatened- to be evacuated houses (Nabil al-Kurd).
That man, whose eyes you look at, and you see what it all means, tiredness from insisting on staying despite the occupation.
I try to dig up memories from his head, and I was amazed with him taking refuge in memories farther than my life, where my great-grandfather was. My great-grandfather and his father were neighbors, their livelihood converged before the occupation was born, and with the arrival of the occupier, life and livelihood dissipatedand people dispersed.
It was as if at that moment life had a meaning more important than that which was throwing its weight on the place amidst the smell of sewage on that old sofa.
And we went back for this moment …
The man repeats the story he lived from fifty years ago. Whether he is exhausted by fatigue or empowered bythat struggle that injects into him the strength of survival.
The determination to stay is the way his eyes are.
The state of his words, which he repeats with poise.
His terminology, which has become well used, to cry out in the face of injustice that he lives every moment.
Maybe, as much as I smelled sewage for an hour, I don’t know, I could not bear the burden of its filth. It is as if filth penetrates all over the body, breaks into the breath, as if they want to assure us that this is the reality that we will make us drink like garbage.
We treat you like this smell that will stick to your breath if you do not leave …
The owner of the house is seated and does not care about the smell or the eyes of the colonialists lurking in the next door.
The scent of roses passes from his garden with a fleeting breath of air.
I remember that hope is not born out of nowhere.
This stench, which resulted from yesterday’s attacks on the people of the neighborhood and the supporters of the youth of the city, confirms the hatred and ugliness of the occupation. Like a snake that spewed its poison in the face of its victim and was not satisfied.
I go .. I take satisfaction with the dose from the scent that I cannot stand any more.
I feel suffocated
The smell is haunting me
Stuck to my clothes
And the man remains sitting on that couch
He tolerated the smell of the sewage
And bad neighbors around him from every direction
Waiting for God’s relief
And his state of mind confirmsI will only go from here to my grave