By Hossam Shaker
It is rare to find scenes that can express a complex reality or major issue, but one such was some video footage leaked recently, which exposed part of the heinous interrogation of a Palestinian child. Ranking officers in the Israeli occupation security services tried to overpower a 13 year old boy, break his will and crush his dignity.
The astonishing video shows the impressive resilience of the Palestinian people, represented by this child from Jerusalem. The boy, Ahmed Manasrah, remains strong, unwilling to break, no matter how much the Israeli officers aggravate him with moral and physical pressure. The injured child was seen standing in the face of the human monsters who earn their daily bread by spreading systematic intimidation and fear in this manner.
Manasrah has a story to tell. A number of Israelis crowded around him after he was injured and left him to bleed for an extended period of time. They cursed and insulted him as he lay in his own blood on the side of the road after being hit by an Israeli car. Israelis the age of his father yelled fascist statements and obscene insults at him, while repeatedly telling him to die. This was videoed and the shocking footage was seen by the public across the world; but could he expect any better from the citizens of such a vile colonial country? Manasrah was arrested while he was still injured and accused of trying to stab someone. His 16 year old cousin, Hassan, was executed by swift trigger-fingers with no questions asked. Another video of Ahmed was leaked showing him in hospital, a wounded child alone and handcuffed to the bed. This was followed by the newest video of the boy being interrogated, thus exposing the current Israeli situation warts and all, without any propaganda effects or makeup.
The interrogation scene sums up the reality, as Israeli institutions and security forces continue to pursue children relentlessly and adopt the necessary laws and measures required to do so; some shocking laws are on their way through the Knesset. This is a state where the masses are chanting “Death to Arabs” and calling for harsher measures against the Palestinians, months after electing an even more radical government than before. The inaccurately named Israel Defence Forces, meanwhile, do not hesitate in carrying out on-the-spot field executions by shooting anyone acting in an unfamiliar way, even if they are children — but only if they look Arab.
The chilling video reveals a few minutes of shocking, systematic oppression of a child in one of Israel’s countless intimidatory interrogation rooms across Palestine. What sort of psychological horror movie would we come out with if an entire day in such a place was caught on film? We may get the answer from the Palestinians who saw the “first showing” with their own eyes in the same rooms, including hundreds of children arrested by the Israeli army over the past month and who have been subjected to harsh interrogations.
The horrible clip gives us a rare opportunity to take a look at the Israeli occupation system from the inside. How pathetic it is as they try to fight the facts of history by continuing to oppress the Palestinian people, pressuring the families and children and blackmailing them in order to report the behaviour of their peers. The occupation system would not dare ask the children fundamental questions such as: what made you participate in a demonstration? Pick up a stone? Think of using a knife? The question about their motives equates to a question regarding the fate of the occupation itself because eliminating the driving forces behind such actions can only be achieved by ending the occupation.
What the Israeli occupation system essentially wants is to spread fear in the ranks of the Palestinian people and intimidate the new generation with these oppressive measures which aim to break their spirit. As such, what we saw in the video is nothing new compared to what other Palestinians have gone through, it just that this unprecedented leaked footage allows the world to see what Israel is up to. What is new, though, is that the brutal individuals in the videos have become the true spokespeople for the Israeli government, its institutions, army, intelligence agencies and police. They spoke to the world by means of this video in the language of reality that does not contain any of the verbal manoeuvres typically used by official spokespeople to cover their tracks.
As for Ahmed Manasrah, he has the right to speak on behalf of Palestine because anything he will say, and in whatever language he says it, will be more eloquent than what a hesitant president will have to say. The same president has been stuck in the maze called the “peace process” and has been betrayed by successive Israeli governments, occupants of the White House and the politicians leading on foreign policy in Europe.
Manasrah has every right to stand at the UN podium one day and tell the world the story of the young boy who was run over, injured, roughed up, handcuffed and insulted, as he represents a Palestinian generation that dreams of freedom and which the Israeli occupation, with all its might, has failed to oppress, break, or steal the hope of freedom from their eyes. He may start his speech by saying, “I am Ahmed Manasrah. When I was a child, my country was occupied…” and the audience will rise from their chairs to applaud him and cover their shame at the years of silence in the face of Israel’s brutal military occupation.