Saturday, June 18, 2011

Nasr's Farm

Nasr's Farm Jun 14, 2011

Nasr used to live in a house with his wife and 5 children on a beautiful patch of land that he farms with his brother. They have an orchard, olive trees, watermelon, peppers, aubergine and squash. Walking down a narrow dirt road past the orchard, the land suddenly opens to gently rolling farmland. In the distance you can see the border fence.

Nasr and his family live on the edge of the buffer zone in the northern Gaza Strip. Following the border fence you can see several watch towers securing Israel. No one ensures the safety of Nasr and his family.

One year ago the Israeli army attacked his home. The children were playing outside, Nasr’s wife, Naama, was in the front yard. Shortly before sunset a tank located on a mound 500 meters from the home fired shells packed with nails at the home. Nasr's wife, torn to ribbons, bled to death in the yard when ambulances were not permitted down the narrow dirt road to his home.

Nasr's home was attacked again this past April. Nasr was afraid to move or even put on a flashlight, for fear of additional shelling. He heard two of his children cry out. They were buried under the rubble in the hallway of the upper story of the house, but they survived. On both occasions the Israeli military claimed to have been shooting at terrorists.

You can see the Israeli military outpost about 2 kilometers from Nasr’s front entrance way. The sheet metal siding of the house has hundreds of nail shaped holes in it. Nasr points to the spot where his wife died as we enter the house.

After the second attack, Nasr’s family moved to a house in the village, near to the cemetery where his wife was buried. One night, around midnight, Nasr woke to find his children gone. He went outside and found them at their mother’s grave. The next day he left that house and returned to his land.

Nasser and his family now live in a couple of tents near his olive trees. His brother’s family remains in the first floor of the house. The second story is destroyed. Nasr and his brother still continue to farm the land. He recognizes that another attack could happen at any time, but he refuses to leave the land he was born on.