“. . . the splendor of life Is being born within the walls of my prison . . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

Israeli occupation forces stormed Palestinian prisoners in their cells, Ramon prison, in occupied Negev. (Photo: Alresalah English)

❶ Israeli forces raid PFLP section in Ramon prison, impose total closure
. . . ❶ ― (ᴀ)   Statement No. 8 from the PFLP Prison Branch

  • background from South Atlantic Quarterly

❷ Free Bilal Kayed! Report from the international week of action for Palestinian Prisoners

  • background from Public Health Ethics

❹ POETRY by Samih Al-Qasim
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency
July 17, 2016
The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society said on Sunday morning that Israeli Prison Service (IPS) forces raided section 5 of Israel’s Ramon prison, where they searched room number 72 and imposed a total closure on the section, which holds exclusively prisoners affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
___The group added in a statement that the acts of the prison administration and its forces are part of its collective punishment on PFLP prisoners across all Israeli prisons, in response to their support of Bilal Kayid, who has been on a hunger strike since June 14 in protest of his administrative detention order.
[. . . .]
___Israel considers the majority of Palestinian political parties to be “terrorist organizations.” As a result, most Palestinians who participate in the political arena in the ccupied Palestinian territory risk being imprisoned by Israeli authorities.     MORE . . .  
Gaza.Scoop.ps – Real Time News From Gaza
July 15, 2016
The prisons of the occupation are in a state of flux, escalation, and rapid developments in the battle for freedom waged by the prisoners of the Popular Front against the fascist prison administration, for victory for their comrade, the leader Bilal Kayed, on hunger strike for a month. The Front organization in all prisons is continuing to escalate their protest, and prepare more serious steps of escalation, intent on their demands, drawing inspiration from the steadfastness of Comrade Kayed, and with the support of the Prisoners’ Movement which was expressed in an important statement a few days ago. This is expected to culminate in a program of unified steps of struggle involving the entire prisoners’ movement soon. In this context, we as the leadership of the branch of the organization of the Front in the occupation prisons emphasize the following . . .MORE . . . 

From South Atlantic Quarterly
Sumud, translated roughly as “steadfastness,” has no fixed meaning . . . . the practice of sumud destabilizes the colonial order and its power relations. This steadfastness constitutes a Palestinian relational political-psycho-affective subjectivity [. . . .]
___As a theoretical frame, sumud signifies a revolutionary becoming . . . .  it is a continuing process of reorganization of the revolutionary self that would be actualized in practice. Each practice of sumud in the [prison] interrogation is an actualization of the potentiality of the revolutionary becoming. . . . Palestinians are therefore constituted as they resist . . . . Palestinians-in-sumud correspond to “being caught in the act of legending.” These heroes-mediators are not individual heroes but a series; they embody others and others embody them [. . . .]
___Approximating the possibility of sumud, then, offers an alternative to hegemonic liberal modes of the individual autonomous subject that are dominant worldwide . . . . Palestinians have undertaken efforts “not merely for the endurance and victory of their people’s just cause but also as a Palestinian contribution to the protection and maintenance of the human values of freedom and liberation”. . . . sumud as a particular liberating Palestinian mode of being encodes a liberational potential for humanity. Thus, in approaching sumud as a particular Palestinian mode of being, we can consider its potential to reflect a universal mode of “revolutionary becoming” . . .

  • Meari, Lena. “Sumud: A Palestinian Philosophy Of Confrontation In Colonial Prisons.” South Atlantic Quarterly 113.3 (2014): 547-578.   SOURCE.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
July 17, 2016
As Bilal Kayed enters his second month on hunger strike in Israeli prisons, events and actions were organized around the world on 8-15 July in a coordinated week of action organized by Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network in support of Kayed’s struggle and that of fellow Palestinian prisoners, and in memory of Ghassan Kanafani, the Palestinian writer, artist and political leader and thinker assassinated on 8 July 1972 in Beirut.
___Events were organized in New York City, Arklow, Enniscorthy, London, Naples, Tampa, Milan, Beirut, Amman, and Berlin, as well as events inside occupied Palestine – in Gaza, Haifa, Nablus, El Bireh, Asira al-Shamaliya, Dheisheh camp, and elsewhere. Online advocacy for Kayed’s release also escalated with a “Twitterstorm” on 14 July, in which thousands of tweets highlighted #freedom4bilal.      MORE . . .   

