Voices in Hebron: “They are killing us slowly each day” – Murad Amro, 23, from Hebron

Murad Amro [Photo: Eero Mantymaa, EAPPI]

Murad is 23 years old and still remembers Shuhada Street before it became a desolate strip lined with soldiers, settlements and checkpoints. He used to come here each week with his mother, he tells me. The place bustled with life. The street wasn’t just the heart of Hebron; it was the heart of the southern West Bank.

This was nearly twenty years ago. Today, the shops have been welded shut by the Israeli army, and the markets lay empty. Hundreds of Palestinian families have been forced out. Since 1994, Palestinians have been banned from driving on the street. Since 2001, they have been banned from walking on all but a short section. This is all done on behalf of the few hundred settlers living on the street, whose presence violates international law.

Silently I wonder what it’s like, looking past soldiers down the street of your childhood, where you haven’t walked in years.

Instead of the locked doors and stray dogs, the smashed windows and armed settlers – and of course the soldiers – perhaps you still see the dairy market, the leather market, the chicken market. Maybe you hear the fruit sellers greeting your mother. Maybe you still feel them rustling your hair.

Then I wonder how it feels now, when you pass through a military checkpoint onto Shuhada Street each day – that small strip still open to you – to be greeted by a soldier pointing his gun at your face.

Then Murad breaks the silence and I stop wondering. “They could shoot me and it would be okay,” he says. “But this is worse. It’s killing me slowly each day. It’s killing all of us each day.”

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Voices in Hebron: “They are killing us slowly each day” – Murad Amro, 23, from Hebron

  1. Maggie Lewis

    this is so very sad…..it feels like there is nothing to hope for. not even the smallest bit of light in the tunnel…

    • chrisjamescox

      There is hope! I will write a more hopeful piece soon – there are lots of wonderful people doing good work to resist the occupation and change the situation (Murad is one of them)

  2. Murad Amro

    Thank you my friend for writing and yes as you said there is more and more to tell the people about the ” Ghost Town ” of Hebron
    every body are welcome to visit the city and to see the life in Hebron

  3. Haneen Battrawi

    Am very happy this is published this is the smallest thing people everywhere can know. Murad is one of a few who are being stabbed or killed daily, a very hard life the Palestinian people are living all over the occupied land.

  4. Thanks for this, Chris. It really gets behind the situation and reminds us of the humanity of all involved. Most poignant and painful for those like Murad who have such personal memories of how things used to be, of course – but what must this also be doing to the hearts and souls of those who guard and perpetuate this absurd and inhuman situation? Our thoughts and prayers go with you, and all those who stand for a different humanity, and a better future.
    Jane

  5. Murad Amro

    Thank you

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