Saturday, December 22, 2007

Once again, sorry for the fact that much or most of what I post here these days refers to other people's work, except for an article in Dutch once in a while. I am still trying to finally finish my thesis, and at the same time I am working on a book which will be published next spring and for which I will be traveling to Holland next month.

The above picture and the story that it tells literally brought tears to my eyes. I found it on the weblog of Lisa Goldman, who in my opinion is the best English-language blogger in Israel. I once had breakfast with her in Tel Aviv, and we will meet again after I return from Holland. Politically we agree on ( almost? ) everything, I believe, and our Zionisms are very much alike. Recently she was the focus of police - and therefore media - attention. I did not write about that because she herself apparently was not allowed to say anything about the investigation, which had to do with the fact that she reported from Lebanon. Last week she wrote extensively about the affair, you can read about it here, here, and here.

Now about the picture. It was made by Natan Dvir and chosen as the photo of the year at the Local Testimony exhibition in Dizengoff Center, Tel Aviv. Lisa quotes the photographer's own description of the story that the picture tells: “ Na’im El’iam (36), a Palestinian resident of the Jabalyah Refugee Camp in Gaza, holds the body of his three-month-old son Muhammad. The body is wrapped in blue cloth. On orders of the security forces, Na’im is standing in the parking lot near Erez Checkpoint, which is closed to traffic due to violent confrontations between Hamas and Fatah in Gaza. Na’im El’iam was trying to get home in order to bury his son, who died of a congenital heart defect in Israel’s Tel Hashomer Hospital, after doctors tried to save his life. The Palestinian father arrived at Erez Checkpoint, the main border crossing between Israel and Gaza, just as it was getting dark - a few minutes after a shooting incident between Hamas fighters and Fatah members who were hiding inside the checkpoint. After waiting for the shooting to end and then for his documents and permits to be checked, Na’im El’iam was permitted to cross the checkpoint to the Palestinian side with his son’s body.” So many sad aspects of the conflict in one heartrending scene.

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