From Public Health Ethics
The liberal perspective that focuses on the individual’s dilemma tends to be oblivious to the asymmetrical relation of power that characterizes the prison system and to the socio-political context in which hunger strikes take place. The liberal perspective poses the problem in similar terms to the ethical dilemma facing a doctor whose patient refuses a life-saving procedure. However . . . the relation between the physician and his/her hunger striking patient is not the typical doctor/patient encounter. The patient is there against his/her will, and the prisoner is treated by a physician s/he did not choose, at least in the first instance. Moreover, the physician usually makes his/her choices torn apart between loyalty for his/her patient and  for  the  system  in  which  s/he  works. Finally, the prisoner is not just refusing treatment. Hunger striking is a political act. . . .
___Hunger-strikers should not be simplistically compared with a patient willingly avoiding medical treatment that can alleviate his/her sufferings. Hunger-strikers do not choose death over life, neither do they want to put an end to their lives. Theirs is a political struggle in which, even though they are prepared to risk life, they would gladly go on living if they achieve their goals. Bilad Diab, who was released from administrative imprisonment in an Israeli prison after a 66-day hunger-strike, exemplified this when saying: ‘No one dies for the sake of dying. No one becomes a martyr for the sake of dying. We love life in its natural form. A hunger-strike is a real struggle which the person undertakes and risks his life in order to be released and given freedom.’

  • Filc, Dani, et al. “Palestinian Prisoners’ Hunger-Strikes In Israeli Prisons: Beyond The Dual-Loyalty Dilemma In Medical Practice And Patient Care.” Public Health Ethics 7.3 (2014): 229-238.     SOURCE.  

The Palestinian Information Center
Gregory Shupak
January 22, 2016
Mohammed al-Qeeq has been on hunger strike since 25 November 2015 [freed on May 9, 2016] in protest against Israel placing him under six-month administrative detention and his condition has deteriorated. . . administrative detention [is] a practice whereby Israel jails Palestinians for renewable periods of up to six months on the basis of secret evidence and without charge or trial. Administrative detention has been condemned several times by the UN Human Rights Office and the Human Rights Committee. Similarly, the Israeli NGO B’tselem notes “the substantial injury to due process inherent in this measure.” Addameer, the Palestinian political prisoners’ rights group, says that Israel is holding 660 Palestinians in administrative detention. . .
[. . . .]
Meanwhile, Israel wants Bulgarian authorities to give them Omar Nayef Zayed, who escaped Israeli detention in May 1990 after an Israeli military court convicted him of the killing of an Israeli settler yeshiva student and sentenced him to life. For now Zayed has taken refuge in the Palestinian Authority’s embassy in Sofia [assassinated February 16, 2016 in the embassy]. Under the Oslo Accords, all Palestinian political prisoners were supposed to be released and Zayed seems to fall within this purview.     MORE . . .


Mother, it grieves me,
That because of me, throughout your night of agony,
You shed silent tears, anxiously awaiting the return
Of my beloved brothers from their chores;
That you are not able to eat
While my seat remains empty, and there is no talk or laughter.
How it pains me, Mother,
That tears rush to your eyes
When friends drop by to ask about me.
But I believe, Mother,
That the splendor of life
Is being born within the walls of my prison,
And I believe that the last of my visitors
Will not be an eyeless bat, coming to me by night.
Surely, the light of day will dawn,
And, dazzled by it, my jailer will be humbled.
He will fall to the ground . . . broken,
Shattered, burnt by daylight.
Translated by A. M. Elmesseri

Samīh al-Qāsim (1939-2014)
From BEFORE THERE IS NOWHERE TO STAND: PALESTINE ISRAEL POETS RESPOND TO THE STRUGGLE. Ed. By Joan Dobbie and Grace Beeler. Sandpoint ID: Lost Horse Press, 2012.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.