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Palestinian father talks of imprisoned son (sent to us by Ragini, our member in Palestine right now)


Statement about Rabia

My oldest son was taken prisoner by the Shabak Israel's secret police) as he was on his way to France for a meditation workshop with Palestinian and Israeli youth. This workshop teaches one to reach a peaceful state-of-being.

My son is being interrogated and no one has been allowed to visit him, not even his lawyer. Why have they taken him? I ask myself this question everyday. Maybe Rabia was taken for doing something against the occupation: yet it is our right to defend ourselves. Perhaps they are trying to destroy my reputation as a peace activist with Ta ayush and other non-violent resistance movements by claiming that my son has thought of or used violence.

What they are doing to Rabia will only encourage violence and they know that. This is all the Palestinian people have known under this occupation - violence perpetrated against us daily - while we have no rights and no means to defend ourselves.

Rabia was taken prisoner on the 26th of July 2004, the day after I was taken prisoner, eighteen years earlier. Rabia was just one and an half years old when I was arrested on the 25th of July 1986. He could only say BABA, father in Arabic. Just as I saw my own father taken to jail, my son saw me as a prisoner. One hardship follows another and my second son, Sharaf died in the same period. He was one month old. With me in prison, my wife and son Rabia did not have anything to eat.

My son Rabia grew up without his father. He was 14 years old when he saw me again; a free man at last, but broken inside. Rabia never received any gifts during any of his birthdays and various feasts, all he had was an absent father and a mother who was struggling to survive on her own, whilst her body was getting weaker and weaker.

I would try to imagine how my son looked, how he lived and how he felt. Often I would get his school reports. Rabia was a model student, first in his class. I was so proud of him and yet he only knew from a distance, as I never attended any of his graduations.

My brother Issa was like a father to my son Rabia while I was in jail all those years. I could not have asked for a better father than Issa. Issa enlightened Rabia's consciousness with dreams of peace, tolerance and building friendships with the Israelis. Yet again, Rabia had to witness another tragedy strike, this time to his second father. Issa was shot by the IDF on May 15, 2001, to be paralyzed forever. This horrible and unfair incident traumatized Rabia even more.

The Israeli government would speak of peace, would ratify peace accords but would not WALK THEIR TALK. Rabia realized all this earlier than he should have, just as I became painfully aware of my own father's powerlessness before my time.

I do not know if they planned to arrest my son Rabia on the same day, almost, as I was taken prisoner myself, but what I do know is that this will affect Rabia's subconscious. The story is repeating itself over and over again. If I did something to deserve this, it is me they should come after, not my son. To have my son in jail is worse for me than having to spend the rest of my life in prison, in solitary confinement.