Adan Masri at the 11th Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day Ceremony
My name is Adan Masri from the city of Nablus. I have eight children, six boys and two girls. My son Anan, my second child, was 16 years old in 1987, during the first intifada. As other youngsters who saw what was happening in their villages, he was pulled into the struggle against the occupation.
One day, during clashes between the youngsters and the army, he was wounded seriously in his leg. He was transferred to the hospital in order to receive treatment, however, because the proper medical equipment was not available, he was not fully treated. We asked that he'd be transferred overseas but the Israeli authorities refused to let him go unless he left and never returned. After they understood that he would not leave on their terms, Israeli Security Agency (Shin Bet) officials began threatening us over the phone that they would kill him if he did not leave. We refused at first, but in the end agreed so that my son could be properly treated and healed overseas. He left, and since then I haven't seen him, except for one time in which they allowed him to enter the country for 12 days in 2010.
Six years after my son was exiled, my fourth son Wisam was shot in the head and killed, when he was just 17. This took place on 27.9.1996, during clashes that followed Netanyahu's opening of the tunnels under Al-Aqsah Mosque. My son joined the others in clashes with the army near Joseph's Tomb. It was there that he fell after being injured in his head. After he left home I was fearful and terrified. When I heard he was dead I felt fire and rage burning in my chest. I was in shock, and later I sank into a depression that lasted about three years. I tried recovering from this condition and turned to writing so that I could express the fire and the rage burning inside me. And so, I started writing.
Sometime later, about two years ago, my friends suggested that I come with them to the Bereaved Parents Circle and meet Israelis, in order to tell my story and hear their stories. At first my children, my husband and I refused. But later I thought there was no harm in trying. so I went by myself and met people from bereaved families on both sides. For me personally, the first meeting was very difficult and heated, since I was still burning and raging inside. They heard my story, I heard their stories. They were extremely moved by my story, to the point that they wished such a thing would not have happened. Furthermore, I understood that they did not agree with what was being done to the Palestinians in general. The meetings continued, and as time passed we became more than friends. Today we wait in anticipation to meet again. After a number of meetings, I began to feel hope, that there are people who wish that we enjoy security and peace, side by side with them.
On this occasion, the remembrance day of victims from both sides, Palestinians and Israelis, I stand before you and wish to apologize that only a few of us, Palestinians, are with you here. Many others wished they could come but were not given permits. Nevertheless, those who are present among us today make us stronger, they create a force which is not easily deterred. Our presence here together and our standing together as one creates peace, and by ending the occupation we will stop the acts of killing, violence, animosity and bereavement on both sides. We shall create a framework of reconciliation which will be an integral part of the peace agreements.
I hope that peace will prevail, that it will embrace all, and that it will bring with it freedom, security, stability and serenity.
I wish to read some lines from a poem that I wrote for my son. My poetry was written for him but also for all mothers and their sons.
The dove flies everywhere
No embassies or roadblocks will stop it
It does not come across borders or visa
Nor a passport or an ID
And I saw my son flying with the doves
They asked me: "Has he gone in order to sleep?"
I said to them: "no".
He went flying with the flock of doves