Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

In Search of Fatima

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

In Search of Fatima

Article excerpt

In Search of Fatima

FOR US, AS FOR many others during that fateful time in Palestine's history, the Nakba started long before May 15, 1948. For at least a year before, everyday life as we knew it had changed, at first subtly, but later dramatically. As a child, I had no means of knowing why this was, only that no one was happy, I couldn't go out to play any more, my parents looked constantly worried and talked about nothing else but "the situation." Toward the end of 1947, my school closed down, and my brother's soon after-unprecedented events.

Strange and horrible things began to happen, like on the day when the poor Bedouin man came through our road as he always had, selling his home-made produce. But this time, he suddenly collapsed in front of our house, shot dead by a Jewish sniper from one of the empty houses opposite. Or when, in January 1948, massive explosions ripped through the Semiramis Hotel in the road above ours, a Haganah operation. All the glass in our windows shattered with the power of the explosion and we went next morning to see police, neighbors and friends dragging out the dead from beneath the hotel's smouldering ruins. …

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