Reference : V-P-IL-E-02992
Date : 18/04/2017
Caption : Northern Gaza, Jabalia camp. Portrait of a 77-year-old widow who has 14 children. Her son was detained for a total of 27 years, she was able to visit him thanks to the family visit programme of the ICRC.
Photographer : ALWAHEIDI, Nidal
Confidentiality level : public
Publication restrictions : publication without restrictions
Copyright : ICRC
Description : She has known the ICRC since 1983, when her son was detained for the first time for an initial 18-month period. She explains: “We knew that the ICRC visited detainees and prisoners. During the Intifada, when our kids were throwing stones at patrols and used to get arrested as a result, we used to head to the ICRC office. They were our reference point.”
In 1986, her husband and four sons were detained for several months. She was able to visit them with the assistance of the ICRC’s family visits program. When her husband and three of her sons were released, she maintained contact with the ICRC as her remaining son was still detained.
She used to send letters and photos to him through the ICRC’s representatives, and receive letters and news from him in return.
She remembers sitting in a solidarity tent and taking part in a hunger strike during a visit by former US President Bill Clinton, when he met with the late PLO Chairman, Yasser Arafat. Her detained son was on hunger strike at the time and she joined the strike in solidarity and was in her ninth day. She recalls: “I was together with another person in the solidarity tent that day. We both rushed to the ICRC office to get the latest news about our sons, who were both on hunger strike. When we got back to the site of the solidarity tent, we found that the tent had been removed. We headed back to the ICRC and were pleased that they agreed to set up a tent for us inside their premises.”
“The most beautiful day in my life was the day my son was released; the feeling of joy I experienced then, will always be in a league of its own.” It was a Tuesday when he was released. She had bought sweets to distribute to the detainees’ families who had gathered at the ICRC office, where they had come to express solidarity with their sons. She received a phone call from her son’s attorney, announcing that her son would be released that day. She remembers running to welcome him, whooping with joy along the way, as she anticipated the moment when she could finally embrace him.
She spends her days visiting her daughters and sons and playing with her grandchildren. She also goes along to social events in the community and never misses the weekly sit-in in solidarity with the detainees. She expresses her gratitude to every member of the ICRC who helped her visit her son and helped her get news about him.
Original material : digital
Resolution : 5601x3734
Orientation : landscape
Colour/B&W : colour