Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Interview with a jailed protestor

From bmy good friend shlomo wollins's website

An Interview With A Jailed Protestor
By Tirtza Shomron(19 years old)Neve Dekalim
28 Iyar 5765/June 6, 2005
I recently interviewed a 15 year old who was imprisoned while protesting at a road block. To keep his anonymity I will refer to him as D.
T.S. How did you get to the road blocking in Jerusalem?
D I hitch-hiked from my Yeshiva.
T.S. By yourself?
D With 3 of my friends.
T.S. Did your family know you were going?
D Yes.
T.S. Were they supportive?
D Yes. They respected me wanting to block roads, but were not happy about it – especially when they knew I could be arrested.
T.S. What did you take with you to the road blocking?
D My Tefilin and my siddur (prayer book).
T.S. Did you take your cellphone?
D No, I didn’t take it. If I were to be arrested I did not want them to be able to identify me nor take it away.
T.S. What were the drivers’ responses to the road blockage at the protest?
D About 50% told us, “Good for you – we support you completely. About 50% sat in their cars and said and did nothing. A few yelled at us. One man at us that he had divorced his wife and is allowed to see his kids once every two months and because of us he wouldn’t be able to see them. We let him through – but only him. There were no other incidents like that.
T.S. Did you give the drivers refreshments like at other road blocks?
D No, but we did give out candies.
T.S. How long after you arrived at the protest were you arrested?
D Between an hour and a half and two hours. There were already 70-80 people protesting by that time, and more coming, filling in for the people arrested. I was in one of the first groups of people who were arrested.
T.S. What were you doing when you were arrested?
D Sitting in the street in front of a car.
T.S. Did you fight and/or struggle with the police that arrested you?
D No, not at all.
T.S. How were you arrested?
D One officer held me while the other punched me twice in the legs. Then they threw me into the police van.
T.S. How did the officers treat you once you were in the van?
D They laughed at me and called me “idiot.”
T.S. What did you answer?
D I didn’t. I kept quiet.
T.S. Where were you taken?
D To a place called “Migrash Harusim” in Jerusalem.T.S. How long was the drive?D About 20 – 45 minutes.
T.S. Were you handcuffed?
D Yes, not with the metal kind but with a tough nylon-plastic string kind.
T.S. What happened at “Migrash Harusim?
D I was taken into a pathetic, disgusting office for investigation. The office had gray unpainted cement walls. There was a table with four chairs and a lot of cameras in plain view. A police officer was standing on the side and the investigator was standing in front of me. I told him my name, personal identity number, and that since it is a political investigation, I will take my right of silence. They got extremely mad at me. They threatened to sue me and to beat me up. The investigator said that I was not behaving like a Jew and therefore he was ashamed to be one. After that I was taken into a cell for 12 hours. It was very crowded. There were 20-30 people in one cell- all of them ages 14-18.In the morning I was taken in a big “zinze” (police van) 2ith 20 other boys to “Abu Cadir” ( a court house in Tel Aviv). We were taken into a “waiting room” that was under the court house – outside from the cells holding real criminals, murderers, thieves… One saw that we had Tefilin and asked us to put it on him – which we did. We were then taken into the court room in pairs. The judge told us that he was extending arrest.Afterwards we were taken to the “Matseyahu prison.” There we went through a security check and were put in a cell. The cell was big and there was enough room for all of us. I was there one night. We danced, sang, and learned Torah. There was a Beit Midrash (house of study) that was amazing. The food was great and the beds comfortable.The next day I went through another investigation. I signed that I wouldn’t go to Tel Aviv for 30 days and was let out. If I would have been told that I was to be under house arrest for 9 months like other people and not allowed to participate in future demonstrations, then I definitely would not have signed and would still be in prison today like many others.
T.S. Do you think blocking the roads was successful?
D Yes. Definitely.
T.S. Would you do it again?
D No. We proved on that day that we could prevent the government from carrying out the evacuation plan. And I don’t think there is any need to do the drill again and inconvenience people.
T.S. What about when it won’t be a drill but the real thing; the beginning of the “Disengagement Plan” and roads are being blocked among other things. Will you participate?
D By that time I hope to be living in Gush Katif. But if not, then yes.
T.S. Are you prepared to be arrested again?
D Yes –for the sake of my country.


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