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Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Farha Barghothy, Memory Eternal

Farha Barghothy died on Saturday. According to IMEMC "she is remembered as a great popular poet, and one of the leaders of the Palestinian women movement.

She led several procession and strikes in support of the detainees confined in Israeli detention facilities and prisons."

The following is an account from Palestine Information Center of the last time she saw her imprisoned sons in April.

The 74-year-old Farha Barghothy, or "Mother of prisoners", as others would like to call her, from Cobar village near Ramallah city, was admitted to the intensive care unit at the city's Zayed hospital on 10/4/2005 suffering various ailments worst of which is pneumonia.

Doctors at the hospital told her family that "everything in the hands of Allah" which means she is about to die and they can do nothing for her. The mother kept reiterating "I want to see them before I meet my creator" of her two jailed sons in Ashkelon Israeli prison, Nael, the youngest, and his elder brother Omar.

Nael and Omar were arrested in 1978 after the Israeli occupation forces accused them of killing an Israeli pilot. Nael was not released since then, while Omar was released in 1985 but was rearrested later and joined his brother in the same jail a year and a half ago. All agreements and deals for the past 27 years failed to bring them back to the compassionate bosom of their mother.

The mother never lost hope that she would see her jailed sons before she died. She appealed with the PA to arrange a visit with the Israelis to enable her to see her two sons for the last time.

She was granted approval by the Israelis, who did not allow her to see Nael for the past six years for the security threat this aged mother might cause to them.

On the thirteenth of April, an ambulance brought the dying mother from the hospital and drove her to the Ashkelon prison where Nael and Omar are held.

Noor Amer, wife of the Palestinian prisoner Jasser Amer, accompanied the dying mother. Along the way, the mother was repeating "I hope I can see them before I pass away," Nur said.

"When we reached at Ofer checkpoint, an Israeli ambulance took us to the Ashkelon prison. The health condition of the aged mother deteriorated along the way and I thought she can't do it but I prayed for her to see her sons," she added.

"Upon our arrival to the prison, the Israeli authorities prevented me from continuing with the sick mother.

"They only allowed me to accompany her when they realized that she can't walk," Noor elaborated.

She said that the prisons' authority informed the two brothers of the visit half an hour before our arrival. "The mother did not believe that only few minutes remained for her to be able to see her children for the last time. The two were brought to the visitors' room, and once they saw their mother, they started weeping and saying 'Oh beloved mother …. oh beloved mother.' They fell on their knees kissing the hands and feet of their mother. It was, indeed, the most tragic and emotional scene I have ever seen."

"'Thanks to Allah… Thanks to Allah that I saw you before I pass away,' the mother said. The two tried to hide their emotions but they couldn't, everyone in the room was crying. Na'el, due to his uncontrolled emotion left the room before the end of the visit. He covered his face with his hands, he couldn't see his mother in that condition, while Omar the eldest remained till the visit ended and accompanied her to the farthest point he was allowed to reach and bade his mother farewell."

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