On the second anniversary of Ameer’s jailing, by Melinda Huntly- Canada
On May 6th 2010 Ameer Makhoul was brutally removed from his home and imprisoned (wrongfully). This prose piece was written for him and his wife Janan and their daughters. It is not meant to diminish their suffering but to look at the power of words. I will be publishing this in five sections.
1. DREAMS OF AMEER MAKHOUL
I studied the photograph I have of them trying to recapture that moment, Ameer’s arm around her shoulders with his sunglasses in the other hand. The whole picture with her lovely smile is idyllic but that is deceptive, given that they face an existential threat in that they are Palestinians. She is dressed casually in her shorts and is wearing her sunglasses. He is not smiling but does not look unhappy. They are standing on a narrow ledge on a very old looking wall. It looks precarious. In the background are ancient rolling hills. A perfect day under a blue sky. The moment is a cruel irony, for their lives were soon to be shattered. Somehow I need to restore that image – the hills, the sun and them basking under the canopy of a blue sky. I invite you to join me.
In the early hours of the morning of the sixth day of May 2010, the Makhoul family slept peacefully in their home in Haifa. It was a night of nurturing dreams – the sky and the stars twinkled overhead whispering dream, dream!
The Israeli Secret Police rudely interrupted the family nocturnal séance. They had come to arrest Ameer Makhoul on a charge of dreaming seditious thoughts. Now I’m not here to discuss the justice meted out by the Israeli Court subsequently but I have heard rumours that the Court in Heaven does not recognize the jurisdiction of the Israeli court. When the Elders on the bench of this Court read the indictment against Mr. Makhoul they chuckled to themselves hardly believing that anyone could convict on such allegations. True justice was based on the purity of the soul of the accused, they said.
I won’t elaborate any further on that fateful night of the arrest but would like to share with you the poetic tale of how his wife and daughters eventually dissolved the walls of Gilboa prison where Ameer was imprisoned by order of the Israeli court. Come with me…
Prison was meant to demoralize, to erase the identity of the imprisoned and extinguish their spirit. The days in prison were long and the nights even longer; in his dreams he saw all doors locked, and he saw himself making futile attempts to open them. But then he saw a different image; he saw himself building a new door, opening it and roaming freely. This dream liberated his spirit and he knew he would survive.
Dusk evoked particular memories for Ameer’s wife Janan. It had been their special time together when they had sat outside and watched the changing sky. They watched the stars emerge in the darkening sky. She wanted to visit him…., but how?
Peace was upon her, Hush… hush… a stillness came upon her and she rose upwards into the sky. The stars began appearing in the twilight. Some were filled with the grief of Nakba but she flew past them to a very bright star and its name was hope, like an arrow she flew directly to it and circled around it slowly and took in its radiance. Here eyes sparkled brightly as she looked at the new world. She sensed that she was not alone. And indeed she was not for thousands of Palestinian souls surrounded her. The primal sea whispered to her and the moons breath gave her access to secret powers. These are powers only revealed to those who do not believe in green lines or walls. Soon she came to Gilboa prison and with her heart beating fast she dipped down into the cell, flowing through the bars, because you see, she was the night. He felt her presence.
What does dawn mean? It is a beginning and an ending but it often has messages to deliver. This dawn was trying to tell him something. It was tender and soft with streaking ribbons of pink and lilac streaming across the horizon. He stared intently into this exploding colour and seconds later it dissolved into his wife and daughters. He cried out in delightful recognition.
Dusk and dawns, dreams and hope, moon after moon and sun after sun, the cycle continues and so too the struggle for freedom and justice.
In my imagination I picture them together standing on the ancient wall with the sun shining over a perfect blue sky.