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Arrival to School is a Distressful Hardship, A Nightmare That Disturbs the Children of Abu Dees

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With the rigorous continuous construction of the Wall, Reem Abu Snenah, a blind ten year old girl, has currently resolved to stop attending Helen Killer School for Blind Students in Jerusalem.

Reem, who lives in Alezariah, started attending Helen Killer School at the age of six. The journey to school was hard from the mere beginning, Reem confesses. However, she had never imagined that such a journey would escalate in difficulty, to the extent that it would break her will and ability to continue to go.

Just a few months ago, her arrival to school used to take no more than fifteen minutes by car. Now life for Reem has become grimmer, as the journey to school has become one of humiliation and torture; a journey caused by the blindness of the international world.

Now Reem has to wake up extra early to go to school, escorted by a family member. She can no longer go by car. With the help of her escort, she first has to climb the Wall located in an area called Alshhiyah. On the other side of the Wall, another person waits to help her climb down.

Reem points out that climbing the Wall is a tremendously difficult, contusing and humiliating experience for a blind person. It is the ultimate physical vulnerability of a blind on the noose. Unfortunately this is not the end. The final entry to the school is connected with the emergence of Israeli soldiers around the school area.

If it happens that the soldiers are there, Reem hides until they leave. However, she is not the only one waiting for them to leave. A taxi driver usually waits to take her to the school if she succeeds to climb the other side of the Wall. The driver unfortunately does not wait for long, assuming that Reem did not succeed in her journey.

Discovering that the taxi has left, Reem is forced to roam the streets on her own, searching for someone to help her look for another taxi that would take her to the Aldahia area close to her school. When arriving, the driver helps her cross the road to enter the school. By then she is exhausted, devastated from tiredness, and mostly thinking of the daunting journey home.

For Reem, the trip to school is a trip to Hell. She has mentally accepted to climb the Wall, but to find herself screaming and asking for help because she is blind, that was more than what she could imagine. One day, while trying to cross over the Wall, the Israeli soldiers started shooting bullets and tear gas. Blind, alone and terrified, Reem was paralysed; all she could do was screaming for help.

Recalling the terrible experience, Reem says: “One day, my brother accompanied me to the Wall where I was almost going to cross it. Suddenly, the soldiers started shooting and everyone started to run away. Among those was my terrified brother, who ran away.

I was paralysed, not knowing where to go or what to do. I started screaming for help, saying that I am blind. For the first time, I felt my weakness and my need for shelter and support. One man helped me cross the Wall. I finally arrived at the school, determined not to return to the school again.”

Reem is not the only student to suffer. Many of her sighted peers suffer as well. The Wall, like a giant, hinders the sight of the school, the yard, and the houses.

Mohammed Jaffal, a 15 year old from the Wadi Aljoze area in eastern Jerusalem, studies in the Arabic Institution School. He states: “The way to school used to take ten minutes and cost one sheqals, instead of two. Today, instead of waking at 6:30am, I have to wake up at 5am. People stand in rows, waiting for their turn to cross the Wall. We are regularly prevented from entering, as the soldiers start shooting to scare us to run away, while they laugh at the amusing scene.”

Nasser Eid -

Nasser Eid is a Palestinian journalist. He has a B.A. in Journalism from Birzeit University.Read More >>

Last Updated on Monday, 25 December 2006 22:06  

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