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wajdi

 

Earlier today, I attended the funeral of Wajih Wajdi al-Ramahi. I took no photos and my notes are smeared with rain. He was 14. He died in the hospital yesterday afternoon. He had been shot in the back with a single bullet in the Jalazun refugee camp, just outside Ramallah.According to his family, the shot was fired without warning from a watchtower at the Israeli military base at Beit-El, which borders the camp. There were no clashes with soldiers at the time, they said, and no one throwing stones. The IDF, Haaretz reported, “confirmed that it was conducting an operation near Jalazun at the time of the reported shooting.” I arrived in the camp just before the bier bearing his body made it to the mosque. He was tiny. His body was wrapped in a flag. A wreath of orange and yellow daisies rested on his torso. His face was bare and open to the sky. His cheeks were smooth. The pallbearers ran forward, the bier on their shoulders, and disappeared into the mosque. Most of the crowd—there were hundreds, maybe a thousand, I didn’t try to count—squeezed into the camp’s small central square, where, beside a stone memorial to Yasser Arafat, a group of men with masked faces pointed guns in the air. Behind them, other men stretched their arms above the crowd to take pictures of the gunmen with their cell phones. The prayers concluded and the gunmen fired round after round. While my attention was elsewhere, someone had pasted a poster bearing al-Ramahi’s image on the monument. It covered Arafat’s face. Only his hand was still visible, waving. The pallbearers carried the boy’s body out of the mosque again, the mourners following them through the camp’s narrow streets, forming a long and solemn chain up the hill towards the cemetery. Far in front of me, I could hear people shouting chants and the gunmen firing their guns, but the men around me walked in silence. Women looked on from windows, doorways, and rooftops, holding their faces, rubbing their eyes. The rain fell harder. In the cemetery at the top of the hill, men scurried from all directions between the graves, jogging through the rocks and the mud, converging in a far corner around al-Ramahi’s grave. In addition to al-Ramahi, two Palestinians were shot by Israeli soldiers in Hebron this week, in the back and in the stomach, and two were shot through the legs in the Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem.

from http://benehrenreich.squarespace.com/blog/2013/12/8/rainy-sunday.html

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http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/17/magazine/is-this-where-the-third-intifada-will-start.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0

 

Protesters fleeing from tear gas launched by the Israel Defense Forces at a protest in February. In the background, the Israeli settlement of Halamish. Every Friday afternoon since 2009, residents of the West Bank town Nabi Saleh have taken part in demonstrations against the Israeli occupation by marching to a spring that has been taken over by the settlers of Halamish but is on Palestinian-owned land. Photographs by Peter van Agtmael

Protesters fleeing from tear gas launched by the Israel Defense Forces at a protest in February. In the background, the Israeli settlement of Halamish. Every Friday afternoon since 2009, residents of the West Bank town Nabi Saleh have taken part in demonstrations against the Israeli occupation by marching to a spring that has been taken over by the settlers of Halamish but is on Palestinian-owned land. Photographs by Peter van Agtmael

When we were about 20 years old, my girlfriend and I tried to hike over the Pyrenees from Spain to France. We were roaming around for months, hiking around Europe. We didn’t have a good map, and no familiarity with the area. The mountains rose so high around us the slopes were rock (something different from the granite of the Sierras) and old snow, ice, and treacherous. Part of the trail extended out on metal pitons hammered into the rock face that we had to cross hanging with a bit of a crack in the rock for one of your feet, maybe, above the cliff, ands then just swinging hand over hand. We climbed up to cirques that ended in steeper slopes, surrounded by sharp tooth-like granite peaks. We decided it was too dangerous to risk a fall on the fields of old snow, sloping steeply away hundreds of yards. The trail was buried under it somewhere in high passes above us. We carried minimal camping gear, backpacks, tubes of plastic sheeting, tube tents. At dusk it started snowing. Our little stove was barely working in the cold and altitude. In the morning we shook the snow off of it and our gear and heated water for tea. It was still snowing lightly, the day dark and cold. The rock face was wet and the pitons cold on the hands crossing over, descending. We made it down into the forested canyons below treeline, where we’d seen a bright red orange fox, and headed into the quiet little stone towns. It could’ve turned out differently, we’ve seen trouble now and then, but we got married and have been hiking for over thirty years together.

Arnoldo Garcia mentioned that he knew these people, and there’s a campaign going to free them. Free the hikers:

FREE THE HIKERS: SHANE BAUER, SARAH SHOURD, JOSH FATTAL

Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal have been detained in Iran since July 31, 2009, when news reports say they accidentally crossed an unmarked border while hiking in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan near the Ahmed Awa waterfall, a local beauty spot. They were in a peaceful region of northern Iraq that is increasingly popular with Western tourists attracted by its natural beauty, traditional culture and long history. The three hikers, all graduates of UC Berkeley, entered northern Iraq with visas from Turkey on July 28 and had planned to spend five days visiting the area. A fourth friend, Shon Meckfessel had stayed behind in Sulaimaniya when Shane, Josh and Sarah set out on their hike because he was feeling unwell.

Shane Bauer, 27, has been living in Damascus, Syria with Sarah Shourd since late 2008 and is a student of Arabic, which he speaks fluently. He is a freelance journalist whose writing and award-winning photographs have been published in the US, UK, Middle East, and Canada. Shane, who has two younger sisters, grew up in Onamia, Minnesota and graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Peace and Conflict Studies in 2007. Shane has reported from Syria, Iraq, Darfur in Sudan, Yemen and Ethiopia but has never reported from Iran, nor expressed any interest in doing so. He had hoped to offer photographs and a story on the aftermath of recent elections in Kurdistan to the online news network New America Media, but was not on a formal news assignment.

Sarah Shourd, 31, has been living with Shane in Damascus, where she teaches English and is learning Arabic. She previously taught as part of the Iraqi Student Project, a program which gives Iraqi students living in Damascus the skills to continue their education in US schools. She was on a break from her teaching responsibilities for a week, and she and Shane decided to take a hiking trip with their friends Josh and Shon. Sarah has written articles on travel and social issues reflecting her time in Syria, Ethiopia, Yemen and Mexico. Sarah, who has an older brother and sister, was born in Chicago, Illinois, grew up in Los Angeles, California and recently moved to the San Francisco Bay Area.

Josh Fattal, 27, is an environmentalist who worked for three years at the Aprovecho Research Center in Cottage Grove, Oregon, which teaches sustainable living skills. From January to June 2009, Josh was a Teaching Fellow with the International Honors Program (IHP) “Health and Community” study abroad program in Switzerland, India, China, and South Africa. Josh and his elder brother grew up in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. He spent his junior year of college on an IHP study abroad program in the UK, India, the Philippines, New Zealand, and Mexico and graduated from UC Berkeley in 2004 with a degree in environmental economics and policy from the College of Natural Resources. Josh was visiting Sarah and Shane in Damascus when they went on their trip.

Sign the Petition

http://freethehikers.org/?page_id=345

DONATE

http://freethehikers.org/?page_id=1516

WEBSITE

http://freethehikers.org/

 

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