By: Fouad Merei
The old man sat in front of his house. He seemed relaxed
while he was making a cigarette by rapping the tobacco in
its designed thin white paper. His brazen face indicated
that he was not someone who lived luxuriously and
comfortably. However, his moustache that covered his sunken
mouth with his hawk-like eyes drew the features of an old
eagle with a kaffieh and a headband that covered his bold
head. He began smoking and sipping his morning coffee that
was brought by a woman who donned a customary dress that
revealed a tender soft face despite the sings of old age,
yet her walk showed a woman with a maintained physical
strength. The neighborhood remained silent for a few minutes
to be suddenly broken by the voices of men who were coming
from the main square of the village. The voices became
louder and louder as the group advanced further in the
narrow street. They were a few armed men followed by a
At the front, a young armed man marched while holding the
reigns of an aggressive dog, which lolled out its tongue
with saliva dripping out of its open mouth. The patrol
stopped in front of the house that was adjacent to the old
man's. One of them said firmly:
A number of armed men entered the house with the dog
advancing them. Screams came out from inside the house. The
old man understood that they were swearing. After a few
minutes, which seemed longer than usual, the armed men
exited and their procession advanced towards the next house.
The old man remained in his sitting position smoking his
cigarette. His overlooks, which did not mean anything, made
the armed man and his dog stop for a minute, hesitant.
Another armed man advanced carrying a gun on his side with a
thin bamboo stick in his hand. He started gently batting his
He said in a careful tone:
- We want to search the house. Lead us.
The man did not answer. He stared in the eyes of the man who
held the bamboo stick, and puffed out the last smoke of his
cigarette that he extinguished by the soil of the small
garden. The man rose and marched towards the main door of
his home. The armed men followed him.
Voices were heard inside, and confusion took place. The
voices moved from one room to another. Later, they were
heard in the back courtyard of the house and the surrounding
garden. The jeep remained parking in front of the house.
Inside, there were Israeli soldiers. Other armed men spread
under the balconies and at the corners of the street.
After a while, they began exiting the house swearing. They
appeared to be in a state of disgust and fury. Some of them
place their hands over their noses. Their leader said in a
- Let us leave this place immediately.
The patrol marched towards the other houses of the
neighborhood. The same event took place repeatedly until the
voices completely disappeared.
The old man observed the street until it became vacant of
pedestrians. Suddenly, he entered his home and went out to
the back garden where he had a cow's pen with a wooden and
mudded ceil. He covered his nose and mouth with a
handkerchief that he tied behind his head, after which he
entered the pen. He removed a wooden feeding trough, grabbed
a shovel from behind the door, and began shoveling some
stinking remains and dung. Suddenly, a wooden board
appeared, that was opened from beneath after the old man
tapped it three times. And he briefly said:
- They are gone. You can come out.
- I cannot stand up. I think my leg was broken.
- Never mind, I will help you.
- Lean on me, I am still strong enough.
Later, the wounded man rested on a wooden bed inside an
inner room, whereas the woman was making food inside the
The old man switched on the radio. The speaker said: the
resistance men executed a military mission against the
occupation army, which was inflicted with ten casualties,
dead and injured. The man switched off his radio and
searched for the tobacco box. His eyes glowed in a way that
the woman has never seen. He said to her as held with his
fingers the tobacco thin white paper:
- O Hajji, make the breakfast rich.