Tuesday, April 7, 2009


I want to tell you about Wadida.

She is was first friend ever, we grew up together, she was beautiful, with green eyes, and dark blond curly hair. Her father, Ammo Abed was my idol, he was a communist leader , a great man who sacrificed everything for Palestine.
Me and Wadida grew up together, we fought the boys together, explored the fields, climbed the trees, played and played. We went to kindergarten together.

They took our fathers in the same day, we were neighbours, and our families were very close friends, and we were together all the time, Ammo Abed and my dad were teachers in the same school, they used to go to work together everyday, come back together everyday, and me and Wadida would play together everyday.

I can hardly remember what happened, I remember that there were noises, and darkness, I was in 1st grade 6 years old or something, and so was Wadida , I remember my mother was crying. My mother and Wadida’s mom would sit together and talk about the prison, and our fathers, and listen to the radio. Lots of people whom i don’t know came to our house and my mom was repeating the story over and over again; how they came in the middle of night and took my father, they didn’t give him the chance to change his clothes, they took him in his pyjamas and slippers. They also said that it is very cold in the prison, and i would imagine Ammo Abed and baba in one cell and baba is wearing his pyjamas.

I didn’t realize it then , but it seems this affected me a lot. I started wetting my bed again, and i would dream I’m in the sea swimming then wake up so scared that my mother would give me a hard time, I always tried to accuse my brother (of wetting my bed!).

My father used to take us to the fields;  Me, my brother, Wadida and her 4-year old sister Salam. he would play with us, he made nakkakeef for us (to catch birds) and teach us about trees and rocks and plants. I missed him.

Then Wadida became sick, she had a headache all the time, they took her to Hadassah, and i didn’t see her anymore, whenever i ask , they tell me she is sick, I got impatient, i always asked when would she become well so that we can play together again.
They said she had an operation, and my mom is visiting her in Hadassah, and her mother is in Hadassah, what is this Hadassah (i thought) and me and Salam are wondering what the hell was happening, my mother's temper was really bad, I was scared to ask a lot of questions, and i didn’t know who to ask.

I would hear the neighbours talking about Wadida, ya 7aram , maskeeneh, poor girl, Allah y3een imha (may god help her mother), but i was still waiting for her to become well and come back so that we can play together again.

My father came out about six weekd later, but Ammo Abed was still in jail. They must have realised that my father is not really an activist or a communist, he is just Ammo Abed's friend.

I remember the day he came out, he was still in the pyjamas, but he had a coat on top of the pyjamas, or maybe it's just my imagination. We didn’t know they released him, they never tell you, the same way they never allowed for a trial, they just take people when they feel like it and release them when they want to, (if they want to) , and you cant ask why.
Some kids from the neighbourhood came running to our house, calling my mother, 'Abu khalil is out!!' they informed her excitedly. My mom ran out to the street , and she saw baba, and just like the old Egyptian movies, they ran towards each other, until they ended up in each other's arms, all the 7ara (neighbourhood) was watching, (they've never seen such a romantic scene in the middle of the 7ara, even between married couples. the most they've seen is newly engaged couple walking while holding hands. I was very happy, i did the running act too. i remember my father's smell that i missed.

Wadida didn’t get better, she was still in Hadassah, and they were still operating on her, and the hope for Ammo Abed to get out was getting less and less. His lawyer (Velitsia Langer) was fighting just to get him a trial (but this never happened).
My father told me Wadida is coming back from the hospital, but he told me that she will be in bed, and that I should be very nice to her because she is sick. and that she lost her hair and is wearing a wig now and i shouldn’t laugh or comment about that.

Wadida was their first child, she was her father's precious, Velitsia tried to get a permission for Ammo Abed to visit her, but the Israeli authorities refused.
My parents were always at Wadida's place, sometimes she'd wake up in the middle of the night, in pain, and ask for my father, he tells her stories, and jokes, she loved him, children always loved my baba.
Sometimes she'd ask for me, so I would go there , and she would play with me (as much as she can, laying in that bed), she would ask me to tell her stories and things about school, she always dreamt of going back to school.
My sister was 2 or something, my parents decided to have another kid after my father got out of the prison, I wasn’t thrilled.
Ever since she existed in the world, my sister, never saw Wadida out of the bed, she grew up thinking Wadida just lives there.
I gave up on the idea of playing with her again, especially that her health was getting worse, she had brain cancer, and she was dying. they told me several times she was very very sick but i never connected that to dying.
I played with Salam, her sister, and we were becoming close friends, and we used to write our dreams and wishes, I found a 'diary book' that I used to write in as a kid, I used to call it the red book, where i write everything i wish for, and draw , and play with words. In the red book, me and Salam wrote about our wish that Wadida would get better, but she didn’t , that was the beginning of our atheism.
We always thought it is not fair that God would make our child friend hurt and suffer, while the yahood are getting stronger and Ammo Abed is in jail.
Sometimes, or actually most of the times i dreamt I’d become 'superman' and kill the yahood and free Palestine. that dream was so real for me, i almost believed it. I was waiting impatiently to grow into 'superman' but i grew into just me.

Wadida's operations were getting more, and her pain was getting more, not only that she cant walk, she cant move her hands anymore, and she cries a lot. She was suffering.
I heard that the yahood finally agreed to allow Ammo Abed to see her, they brought him in a military Jeep , escorted by a dozen soldiers, he was handcuffed, he cried. I wasn’t there, of course i wasn’t there, but Auntie Im Wadida said that some of the soldiers cried.

And then one day, something happened, Wadida died. Me and Salam cried, we though we should even though we didn’t feel much, i for myself was in my imaginary world and not feeling anything, just numb. I thought crying would be the right thing to do .

I don’t remember the sequence of things, i think Ammo Abed was out at that point, because I remember the Koran in the day of Wadida's death in our house. ( i hated listening to Koran , it made me angry ). I thought they were hypocrites , no one there is religious, and God tortured Wadida, and took her away, and the yahood are still there, now they put Koran!? how hypocrite grown ups can be!

On that day, Ammo Abed didn’t say anything, I remember me sitting in his lap, he was stroking my hair.

I think i was around 9 years old when she died.

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