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Life Stories

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> The Case of a Woman Behind Bars
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> Christian - Muslim living together
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Sandra Nasser, Bethlehem
submitted by Arab Educational Institute

“I took a decision that I had to be strong”

Before the second Intifada my life was going well and I was very happy because I had just started a new family. In 1996, I was newly married at the age of 17 after finishing my school. I was young then and so anxious to do things in life. I had my first son after 11 months of marriage so I became a new mother too. My husband and I were very happy with our son Nasser, and my father and mother in-law were also happy since Nasser was their first grandson. We all lived in the same house in order to help each other and share everything. So as a mother I took care of my son and my parents in law and I did the housework. My father in law had a factory for making rosaries from olive wood trees. He became old and couldn't continue working in the factory so my husband had to take his father's place as he was his only child. I helped him in his work since we are all one family and had to support each other.

After less than two years, I had my second child, Celine. Since that time our life became even better. I took my driving license and we bought a car. Our work was good and our situation was in progress.

Unfortunately, when the second Intifada started at the end of September 2000, I was a few months pregnant of my third child Angeline, and then our miserable journey started. Shooting came from both sides, from both the Israelis and the Palestinians, since we were living in Rachel's Tomb street which is considered C zone, under Israeli control. Our house was in the middle of the shooting so we were horrified.

The tanks were moving here and there and across the street with their frightening sounds.

One day, my son Nasser was looking through the window in order to see what was going on. Like any other child of his age he just wanted to know everything and ask about everything especially about such a strange situation as a result of the occupation. The front side of the tank suddenly targeted in his direction and he ran to me crying and telling that the tank was going to shoot him. He was very frightened.

There was no electricity and the situation stayed like that for several days. Since we were under curfew we spent all day like prisoners at home. At night the circumstances became more terrifying because of shooting from Israeli helicopters and the sound of shelling. The experience we faced at the time was really frightening and difficult for us and for our kids.

After two months Nasser was sick so we took him to Caritas Baby Hospital since it is near to us. The doctor told me that he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. I couldn't believe it, especially after the doctor told me that there was no cure for it, and that he needed to be injected with insulin shots several times a day and his blood sugar should be tested also several times a day for the rest of his life. All the family was depressed. As a result of the sadness we were in, my father in law had a heart attack and had to stay in hospital for several weeks. My husband had to stay with him while also working.

Then the economic situation became worse and we closed the factory since tourists stopped coming to the Holy Land. So my husband had to find another job to support the family as we were in need of money to buy our own basic things and to buy medication for my father in law and my son.

Nasser’s case obliged me to take him four times a day to the Caritas hospital, sometimes walking under the rain, and even though there was a curfew. I was pregnant and I felt really depressed and tired. At the beginning I refused to give him the shots, I couldn't bear seeing him injected daily with all those shots. I thought for a while but then I took a decision that I had to be strong in order to support him. Since that day I started giving him the shots and kept encouraging him and giving him hope.

Nasser is now 12 years old, in the seventh grade, an excellent student in his class and wants to study medicine. He is very active; he plays football in a team and lives his life normally as a 12-year old boy. These days, he tests his sugar levels by himself and takes the shots four times a day. So my son is now strong as I taught and raised him up.

Even though our area is dead since the establishment of the Wall and our factory is closed until now, we are still strong and steadfast in our home and land. These days, my husband and I are working to support our big family. Hopefully one day, the Wall will fall and peace will come.

Collected by: Sumud Story House
September 2009

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