Maryann Ahmed, 1998
Photo by Tony Caldwell

Came across 1998 article by Jacki Leroux, with photos by Tony Caldwell. Part two of a five-part series on “The Great Divide“. This one called “The Gaza Strip: Mortal Enemies”, as published in the Ottawa Sun, November 5, 1998, pp. 23-34. In the days when newspapers dedicated significant resources to international investigative journalism.

Story of the Jabalia refugee camp and the nearby settlement of Nezarim.

Struck by the image.

Then struck by the text:

“We hate the Jews very, very, very much because they take the land,” says Maryann Ahmed, 19, speaking in a matter of fact tone, her dark eyes bright with innocence.

“Now they want to take Jerusalem. It’s our city.”

Maryann is just 15 days from giving birth…

Maryann, a recent high-school graduate, insists the non-Arabic-speaking stranger sit next to her since she is the only one in the room who speaks English.

With the face of an angel, her smile warm and inviting, her touch gentle as she leads her new friend in dance, Maryann reveals how she does, in fact, hold out much hope for the future.

“My baby will be a soldier in the future and I will learn him to be against Jews,” she says. “He will fight to bring our rights. …we want life and a place. They want wars and problems.”

Eighteen years later, doesn’t look like much has changed.

Though the residents of Nezarim were evicted in 2005.

Maybe she was always Maryam:

Ahmed, Maryann 2

About brucelarochelle
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