Volume 60, May 2009
The Legal Saga of Abu Nakba
By Hassan Jabareen*
The judge: We will begin to hear the case of The State of Israel v. Abed Aghbariya. How does the defendant plead?
The defense attorney: The defendant pleads not guilty, your honor.
The prosecutor asks to call a policeman as its main and only witness to the witness stand.
The policeman: The procession that took place on Independence Day in Umm al-Fahem was organized to mark what the minorities call “Nakba Day.” The defendant marched in the procession and chanted slogans denouncing the State of Israel and occasionally mentioning the word “Nakba.”
The prosecutor: How many times, if you recall, did the defendant use the word “Nakba?”
The policeman: More than ten times, and in various rhymes.
The prosecution rests its case. The defense attorney announces that he is not interested in questioning the policeman. The prosecutor declares that the prosecution has proven all of the facts relevant for conviction under the new Nakba Law. The Nakba Law prohibits conducting any activity that “marks Independence Day, or refers to the establishment of the State of Israel, as a day of mourning or as a day of sorrow.” The court session is adjourned.
There is an even larger presence of local and international journalists at the second hearing on the case than at the first. Everyone is interested today in the great question that occupies the experts: What would be Abed’s line of defense? Would his defense attorney carry out the promise of the Union of Arab Lawyers in Israel and call witnesses to testify about the Nakba and the Palestinian historic injustice in order to justify the participation of Arabs in Nakba Day processions? The judge enters the courtroom and everyone rises in his honor. The defense attorney asks to call as a witness Abu Ali, a man of high esteem, 82 years old, from Umm al-Fahem. Abu Ali seems happy to have reached this occasion. He seems healthy, and physically steady. He testifies in Arabic, with simultaneous translation.
The defense attorney: Mr. Abu Ali, please tell the honorable court, what is your expertise?
Abu Ali: I am an expert in the affairs of bayt ajar – a house of mourning – and I am known as the greatest expert in this field in the Aghbariya neighborhood. For twenty years, I have participated in every bayt ajar in the neighborhood and no one has passed away without my participation in the prayers for him.
The defense attorney: Please explain to the court how it is customary and accepted to act in a bayt ajar?
Abu Ali: We read verses from the Qur’an and, throughout the day, we occasionally pray to God to have mercy on the deceased, to bring him into Paradise and include him on the list of faithful and righteous believers. The visitors who arrive are welcomed with a serious countenance, expressing sorrow and pain at the death of the deceased, as well as gratitude to the guests for their condolences.
Lees verder: http://www.adalah.org/newsletter/eng/may09/13.php