Robin Yassin-Kassab

The Martyrdom of Shaden al-Saleh

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This video concerns Israel’s 2002 murder of a Palestinian teacher,cultural activist and neighbourhood organiser, Shaden al-Saleh. Shaden was the mother of Saed Abu Hijleh, who witnessed the murder and gives his own account here. Saed teaches political geography at Nablus’s an-Najah University, writes poetry, blogs, organises, and provides me with wonderful food and information, for which I’m very grateful. He’s a well-educated member of the Nablus middle classes. He’s also been shot in the belly and in the shoulder and has been imprisoned five times. But his suffering is not unusual. Everybody in Nablus has a story to tell. I’ve just returned from the prison, and over the next couple of weeks I aim to convey a few of the stories I heard. An example of Saed’s English-language poetry is over the fold.

by Saed J. Abu-Hijleh, Nablus, Palestine, July 14, 2008

He snapped his fingers and the other one shot,
All of what it is became what is not,
Love became hate, life became death,
As Mother of All let out her last breath…
All of humanity froze,
The “Iron Fist” killed the most beautiful rose…
A surgeon of Ear, Throat, and Nose,
Stood by and watched the love of forty years
End in a river of tears…


A shooting star is quite far
Yet it makes the heart move
With hope
With desire…
How can a distant fire
Calm the fire inside?!
How can a single fish bring down the tide?

No where to hide
Time to respond:
Close your eyes
Count to seven
A ‘shooting heart’
From earth to heaven.


He shook my hand for the first time
Few of his fingers were missing
Compensated by a beautiful smile
The kind that makes you go the extra mile…

A year later his arm was missing
The beautiful smile remained
The more he lost
The more we gained!

Fadi is now all missing
Entered earth on a journey
To the other side
But he left his smile engraved on my mind…

Written by Robin Yassin-Kassab

October 6, 2010 at 5:58 pm

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