Thursday, April 15, 2010

Abu Dia

Abu Dia, 50 years old , his weatherbeaten face a testament to a life spent working under the hot sun, lies on a farrsha in the living room of his house in the village of Tammun. For the past three weeks he has been able to move about only with difficulty, and in pain.

Before dawn on March 14 he waited, as usual, at the Hamra checkpoint, together with a number of other agricultural labourers, to be picked up and driven to his work at the Jewish colony/settlement of Miswa, further south in the Jordan Valley of Occupied Palestine. He and his fellow workers earn 90 Israeli sheckels (around $30) for a day's work, for most of them their sole means of income. Of this, 30 sheckels goes on transport.

Suddenly, seeing an approaching army jeep and knowing what lay in store, the workers began to run. Abu Dia, being older, could not make his escape and was seized by the soldiers, seven or eight of whom formed a circle while one of them knocked him to the ground and commenced to kick him senseless. They left him there and drove off. He was taken to a medical clinic in the town of Tubas, where he was diagnosed with a broken ankle and extensive bruising. The medical staff recommended that he be hospitalised but he chose to return home where, unable to afford medication or further treatment, he has remained until now, unable to walk and unable to work.

Abu Dias, his wife and four children, face a bleak future. Poor villagers such as them depend on whatever employment they can pick up, especially now that much of their lands have been confiscated for the ever-expanding colonial settlements.   Abu Dias has worked for many years at Miswa, where he is regarded as a capable and willing worker, but now he fears for his safety while waiting for his employer to pick him up at the infamous checkpoint, which has been the scene of other brutal attacks by sadists wearing the uniform of the Israeli Defence (sic) Forces.

Reporting live from Occupied Palestine.

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