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27. March 2003

Sumaya Farhat-Naser - A Letter from Palestine

End of March, 2003

Dear Friends,

It is all very difficult. We are living in a state of constant alarm. At night we wake up frightend because we hear shots or because tanks and military vehicles return to search houses, to take people into custody. We listen for sounds, search for radio broadcasts and are afraid of hearing terrible news. We breathe a sigh of relief when it is silent once again.
Fear envelops us, danger is our constant companion. As a result of the daily announcements of the many people who are dead or injured, pain remains in our soul.

The destruction of many Palestinian houses in many locations continues systematically – as if it were normal.
It shocks us and reminds us of the destruction of over 400 Palestinian villages in 1948. Destruction of houses as means of eviction and deletion of existence.

The world remains silent because this is nothing new. It is appropriate to be silent in this case and in these times – it is easier.
However, the resentment grows, the anger rises, and the rage turns into hate, desperation and depression.
Not a single attack took place in Isreal during the months of January and February. We felt relief in our hope that the political road might prevail. Unfortunately, 164 Palestinians were killed by the military during this time. As a result of this, the attacks resumed, and many Israelis were killed. The circle of violence thus renewed itself, and the death toll on both sides continues to rise. This too is accepted as being normal.
Our souls suffer on both sides, our future remains uncertain, and we lack any and all forms of safety.

All this has become our every-day life. Do we get used to it or do we shield ourselves from it in order to survive? Our nightmares become reality; it could hit anyone, and in war the most terrible might seem to “only” be bad, the bad might be less intense, and the difficult might be bearable. The rearrangement of the standards of justice, morals and humantitarian understanding are permitted.

We are very worried about our families in Iraq. 2 hours before the attack on Baghdad began, we spoke on the telephone, exchanged thoughts and emotions and said good-bye with prayer. The phonelines are impaired.
My brother-in-law, 64 years old, his wife, his daughter-in-law, his son and his grand-daughter are living in a bunker. We received an e-mail this morning: “We are still alive, God is protecting us. We will write for as long as it is still possible. Their are few words that can explain what we feel.”
We dare and hope, we believe and want to feel cared for and protected.

For many years, the Palestinian peace activist Sumaya Farhat-Naser has been working on initiatives, seminars and lectures which aim to give hope and new perspectives, especially to young people. Women without Borders realized together with her the project "Emergency Medical Help in Birzeit".


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