Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Funerals and Memorial for those killed in Balata (and those left behind)

The people of Balata gathered for the funeral of those that had died in the incursion. Here in Palestine everyone knows their entire village. Houses don't have street numbers and often there aren't even street names. Directions can be given relative to everyone else's house.

This left the internationals franticly running behind the local Palestinian who knew the area during the incursion. Statements from the various Palestinian factions were passed around those gathered stating what they thought that the deaths meant in terms of the 'peace process' about the need to resist the occupation etc. They put these deaths into the broader context of the occupation, previous martyrs, etc.

Far from it being taboo to talk politics at the funeral or discussing the details of death the people of Balata are so used to it that they will share what ever information they can at such times in order to further the anti-occupation struggle.

After the funeral we were taken around to a house where some of the fighters were killed. The army surrounded the house and exploded everything inside killing the fighters who were hiding in the roof. Palestinians are aware that the choice to become a fighter is the reality that they will either die young or face life in prison.

We then proceeded to the hospital where we met many of the people that were injured during the "incursion." Many of them were just young kids shot with live rounds.

The activists who were here for the latter part of the invasion left for Ramallah for a debrief. I stayed for a memorial service for those who had died.

There was no one with me who could translate but from what I could tell it was a political rally, with rally sounding speeches, talk of intifada and guns being fired in the air. There were many fighters there waving guns in the air. I couldn't help but wish these fighters were actually there to help Balata when the army was there. It is a society where everyone seems to talk tough to deal with tragedy. Friends of mine don't acknowledge pain publicly but when you get to know them, you know they are hurting but this is the way they deal with it.

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