Monday, December 22, 2014

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Telling The Enemy

Steven Katsineris with a short story. Steven Katsineris is an Australian freelance writer of articles on Palestine, Cyprus and the rest of the Middle East region, political prisoners and human rights, environmental and social issues. He has been actively involved in the Palestine solidarity movement for over forty years. Steven Katsineris lives with his family in Melbourne, Australia.


“I’ve got you now boy, you think you can throw stones and one day we won’t catch you and beat you for it, ah, who do you think you are, you little bastard?”

“Ow.”

“Now just stand against the wall and don’t move or I’ll hit you with this baton so hard that you won’t move at all, do you hear me boy?”

Crack! “Ouch.”

“I said did you hear me?”

“Yyyes.”

“That’s better, now stand still and we won’t hurt you too much if you behave yourself.”

“Yer, sure.”

“Don’t you believe me?”

“No.”

“Like to throw stones at us, do you.”

“No.”

“Come on, cat got your tongue, or just too frightened to talk, if you don’t like throwing stones why do you do it then?”

“Because I hate you soldiers and what you do to our people.”

“Now the boy speaks like a lion, George.”

“Perhaps he’s not frightened of us after all Ed, maybe we teach him and his kind to really fear us again, they’re too cocky these days and need to be put back in their place.”

“What you got in mind George.”

“Let’s beat him senseless and leave him in the street as an example, bet the others would think twice about confronting us then?”

“No, that doesn’t seem to work any more.”

“Then give them another martyr for the cause, one less for us to face next time.”

“What’s your name boy?”

“Jamal.”

“Jamal, your parents would be upset to lose their little boy, wouldn’t they?”

“My mother, yes of course she would.”

“Does she know you’re here?”

“No, she thinks I’m at school.”

“No father then.”

“He was killed in your prison.”

“A criminal, runs in the family, ah Jamal.”

“My father was a political prisoner; he was worth a thousand of you, you’re the only criminals here in our land!”

“Hit him Ed, make him bleed for his insults.”

“No, let him speak George.”

“So your father was a political prisoner, what did he do then?”

“Come on Jamal, speak up boy, we’re waiting.”

“Probably tried to kill some of our people Ed?”

“My father was arrested for protesting against land seizures.”

“And so how old are you lad.”

“Thirteen.”

“Tell me some things Jamal and we just might spare you a beating.”

“Tell you what things? I won’t tell you anything.”

“I don’t mean about your friends or activities, or anything like that.”

“What then?”

“I just want to know why you keep resisting us, we belong here too, if you dig in the ground here you find our coins and other evidence of our presence over the centuries.”

“Come on kid, tell Ed what he wants to know.”

“It’s alright George, give him a go.”

“I’ll tell you, but not because I fear you. If you scratch the soil in this land you find traces of many civilisations that have come and gone. People of many backgrounds live among us, but they don’t claim exclusive rights, rule over us and expel us from our land.”

“Seriously though, we have a mighty army and in every war between our peoples we have won. How many defeats do we have to inflict before you accept reality?”

“We will never accept your occupation, no matter how many defeats we suffer, you may win more battles, but your army will never crush our us and our determination. We will win one battle and your invincible state will be gone.”

“Jamal, you’re dreaming if you think that willpower, stones and small arms will defeat us?”

“These things and the mothers who will bear more children to continue the struggle, in time we will wear down your army.”

“But, it’s already been over sixty years Jamal.”

“That’s a short time in our history; you don’t understand what it’s like to be oppressed, or if you did, you’ve forgotten, we will remain steadfast.”

“No, I don’t understand you or your damn, damn people.”

“You know I don’t understand your people either, my parents told me when your people came here our people helped them, despite this we were treated badly and then we found out what the settlers’ aims were. My mother told me even after the last war, when your soldiers entered our town, one of your jeeps overturned on a corner and as was our custom everyone came to help. Now after so many years of this harsh
occupation, if that where to happen our people would come to hurt them more. It’s so sad that we have come to this, but that’s what this occupation has done to us. I hate that it has changed us so much.”

“Perhaps one day things will be different. Listen to me Jamal, you know what my friend wants to do to you, well this time I’m going to let you go. But next time I see you on the streets stoning us, I probably won’t be as kind and even if I don’t beat or shoot you my friends will try to.”

“The next time I see you on the streets I will probably try to get you too and even if I don’t my comrades will.”

“Jamal, I’ll tell you one last thing, I lost my father in the last war and I know how you must feel. Now go, goodbye.”

“You can’t really know how I feel at all. ”

“Ed, what are you doing, you’re not just going to let him go?”

“George, let him pass.”

“Okay, okay, you’re in charge, get out of here kid.”

BANG!

“What the!, Ed, you sure had me fooled.”

“Ahh, I almost fooled myself George.”

“What do you mean?”

“I was going to let him go, but I realised that one day we were going to face Jamal again, with more than rocks in his hands. That he could even grow up to be another leader of his people and that would be worse for us.”

“You did the right thing Ed.”

“Not the right thing George, but what we must do to maintain control in this land.”

“Yea, but in the end we will win.”

“ You really think so George .”

“Come on Ed, lets get going now.”

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