Nablus – It is her first day, not only in the month of Ramadan, but also in the family meeting and meeting together and without the absence of any of her seven sons, and she is the one who used to this forced absence, the need Soad Bashkar (Umm Muhammad) did not live a single Ramadan for about a quarter of a century except for one of her sons A detainee in the occupation prisons, and sometimes they were 3 or 4.
In her home in the popular housing area east of the city of Nablus (northern West Bank), Umm Muhammad, 70, was preparing with her daughters and daughters-in-law to spread the first Ramadan table that would bring them together after the release of her last captive son, Abd al-Rahim, in early March.
An invaluable joy reminds Umm Muhammad of similar mothers of martyrs and prisoners who miss their sons at such times.
The prisoner’s calendar and his favorite food
In the courtyard of the house, which seemed to resemble a prison spree, Umm Muhammad was helping to prepare for the first breakfast with her children and family, while her daughters-in-law prepared Abdul Rahim’s favorite dish, “Mansaf Laban”, which reminded him of his last meals before his arrest 20 years ago.
A month has not passed since the release of Abd al-Rahim, but his mother prepared for him in a short time most of his needs for the holy month, so she bought him a dishdasha and other clothes to wear during the holy month. days of his liberation,” Umm Muhammad tells Al Jazeera Net.
As for the Ramadan decorations and the like, she left it to her children and grandchildren, who celebrated their way of releasing their captive Abd al-Rahim, so they printed a Ramadan calendar bearing his picture, his mother and his brothers and wrote on it, “Ramadan Al-Khair with Abu Bakr (the nickname of the captive Abd al-Rahim) is changed.”
Umm Muhammad, who roamed the occupation prisons from north to south, used to break her fast on her first Ramadan day at her eldest son at his home, and then continue breakfasts with the rest of her children, but this year will be different, as all brothers, wives and grandchildren will meet at one table and in the presence of mother Souad Bashkar, despite The chagrin left by the occupation by arresting her two grandchildren a long time ago.
This scene will bring back to the released prisoner Abd al-Rahim the memories of the prison he recently left. He and his family number about 80 people who will meet at one time, “and this is roughly the number of prisoners in one section of the prison,” he says with a laugh.
Inside the prison
For a while, the released prisoner Abdel Rahim Bashkar (39 years) told us about his condition in captivity and how he lived the 20th of Ramadan. He details its details with his companions in families in every room and section in 7 prisons, and how he is preparing to receive this month among his family now.
In the prison, Bashkar tells Al Jazeera Net that the prisoners’ Ramadan begins in Sha’ban, with the preparation of faith and galvanizing the determination to worship in its various forms; Reading the Qur’an and praying at night.
And it is not without the preparation of delicious meals, especially in the early days, away from “mjadara (lentils with rice)” and “pasta”, and there are prisoners who take the initiative and make various sweets, “and the goal is to alleviate the suffering of the prisoner and his loss of his relatives in such moments, especially the young prisoners.” age”; This is what Bashkar says.
There are many charitable initiatives inside the prison, especially with charity. There are those who provide dates and juices for each section (about 80 prisoners), and there is the “Al-Rayyan Fund” in which alms are collected to be given to prisoners inside or outside the prison to needy families.
And all of this revives the vigor of the captive in Bashkar and makes him think about the same activity outside his detention, and perhaps the most prominent new thing is his sermon and the meeting of his brothers together for the first time in years at a Ramadan table, and he is also preparing to eat his favorite foods at the hands of his mother during the holy month before his arrest.
Ramadan this month is marked by a prominent presence of dozens of prisoners who spent 20 years among their families, and who were arrested in conjunction with the 2002 Israeli invasion of West Bank cities and camps.
Muwashahat and Zina despite the pain
Like Bashkar, the released prisoner, Bilal Joudeh, prepares at his family home in the village of Iraq Al-Tayeh, east of Nablus, to eat “Akoub” (a spiny vegetable cooked with milk broth, and this is its season), which his seventy-year-old mother, Hajja Zaheda Joudeh, prepares, which he last entrusted 20 years ago when he was arrested.
And the table of poor need (Umm Bashar) will be decorated this year with her captive son Bilal, which will compensate for the absence of 4 of her expatriate sons outside the country, perhaps her table is incomplete; But it is enough for Bilal to attend her after his long detention, accompanied by his fiancée.
Bilal, who received Ramadan as if he was living it for the first time, went to the market and bought his supplies, especially Ramadan decorations for the house and for the neighborhood he participated in decorating, as he tells Al Jazeera Net, bringing back his memories of the detainee and how he and his fellow captives used to prepare handicrafts from the simplest tools they have and hang them in sections and rooms with joy at the arrival of Ramadan. .
In his colloquial language, Judeh, 43, told Al Jazeera Net, “Prison is not sweet, but the best thing about it is during Ramadan,” where feelings of joy and familiarity prevail more among the prisoners, and good foods and sweets are prepared, as well as the performance of worship to the fullest despite the restrictions of the occupation.
Joudeh, who travels between several Israeli prisons and prisons, is surrounded by a great longing for his mother’s food and his sitting with his family, and another longing to hear the Nabulsi Ramadan muwashshahs that characterize the city without other Palestinian cities. He practiced it inside his prison because of his strong attachment to it.
He is now occupied more and more by his fellow prisoners who he left behind, and he arranges visits to their families during the month of Ramadan, to check on their conditions and invite them to break the fast “to compensate for the absence of their children.”
Being arrested for 20 years and going out to find one or both of your parents is a blessing, and to live with them during the month of Ramadan is what 4,400 Palestinian prisoners in the prisons of the Israeli occupation wish for.