Where was I?



I was in Palestine.Watching small children walking four miles to go to school. The sky was gloomy and the temperature was chilling. Their threadbare jumpers were thin and their trousers were too big for them that they to wear belt to keep them from falling to their feet. Their shoes were ripped almost to the sole. They were running, crossing the street where tankers guns were pointing at them. The one with blue trousers almost trip and fell but his friend pulled his hand. They made it to the other side. All four of them.

One of them showed me their bag, it's empty except for a tattered book and short blunt pencil. His friend showed me his, and I saw the same tattered book and another short blunt pencil. Did all of them bought the books and pencils at the same shop, I wondered. They looked at me and I was mesmerized. Those grubby faces were smiling. Those aging eyes were looking at me innocently.

I heard a screeching sound. I turned. It was a tanker. Its rolling wheels were slowly gaining speed. Towards us. The occupational army were closing in. I looked back at the children. "Where are you going?" I asked.
"To school." They yelled and ran.

They clambered into a tiny hole in the wall, pushed the sharp barb wires with their tiny hands and disappeared.

I pulled my Regatta jacket close to me. I bought it at T,J Hugh Argyle Street in Glasgow for £20. The label said that it would protect me from the elements; wind, rain and snow. But, why do I still feel the chills?

I plodded further. This time I saw a group of university students queuing at check point. They were looking anxious. I asked one of them what were they waiting for. They said they were waiting for clearance to pass through. They need to go to the university because today is their final exam. They had spent almost ten years studying their degree and today exam will determine whether they will graduate or not.

Looking at them, I wouldn't have guessed that they were university students. They looked more like laborers who had finished a backbreaking jobs. "No, no," they said. "We had to travel miles just to go to university and study. Even worse we have very limited courses in our universities. There are no professors to teach us. We lacked of equipment and books. Yes! We don't have enough books in our library and we are not allowed to use any books from other libraries".

"Please let us pass! We have final exam today." Someone yelled.
"Only five people can pass through!" A soldier yelled back. He is young. No older than the group of university students. "You!" He pointed at the student who spoke to me.
"I suspect you carry weapons. We are going to strip search you."Three soldiers.
Young boys who maybe had just finished high school started manhandling the student. He looked at them with eyes full of fear. "What have I done?" he asked. "I am a student. I don't carry weapons. I carry only books."

Despite his pleas and reasoning, he was strip searched. Down to his underwear. It was very undignified. To be stripped down at check point, in public. In front of everyone. In front of girls. Especially when the girl he secretly admired was there, watching. It was embarrassing. He tried to protest. His sudden movement shocked the inexperience soldier. I heard a loud bang. He stopped moving.

I saw blood flowing onto the tarmac. Red and thick. The soldiers moved away, leaving the body of the student clad only in his white underwear lying face down on the tarmac. Stripped from his clothes, stripped from his dignity.

Credit: Haruhi no blog

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