Translated By, Saed Bannoura, IMEMC

“I dream about hugging my son freely, far away from prison bars, but soldiers banned me even from visiting him”

With this sentence Fatima Al-Nims, 60 years old, described her longing to her son, who is sentenced to 16 years for resisting the occupation.

Fatima, Um Ghazi [Um Ghazi means ”the mother of Ghazi”] was sitting at the Red Cross office in Gaza, with complete science, nodding her head, looking at her sons’ picture, said in a tone filled with bitterness and sadness;

“I have been waiting for long 16 years, for the day of my sons’ freedom, dreaming of him knocking the door and saying “Am Home”, dreaming of hugging him for several hours, and crying”, the mother said.

Silence sheds again, then she bursts, “Son, my heart is burning, I am a mother, they took away my boy, and threw him in the darkness of the prison”

Listening to her words, bitterness, and grief, she continues, “They arrested him in 1985, after accusing him of killing a settler, since then…they have been moving him from one detention to another…”

The mother, talking while living in another world, imagining her son, told the story of her son, and details of his arrest,

“A huge military force attacked our home, knocked but didn’t wait for us to open, they barged into the place and searched it, then arrested my son…I begged them to leave him, and asked them “What do you want? Why are you taking him away?”

Yet they did not answer, but one of them said, “We want to talk to him, just 15 minutes and he will be back…”

“The 15 minutes became an hour, and this hour extended to 15 years”, she added.

She stopped talking, all of a sudden, and looked at the other mothers who gathered at the Red Cross, they have imprisoned sons, Husbands, several family members, and continued…

“No one can imagine the pain, the long nights, a mother goes through until she raises her sons, and see them grownups, his father died when he was only two years old, later on I married his uncle, and he lived with his other brothers, in our extended home, I used to dream of seeing him and adult, married, I dreamt about seeing his kids, but…they (the army) banned us even from dreaming.” She added.

With a sad bitter tone, the mother added; “I am a mother who had her son taken away from her, do you know what the mean? How it feels?! And added, “but… we should never surrender, one day he will be free, but I want to see him and hug him before I die, I want to touch him far away from the wires of the prison, and they eyes of the soldiers and their guns, but they banned me from visiting him under security claims? I don’t even know what that means! Did I carry bombs or Molotov Cocktails; I really don’t what kind of justice is present in this world”.

Um Ghazi still remembers the day where she was banned from visiting her son under claims that she is not his mother,

“I was surprised, the soldier stopped me and said “go back wherever you came from, you have nobody here to visit”, and when I asked him about the reason, he replying coldly enough and said, “He is not you son”, I shouted and said, “what are you talking about, did I buy him from the market?!, yet they insisted and I wasn’t allowed to visit him”, she added.

“Last time, when I was supposed to visit him, I was banned again, they told me its for security reasons, I felt like am burning, I waited until other patents visited their sons, I rushed to them and asked them about him, any information which could clam me down, even for some seconds”

Um Ghazi now, goes continuously to any protest at the Red Cross, to express her rejection to the arrest of her son.

I come here every Monday, in solidarity of our sons, and demand their freedom, no one can hear you if you don’t speak load enough, don’t they have sons like us, don’t they miss their sons, why are they doing this to us and our families, all the words which exist in this world, cannot express the true feelings of a mother who is waiting for the day of her son’s freedom”

Yet, one question remains here, can Um Ghazi forget the image of her son behind bars, can words really express what she feels.

More than 2300 mothers, daughters, wives, are facing the same destiny, family members of Palestinian and Arab detainees imprisoned in Israeli detention camps, still face the same conditions and misery,

Will the day come, where they can all sense and smell freedom, will it…if so when?!