Picking cucumbers with
Sirah, Lama and Rosa
First the latest news from Jenin: Early this morning (Sat 25th) a military operation was launched in the city. Two men from the Al-quds brigade (Freedom Fighters, and just to remind you that according to UN resolutions an occupied country/area have their right to defend themselves (this does not include suicide bombers). were killed, 3 of there comrades were injured, and so was a citizen who was passing by on the street, by the so called Israeli death squad Forces.
During the last 12 hours here eight Palestinians have lost their life in the West Bank and Gaza.
Among them Humam Ahmad Nasir, 18, and Mustafa Adnan Nasir, 17, both from Jabalia in the north of the Gaza Strip, and 11 year old Mahmoud Qarnawi, killed during an Israeli attack in Seida, north of Tulkarem in the West Bank.
My last week here...
Last Sunday I started to teach English at the centre. I was told it would be for beginners but it's not! I teach one group of children who speaks a lot, and a group of students where some have studied English at college. I knew it since before but it's even more clear now that it's one thing to know a language and another to teach it. The lack of books and material makes it even harder so tomorrow will be last lesson. The students seems supriseingly pleased though. It feels strange that they appreciate a foreigner as a teacher so much. I think they would achieve more with a local teacher who can explain the grammar in Arabic. It feels a bit "colonialistic" that I as a white European should teach, especially since English is my second language. But it shows one of the big problems here. A lot of the teachers haven't been paid for months, sometimes more than a year due to the ecomomic crises here. The centre for example would never be able to pay a teacher, and people here doesn't have time to teach for free.
This week I have soent a lot of time in Al-faddah, which is a suburb to Jenin where my friends Sirah, Lama and Rosa live. I met them at the centre where Sirah and Lama are studing Hebrew. Rosa is Sirah's sister. They're really nice and clever gilrs who has taken me to a lot of places, and they teach me Arabic. Tonight we were at birthday party to a friend of them, but Lama didn't go beacuse her brother was killed by the Israeli army 2 months ago and it's still the grieving period. The family of Sirah and Rosa are originally from Haifa, their grandparents came as refugees in 1948. (according to the UN resolution 194 all Palestinian refugees from 1948 and 1967 has the right to return, a right which they're being denied by Israel). They used to live in Jenin refugge camp but after the invasion in 2002 when the majority of the camp were demolished, and many people were killed, they didn't feel safe anymore.
Right now we're trying to set up more twinning contacts between Nottingham and Jenin but it takes time to arrange meetings and to find a day when everyone involved can attend.
Among other things the groups here would like to come in contact with places who can sell their fairtrade goods and organize art exhibitions with pictures made by the children at the centre.
Also we'll visit the Jenin hospital who suffer a lot from the economical situation. They are the govermental hospital, and the biggest in Jenin.
Yesterday I spent the day in Birquin south of Jenin where Yousef lives. It's a really nice village which has the third oldest church. Life there is quite quiet now but Yousef showed the hills from where soldiers started to shoot one night, hitting the the wall of his house just where two of his children were sleeping. Many houses were hit and one boy died. The children had sleeping problems for months afterwards. Everyone here has their story, and sadly their stories has not been listened to enough.