—Bend down my love till the storm passes.

—All this bending down has turned my back into a bow. When are you going to release your arrow?
   [You reach one hand out to the other, and find a handful of flour]

—Bend down my love till the storm passes.

—All this bending down has turned my back into a bridge. When will you cross?
   [You try to move your feet, but the iron does not budge]

—Bend down my love till the storm passes.

—From all this bending down my back has turned into a question mark. When will you answer?
   [The interrogator plays a record on which there is a burst of applause]

When the storm dispersed them, the present was shouting at the past: “It’s your fault.” And the past was transforming its crime into a law. As for the future, it was a neutral observer.

When the storm passed, all this curvature was complete, transformed into a circle whose beginning and end are not known.


—Take a break after each moan, and tell us who you are.

By the time he was conscious again, the blood had dried.

—I’m from the West Bank.

—And why did they torture you?

—There was an explosion in Tel Aviv, so they arrested me.

—And what do you do in Tel Aviv?

—I’m a construction worker.

The state of affairs in which Arab laborers from the West Bank or the Gaza Strip worked in Israeli cities had not yet become a general condition. Immediately after the last defeat, Arab public opinion expected the Arab laborer to starve in order to maintain steadfastness and rejection of the occupation. No one in a position of responsibility, however, had thought about the question of securing a means of livelihood for those under occupation so that they could continue in their steadfastness and refusal to cooperate with the conquerors.

—When the guns are silent, don’t I have the right to feel hungry?

What do you say to someone who poses the question this way? We do not have the power to grind national anthems and rousing speeches, knead them, and turn them into bread.

It is most dangerous for the homeland under occupation to turn into a loaf of bread. It is also terrible that the population living under military occupation should be forced to go hungry due to the present circumstances of political and military silence.

—During a state of war when battles are raging, we do not think much about the quality of life. Declare a war or fight a battle and we will make all the necessary sacrifices. But when the guns are quiet, we have the right to feel hungry.

And why do we forget, or pretend to forget, that Israel itself was built with Arab hands?

What a paradox! And what a shame!


They offer you a red apple, and ask, “Have you tasted Syrian apples?”

How delicious apples are in prison! It is the only thing that transforms the color of ashes into the color of fire.

You say to them: “Syrian apples have invaded Israeli markets, they are bigger, more beautiful, and cheaper. The Jews buy them without batting an eyelid, in spite of protests from the kibbutzim, which are forced to reduce the price of their own apples.

—What brought you here, Syrian brothers? We were preparing to meet you at home in Damascus, and not in prison.

—They arrested us and charged us with stealing back into Quneitra.

—Every return is an infiltration. This is the luck of the Arabs.

—They said we came in order to spy.

—Spying on the houses and the orchards?

—Something like that

—And did they charge you with stealing your own apples?

—They have not charged us yet.

—How long have you been under arrest?

—Eleven months, one week, and three days.

All of a sudden they ask:

—You know them. Do you think they will charge us with being Syrian?

—Are you not Syrian?

—Yes. We’re Syrian.

—Is that what you’re charged with?

—We don’t know.