The Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs received a letter from hunger striking Palestinian prisoner Thaer Halahleh addressed to his two year old daughter Lamar, most likely passed on by one of Addameer’s lawyers Mona Neddad during her last visit to the Ramle prison hospital on Thursday, May 10.
In the latest installation of prisoner profiles for Al-Akhbar English News, I wrote how Lamar who was born while Thaer was imprisoned only knows her father through pictures and posters.
“A month later on July 19, Thaer became a father to baby Lamar but only got to meet her months later on October 9, the first visit allowed him since his last arrest and the only time his family were able to see him. Lamar is almost 2 years old now, and knows her father through pictures. She goes to sleep with a photo of her father tucked beneath her cheek. She is convinced that there is a wedding every day because of the solidarity tent set up outside the family home in the Hebron village of Kharaas. Her mother Shireen cries privately when Lamar insists on wearing a new dress every day.”
Below is a translated version of Thaer’s letter, by Jalal Najjar:
“My Beloved Lamar, forgive me because the occupation took me away from you, and took away from me the pleasure of witnessing my firstborn child that I have always prayed to God to see, to kiss, to be happy with. It is not your fault; this is our destiny as Palestinian people to have our lives and the lives of our children taken away from us, to be apart from each other and to have a miserable life. Nothing is complete in our lives because of this unjust occupation that is lurking on every corner of our lives turning it into eeriness, a continuous pursuit and torture. Despite the fact that I was deprived from holding you and hearing your voice, from watching you grow up and move around in the house and in your bed, and that I was deprived of my role as a human and a father with my daughter, your existence has given me all the power and hope, and when I saw your picture with your mother in the sit-in tent, you were so calm staring in wonder at people, as if you were looking for your father, looking at my pictures that are hung inside the tent asking in silence why is my father not coming back. I felt that you are with me, in my sentiment and inside my mind, as if you are a part of my heartbeats, steadfast and the blood that flows in my veins, opening all doors for me spreading clear skies around me, and unleashing your free childish voice after this long silence.”
“Lamar my love: I know that you are not to be blamed and that you don’t yet understand why your father is going through this battle of hunger strike for the 75th day, but when you grow up you will understand that the battle of freedom is the battle of going back to you, so that I can never be taken away from you again or to be deprived of your smile or seeing you, so that the occupier will never kidnap me again from you.”
“When you grow up you will understand how injustice was brought upon your father and upon thousands of Palestinians whom the occupation has put in prisons and jail cells, shattering their lives and future for no reason other then their pursuit of freedom, dignity and independence. You will know that your father did not tolerate injustice and submission, and that he would never accept insult and compromise, and that he is going through a hunger strike to protest against the Jewish state that wants to turn us into humiliated slaves without any rights or patriotic dignity.”
“My beloved Lamar keep your head up always and be proud of your father, and thank everyone who supported me, who supported the prisoners in their struggle, and don’t be afraid for God is with us always, and God never lets down people who have faith and patience. We are righteous, and right will always prevail against injustice and wrong doers.”
“Lamar my love: that day will come, and I will make it up to you for everything, and tell you the whole story, and your days that will follow will be more beautiful, so let your days pass now and wear your prettiest clothes, run and then run again in the gardens of your long life, go forward and forward for nothing is behind you but the past, and this is your voice I hear all the time as a melody of freedom”.
Addameer confirmed that Thaer’s letter was not passed to his family by them. The letter was first published by Ma’an News Agency.