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In a very tiny “court” – one that offers no real justice or legitimacy – we waited impatiently to see you. Deep down we knew you weren’t coming home with us but we wished so hard that you were. Your father and brother started communicating news to you about your family and friends. Their body gestures irritated the guard, but your father and brother could not care less. Neither did you. And I, I was mesmerized by you, Lina. The minute you walked in, the kindness of your smile, the determination in your eyes, and your free soul dominated every part of my being.
I did not notice the hand and leg restraints until later on. I was so focused on your presence that I forgot to record the proceedings for the Right to Education Campaign. I did not want to lose sight of you. I wanted to remember every blink, every smile, every movement. I felt the need to do so. It was my duty to do so. I wanted to go back home and tell everyone about you. This is what I told them:
It was very stressful. Lina is one of the strongest girls I have ever seen in my life. The whole time she was smiling and laughing with her brother and father. They had three witnesses testifying against her. I only heard one of them speak and he lied throughout his testimony. Her lawyer was very smart, highlighting and challenging the inconsistencies in this witness’s version of events, but we knew justice wouldn’t be served.
I recall your father looking at you, tears filling his eyes, and telling you “bit-hoon” – hardships come to an end. You can see that there is something that is broken within him. You can see that he is aching badly because you do not come home each day. Oh Lina! He completely and wholeheartedly understands and supports you beyond infinity, but he is still broken. His wounds may heal in six months only if this unjust Occupation’s court decides to allow you to return to him.
I remember the moment you smiled at me. That day was the first time I saw you. That smile of yours gave me confirmation that Palestine is okay as long as you are okay. That Palestine continues to exist because of you and all the other courageous detainees.
You all continue to give us reason to resist and fight for our freedom. We salute you.
Stay strong, Lina. For you are a source of strength to so many, including myself.