Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Prisoners who starved for art honored by Gaza show

For former Palestinian detainee Abdelfattah Abu Jahil, prison art is a victory.

“At the beginning, it was really hard,” he said of painting, embroidery and sculpture during his first detention by Israeli forces in 1983. “It wasn’t allowed. We had to keep it hidden from the guards. And we had to smuggle the tools, like beads and threads, to make the art.”

That changed, he said, when a mass hunger strike forced the Israeli Prison Service to let Palestinian detainees keep and use art supplies.

“The greatest achievements of the prisoners’ movement were in 1985,” Abu Jahil said. “We went on hunger strike to force the Israelis to allow us to make art, among other things. I myself went on hunger strike for 79 days.”

Their success allowed art by detainees to flourish, he explained. “After the [Israeli Prison Service] allowed prisoners to make art, we were able to ask our families to send supplies, or buy them from the small shops in the prisons.”

Today, Abu Jahil, who was finally released from his fourth detention in 2002, continues to make art about detainees and the prisoners’ movement in Gaza. more

Egypt reopens Rafah after kidnapped soldiers released

EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma'an) -- Egyptian police officers reopened the Rafah crossing on Wednesday following the release of seven Egyptian officers on Wednesday, military officials said.

The crossing had been closed for 5 days following the abduction of the servicemen on Thursday by armed gunmen.

The seven officers were released in a desert area south of el-Arish city, Egyptian security services told Ma'an. A military helicopter immediately headed to the area and took the Egyptian officers back to Cairo.

A spokesman for the Egyptian armed forces, colonel Ahmad Muhammad Ali, confirmed that the soldiers had been released and were on their way to Cairo. more