Abdallah M Abusharekh
2020 / 6 / 11
The solider attacked Hamdan, the village’s art teacher, and yanked him from his depressing orange shirt. The solider pushed Hamdan forcefully to join his fellow Israeli prison bound prisoners. All of them were locked in there for days. They waited with bated breaths to see why they were brought out of their detention zone. The prospect of an investigation taking place was filling everyone’s hearts with dread. It even showed on their malnourished pale faces. The dread shifted, all of a sudden, when the prisoners were taken through a long walkway to the prison yard and not to the investigation basements. In a few moments, they were told that the prison warden asked for “The Arab scum” to clean after the officer’s horses. They had to pick up the horses’ dung and carry it in containers to be thrown in the wide sandy yard.
At that moment, Hamdan could not feel any more bitterness added to what happened in his village on the night of the invasion. He did not know all the details of the tragedy that these fascists had made. Something inside him moved regarding the way these Israeli soldiers think. All he knew was that these Israeli Zionists were racists beyond measure. Arabs to them are noting but harmful creatures who know nothing of civility and culture. He told himself that he would retaliate in any means possible.
Hamdan’s mates did not understand his insistence on throwing the trash in specific places. However, their love for him made them follow his request with as little hesitation as possible. During their second week, Hamdan’s mates started to notice what he was trying to do. He was building a giant flower that spanned the whole yard. They understood, then, why he asked them to throw the trash in specific locations. A few days later, a few soldiers caused a racket at the surveillance point near the end of the yard and minutes later, Hamdan and the rest of his cleaning crew were being investigated.
The sun was casting a golden-reddish hue when the prison warden was contemplating the giant flower from the surveillance tower. The light reflected off the piles of dark trash and gave them a whimsical movement that made the flower all the more enchanting. He thought of his daughter who always loved flowers and wished, for just a moment, that she was with him to see this flower. He also wished that his own mother could see it.
The prison warden came down the iron stairs’ steps quickly and hastily went to his office. He found that the officer had left a note for him over his desk that said, “The investigation is done and we have identified the person who drew the flower. We still have him in custody and we are waiting for your orders.” He wrote on the same paper, “Let him get back to the detention where his mates are.” He, then, grabbed a new paper and started writing,
“Greetings and salutations Dear General,
We have found an artist who was detained in the last invasion of Arab villages. He has drawn the most wonderful flower using animal dung. Sir, I have never seen anything like it in my life. I still remember well the words of my schoolteacher and rabbi about Arabs and their filth and brutality. Come see for yourself how this has artist turned filth into a magical flower with an amount of creativity very rare to find. Sir, I beg you to arrange for the release of this artist´-or-to accept my resignation.”
The Assistant Secretary of Interior screamed in outrage while flipping through the file, “how wonderful indeed! Israel is at war with ‘terrorists’ and a war against Iraq might break loose at any moment not to mention our borders with Lebanon and the rest of the Arabs and this fool is sympathizing with them. Wonderful indeed!”
A few minutes later, an emergency meeting took place at the ministry of interior and two decisions were made. First, the Artist prisoner should be moved to another location and all his prison mates should be relocated into other prisons as well. And the second decision stated that the prison warden should be suspended and put forward for a military trial because this case was considered high treason.