Ramallah – “Ammar.. One of the masked men shouted loudly as if he knew him, but Ammar did not turn around and did not move as if he was not interested in this name. Then this masked man ran towards Ammar and carried him before the soldiers reached him and ran with him towards the village. When they reached a safe place, the masked man said what were you doing there? Are you crazy? Ammar did not speak a single word, but hugged the masked man, and after two minutes, what are you doing here? I thought you were in the mosque, Ammar said humbled.
This text is part of a story presented by the writer Ahmed Hourani to children, in which he documented the story of the guards of Jabal Sobeih in the village of Beita in the northern West Bank, who have continued since May 2021 in their popular resistance that began after a group of settlers attempted to establish an outpost “Avitar” on the mountain, during which they created Village residents Resistance activities and nighttime confusion activities forced the settlers to evacuate the settlement.
The story, which summarized this exceptional experience of popular resistance in Palestine in simple language and realistic events for children, deals with the story of the child “Ammar” who comes from America to visit his family in Beta and begins to learn about what is happening in the village while accompanying his cousins ”Mohammed” and “Maha” who Despite their young age, they used to participate in mountain activities, like all the children of the village.
Gradually Ammar becomes involved with the resistance and begins to form his national awareness by understanding what is happening and sharing it through secret resistance work with “Mohammed” and “Maha” with simple tools such as flying a balloon and rolling a large rock to obstruct the progress of the occupation army vehicles and training in using the slingshot.
The story simulates the reality of what is happening in the village in detail, which makes the reader think that its writer is one of the villagers, but in fact the writer has never been in Palestine and is a refugee who was born in Yarmouk camp in the Syrian capital Damascus, and he is currently residing in Sweden.
Beta Kids and “Supernatural Abilities”
Al-Hourani (38 years), a follower of all the events organized in Beta, through what his virtual friends publish on social media, which made his story closely match reality, he says, “After publishing the story and reading it from some of the villagers, I asked where I live in the village when I visit.”
The story, which is located in 74 pages of small pieces, included pictures that Al-Hourani was keen during its design to mimic the real environment in the village by being inspired by real pictures that reflect the rural environment of the village and include some of its features.
Why did I choose to have his story for children? During his speech to Al-Jazeera Net, Al-Hourani answers that he started thinking about writing the story when he was looking for a realistic story to read to his child, “Siraj”, that links him to Palestine and did not find it. He replaced it with “How to become a superhero?”, a global series about children with supernatural abilities. As he followed the events of PETA, he began to think that the Palestinians had the true archetypes of superheroes, so why not write about them?
The writer intelligently links the events of Beita with what is happening in occupied Jerusalem through Ammar’s visit to the city and a dialogue between him and his parents, which certainly ends with reminding the children that settlers are urgent in this country, when (Ammar) challenges them to win a competition if one of them was born in Jerusalem, and did not It comes from other countries.
For Al-Hourani, who works in the field of research writing, writing the story is the easiest stage. But the difficulty was in publishing, and he who contacted more than 30 publishing houses and got only 3 rejected responses, forcing him to publish them free of charge on the Al-Nour website, and he is currently seeking to translate them into Swedish and English.
Al-Hourani believes that the content of the story – patriotism and resistance – is what made publishing houses reluctant to publish it.
Repeated realistic scenes
But what made it easy for al-Hourani to publish was the reactions that praised the story from the villagers themselves, many of whom contacted him and thanked him for this work, which documented the experience of the village.
Journalist Mujahid Mufleh, who is the son of the village and a follower of all the activities in it, told Al Jazeera Net, “The events in the story are very similar to the events in the field in Beta. It is not a story of imagination so that its characters try to achieve the paranormal and the impossible, but rather live events and scenes inspired by what is going on on the mountain.”
According to Mufleh, the story includes details that children are currently experiencing, such as secrecy of children’s plans to manufacture catapults, blackmailing peers against each other to allow participation in events in exchange for not telling parents, competition, endless attempts to deceive parents to go out to the mountain, and mothers’ anxiety and fear, “all of which are Realistic scenes happen every day.”
This experience of narrating and documenting events, Mufleh says, must be built upon, through systematic work that encourages the production of works related to children, focusing on “how to tell them about the Palestinian issue,” in light of a systematic absence, and fighting the novel and the Palestinian right.