By Jamie Tarabay
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Additional resources for A Crazy Occupation: Eyewitness to the Intifada
I stood and listened as the bullets fell like rain from the sky. When will it end? Dusk fell, and Mohammed was keen to leave. He waited for a lull and urged me to go with him. I wasn’t sure it was safe. ‘Come on ’ammi,’ he called to me. ‘Yalla. ’ Mohammed had called me ‘uncle’, a term of endearment, to show me that he considered himself to be like my uncle and therefore he would take care of me. It was a very Arab thing to do. He actually still calls me that, years later. Yalla means ‘let’s go’ in Arabic.
I had had a lot of trouble deciphering much of Egyptian Arabic watching those soap operas, and hoped I wouldn’t have this problem here. I ventured hesitantly a few words in Lebanese Arabic, the language I grew up hearing, but I knew my own tortured pronunciation of the words—complete with Australian accent—would take a while to improve. That was another reason why I wanted to be in the Middle East; I wanted my Arabic to get better. The teasing we’d experienced in Lebanon only made me more determined.
I was nervous about the assignment and how I would fare, but tonight I concentrated on my new surroundings. I listened to neighbours sing for the Sabbath and marvelled at the contradictions of the Israeli people I’d met so far. I’d been interrogated and screamed at and I’d been welcomed and fed. I realised it wasn’t going to be easy to figure this place out, and I didn’t have the faintest clue where to start. 13 A Crazy Occupation 24/8/05 3:05 PM Page 14 CHAPTER TWO Saturday 23 September 2000 o n Saturday morning I set off for Nablus with Ibrahim and Elizabeth Dalziel, an AP photographer who’d arrived from Mexico months before I turned up.
A Crazy Occupation: Eyewitness to the Intifada by Jamie Tarabay