Dreaming of Freedom – Palestinian Child Prisoners Speak

Edited by Norma Hashim — Translated by Yousef M. Aljamal  (June 2016)

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Israel’s policy of abducting Palestinian children from their homes in the middle of the night to whisk them off to interrogation centers is well-documented by organizations such as Defense for Children International – Palestine, Amnesty International, and Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network.

According to B’Tselem,

At the end of August 2016, 319 Palestinian minors were held in Israeli prisons as security detainees and prisoners, including 10 administrative detainees. Another 10 Palestinian minors were held in Israel Prison Service facilities for being in Israel illegally.

I recently learned that Israel is the only country that has a juvenile military court, for Palestinian minors, certainly not Israeli minors. The imprisonment of Palestinian minors is so pervasive, there’s even an international campaign to end this abhorrent practice.

Dreaming of Freedom is a compilation of interviews with 24 Palestinian child prisoners translated by my friend Yousef M. Aljamal. I read the first two or three accounts of their arrest and torture, and thought “I know these stories; there’s nothing new here.”

I continued reading the next 5 or 6 interviews, and thought “My god, I would crumple in despair if the military broke into my home in the middle of the night, and trashed everything, and then grabbed my young son or daughter, giving me no reason, and no information about where they were taking my child!”  

By the end of the book, after reading all of these personal, first-hand accounts from the children themselves, I was both heartbroken and a lot wiser about the systematic strategy that Israel employs to psychologically break the next generation of Palestinians under occupation.

Richard Falk, an international law scholar, has reviewed the book.

In this spirit, I commend a close reading of Dreaming of Freedom: Palestinian Child Prisoners Speak. With such knowledge solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for freedom and dignity becomes almost a psychological inevitability and an even more urgent moral imperative of our world than we previously realized.

I hope Red Emma’s in Baltimore will carry this book. There’s a direct connection between Baltimore and Palestine, and it’s drawn through the cruel and disproportionate imprisonment of blacks and Palestinians, as well as a growing number of children in both communities.