(For a video of Marwa's story, see this at 3:19 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhIeWy4bCrQ)
and here too
here is a story in the Hartford Courant
By Christopher J. Doucot
When my boys were younger they slept with a night light on. The gentle glow of the bulb kept the monsters at bay and assured them that all was well. 10 year old Marwa Adel Al-Sharif has been staying with us for a week now. Her mother, Sahar, and she sleep with all the lights on in their room.
Marwa lives in the small town of Dura just outside of the West Bank city of Hebron with her parents, brother and 2 sisters. On July 17 the silence of Marwa’s night was invaded by the outrage of war. Marwa and her brother Mohamed were sleeping in an interior hallway so as to be protected from the Israeli military post on the hill outside their window when at 2:00 in the morning a bullet entered her bedroom window, ricocheted off a metal grate, penetrated her skull and traversed her brain. Mohamed ran from the house covered in his sister’s blood and refuses to return home.
Marwa was rushed to a hospital where the bleeding was stopped and the wound cleaned. She remained in a coma and on a respirator for five days as the doctors prepared the family for what they assumed was her certain death once the life supports systems were turned off. Miraculously the hand of God lifted her lids when the doctors called her name. The bullet however remained in Marwa’s brain because the West Bank surgeons did not have the tools to remove it safely.
I was in Israel and occupied Palestine for ten days in early August at the invitation of the International Solidarity Movement. (We quickly became known as “The Internationals”) I traveled with Catholic Workers Scott Schaeffer-Duffy or Worcester, Joe McKenzie-Hamilton of NYC, and Jessica Stewart of Ithaca. Our objective was to participate in nonviolent resistance to the occupation as organized by Palestinians and Israeli’s. We participated in the removal of a roadblock outside of Bethlehem. We spent a night in a home in Bet Jala acting as “human shields” to discourage an Israeli attack; our host’s home had been shot up several times in recent days. We joined nonviolent rallies outside of the recently Israeli occupied Orient House in Jerusalem.
At one of these rallies our 4 person Catholic Worker Peace Team interposed ourselves between Israeli and Palestinian boys who were throwing rocks at each other. Before we were able to convince the boys to stop an Israeli soldier was hit in the head with a rock. Soon thereafter there was a police riot. Police and soldiers rushed the demonstration swinging their clubs and beat several people. An American Jew who was a part of our rally was left with a severe bruise across his back from the whack of a police baton. The soldiers beat a Palestinian teenager senseless.
Another action was done in concert with Rabbi’s for Human Rights. We joined Rabbis, American Jews, and Israelis- including a Holocaust survivor- at a Palestinian wheat farm to help the farmer harvest his crop. The farmer needed our help because Israeli settlers from a nearby settlement have destroyed his home, threatened his family and damaged his crops. We spent the day harvesting wheat by hand. As we were leaving a settler arrived with a flock of sheep to eat the Palestinian’s crop. The rabbi who organized the action was able to defuse the situation.
It was nearly a month after she was shot that we heard of Marwa’s trauma. We knew immediately that we had to do something. Considering that the bullet almost certainly was made in the US we felt obliged to get it safely removed. To do so we needed to secure passports, visas, Israeli permission to enter Israel, medical clearance to fly, airline tickets, and medical care for Marwa. In the process of doing so we had to walk through a firefight to get to Jerusalem. Along the way we encountered an elderly woman carrying her 5-day-old nephew to the hospital. We surrounded the woman and child and escorted them to the hospital as an Israeli armored vehicle followed us and bullets whizzed by ten feet over our heads. Finally, we got Marwa and Sahar to Hartford and had the bullet removed. In the recovery room she thanked the doctor and said to him “the pounding in my head has stopped”.
Oh! that the pounding in the hills of Hebron would stop. Israeli armed forces continued this week their practice of demolishing homes and assassinating Palestinians suspected of violent (and nonviolent) opposition to the Israeli violence. As I write there are reports of Israeli tanks taking up positions in Bet Jala, just outside of Bethlehem. The Israeli occupation of Palestine must come to an end and the settlements on Palestinian land must be dismantled. A free Palestine is the essential missing ingredient for peace in the Middle East. The United States should apply the same zeal (though not military force) in disarming Israel as they have in disarming Iraq. Rather than sending military aid to Israel the US could send in mediators, experts in dismantling weapons, counselors for the families who have lost loved ones to the violence, human rights observers and reconstruction aid. Houses can be rebuilt and silence may yet reign the night, but will Marwa ever again sleep soundly in the dark?
Please work and pray for peace with justice, justice with mercy and life with dignity for all of God's children.