Monday, November 11, 2013

Roots Run Deep

"I am a Palestinian living in the picturesque village of Bil’in in West Bank. Our family has lived in Bil’in for generations farming the fertile fields for our day to day livelihood. Like villages, towns and cities up and down historic Palestine our lives changed forever as our beloved land was constantly ravaged by Israeli occupation - Our homes, fields and infrastructure including water resources was either destroyed or more often taken away by the Israelis under their brutal occupation of our land. These villages and towns are now surrounded by Jewish settlements on our LAND. Under the pretext of security they built the nine metre concrete wall which today runs from north to south, cutting through our land. The military control of our people, our fields, our water sources, daily harassment denying excess to schools, hospitals and sadly even our cemeteries on daily basis with their checkpoints manned by young heavily armed soldiers has made our lives unbearable. But our struggle continues with zeal for our freedom.

Living under such harsh conditions has changed our perceptions and psyche on life. My story is one of many shared by my people. We all have dreams and so did I, but sometimes we have to change our paths because our reality demands it. This happened to me when I was working part time as a chef in Israel where I was studying economics. While working and studying away from home I would get news of my eldest brother’s arrest every so often for taking part in peaceful demonstrations in Bil’in against the expansion of settlements and the apartheid wall. My elder brother was seriously injured when he was hit by a gas canister in the head; he was in a critical condition and in coma for 25 days and almost lost his life. Shortly after my cousin Bassem Abu Rahma was killed in a cold blooded attack when an Israeli soldier opened fire and killed him.

These events rekindled within me that it was time I leave my work and studies and move back to West Bank to help my people and document the TRUTH about our struggle against the illegal occupiers of our land. This I did by taking up a camera and through its lens record the images wrought with the daily changed reality in the West Bank. The pictures in this book are a select of the body of work I have taken and continue to do so to show the world what is really happening in Palestine. I changed my career path from accounting to journalism and began documenting the weekly peaceful demonstrations as well as the ill treatment of my people in Palestine by Israeli soldiers. It’s my mission to share the true stories of what is happening to my people in Palestine with images to counter the falsehood and propaganda put out to the world by Israelis feeding the mainstream international media. There is obvious bias and lack of news in the west. Many credible studies on this issue have proved time and again that western media is complacent in this bias.

The idea of a book came from this thought to share a collection of images that reflect the truth of our lives from the joys to the sorrows hence the title of my book – the roots of our hearts run deep into the land we belong to.

The occupation will not remove us from our land, we will stay in our land as the roots of the olive trees."

~ Hamde Abu Rahma

Purchase Roots Run Deep - Life in Occupied Palestine at .

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