Ibtisam Khaled.. The story of a Palestinian mother and poet in the face of disease and occupation
Gaza- Ibtisam Khaled uses the description of “Jamal Al-Mahamil” a lot in her talk about the Palestinian woman. As much responsibility in the absence of the man.
Ibtisam also describes the woman as “the heart of the national cause,” and she tells – to Al Jazeera Net – that you can hardly find a Palestinian woman without the occupation having an impact on her life, but she remains steadfast as the olive trees with her “stock of patience and will.”
And Ibtisam herself is a model for this woman, and after her life was going normally, as a girl who married a young girl at the age of 14 in the eighties of the last century, something happened that made her fly outside the boundaries of her small home in a refugee camp in the city of Rafah (southern Gaza Strip).
Ibtisam considers the arrest of her eldest son, “Ammar” by the occupation, in 2003 after he was hit by two bullets, and at that time a 17-year-old was a “turning point” in her life. “The shock of Ammar’s arrest and the 15-year prison sentence pushed me to what I am today.”
Since then, and even after her son was released in 2015 after spending 12 years in prison, Ibtisam became a “familiar face” in the sit-in squares and in solidarity with the prisoners.
And when Ibtisam found that education helped her more in conveying her message, she did not hesitate to return to school after a break of about 23 years. She says, “At 37 years old, I took the level exam for the third year of middle school, and I was the only successful student in the southern Gaza Strip in 2011.”
After passing a year of secondary studies and obtaining a “Tawjihi Certificate”, Ibtisam joined the university, specializing in “Technological Management”, but the disease of her youngest son, Mahmoud, with cancer forced her to postpone studies and devote himself to it.
Pain and hope
Ibtisam – who gave birth to 11 sons and daughters – says that the “wheel” of her life stopped completely for a whole year, during which she devote herself to accompany Mahmoud for treatment in an Israeli hospital inside occupied Palestine in 1948, until he joined 3 other of his brothers who lost their lives due to this “dreaded disease”.
Mahmoud needed a “marrow transplant”, and the medical examinations for all family members did not match him, and after about two months of procrastination and with strenuous efforts and the intervention of human rights institutions; The occupation authorities agreed to bring his brother Ammar from prison as a last resort, and he donated the marrow to his brother, but the operation failed and Mahmoud died.
As much as the sadness of Mahmoud’s separation, Ibtisam was in pain because she was unable to see Ammar – who was separated by a wall inside the hospital – and she was then forbidden from visiting him inside prison for 6 years.
This experience made Ibtisam increase her belief in the prisoners’ cause, and devote herself to the struggle for them, and to inform the world about their suffering in prisons. It was her first literary and poetic step, as well as numerous participations in conferences and internal and external events in support of the prisoners.
A struggle on the literary front
Ibtisam got closer to the families of the prisoners, and delved into the details of their suffering, and completed the first study that dealt with the psychological and social effects of the policy of deportation practiced by Israel against a number of the editors of the “Wafaa Al-Ahrar” deal – known in the media as the “Shalit deal” – as well as those known to deport the Church of the Nativity from Bethlehem. to Gaza.
Ibtisam says that “deportation is equivalent to death.” With this policy, Israel wants to break the will of the prisoner and his family, by removing him from his environment. However, she is proud of the many models she described as “honorable” for deportees who have failed the goals of the deportation policy, and succeeded in continuing their personal life and even the struggle.
And after Ibtisam found support and encouragement from her followers on social media platforms, for her literary and poetic texts, she published her first poetry publication entitled “About About You” last year, located in 183 pages of medium size, and dealt with the cruelty of life in Gaza due to the occupation and siege, The woman was at the heart of this suffering.
A few days ago, I published the second poetic version entitled “Silent Dukes”, and it is located in 100 pages of medium volume, and divided it into 3 titles: “A homeland with a pierced sail”, “The Broken Time”, and “Letters of the Soul”.
Ibtisam says that her book “Mute Dukes” will be shown at the Cairo International Book Fair this month, in which she addressed in poetic texts national issues and concerns that the Palestinians suffer under occupation, including borders and distances, which are an Israeli creation to create “discord and dispersal.”
And Ibtisam herself – who comes from a refugee family residing in Ramallah in the West Bank since the emigration to Jaffa during the Nakba in 1948 – suffers from these limits that prevent her from seeing her sick seventy-year-old mother, for more than 20 years.
The occupation authorities repeatedly refused to grant Ibtisam permits to pass through the Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing to visit her family in Ramallah, and she says with great sadness and pain that she suffers from isolation due to her absence for many years from her family’s happy and sad occasions.