PA romanticizes the love between imprisoned terrorist murderer of 8 and his fiancé, who he has never met, but who loves him due to his “nobility
Op-ed by Algerian writer Wasini Al-A'araj
"We do not write letters except when the space is reduced and we wish to broaden it so they will hear us, and they remind us of something warm that is hiding within us and many times make us forget the worries of life.
This week I received a letter from Palestinian prisoner Osama Al-Ashqar (i.e., terrorist, responsible for at least 8 murders) and an additional letter from his fiancée Manar Khalawi, which I am publishing here after asking their permission, along with my response to them, out of devotion to them and to the Palestinian cause…
The letter of his fiancée Manar Khalawi, who acted as our middleman:
I met Osama through my cousin who was Osama’s comrade in prison, and there was a strong bond of friendship between them. I had always heard of his nobility of soul and strong personality in prison, as he was one of the leaders of the prisoner movement in the occupation's prisons.
During this period, I made contact with my cousin by radio, and Osama heard me and liked my personality and way of thinking and asked of my cousin to become engaged to me. However, he asked Osama to forget the idea due to his situation as a prisoner sentenced to 8 life sentences and an additional 50 years, and because the family would not agree to a relationship between us.
Afterwards, Osama moved to another prison and obtained my cell phone number.
In the beginning, he thanked me for my interest in the prisoners' cause, and after a while he proposed the idea of us being in a relationship and I agreed, as I truly greatly loved him and his strong personality, and I had no problem whatsoever with being in a relationship with a person who the occupier of my country and land had sentenced to die in the graveyard of the living. Of course I raised the matter with my family. It was not easy for them. At the beginning they opposed the idea of me being in a relationship with him, but due to my insistence they agreed to my decision in the end and I became engaged to him after 18 years of his imprisonment…
My letter to Osama and Manar:
Dear beloved, beautiful Osama, what can I say in the presence of your story and the theft of your right to your land and your freedom, aside from humbly bowing before you and before the experience of imprisonment that has formed you, undoubtedly changed your perception of life, and given you new spaces for hope…
Osama, be sure that we will not forget you [prisoners], regardless of how difficult the conditions we are experiencing today are due to death that has included the entire world. All of the criminal deals against the Palestinian cause will crumble on the threshold of the right that will never die.
And you, Manar, what can I say to you in the presence of the beautiful thing that you have done for Osama? Nothing but to kiss your forehead for this exceptional Palestinian nobility of soul. With this nobility of yours you have given Osama a second life, as there is no power equal to the power of love in order to continue and break the solitude. Only love gives us the ability to bear what can never be borne and puts us into a great dream in which the impossible becomes possible despite the barbed wire fences, the rough walls, and the intractable injustice.
Your rooted faith in the resistance of Osama and his comrades has caused you to deviate from the norm and ascend so that love will turn into nobility and devotion.
Manar, you followed your faith to the end and realized it with loyalty to a fighter who has given his life for the homeland on exactly the 18th anniversary of his imprisonment, in order to break the despair and continue living.
You have connected yourself to a greater symbol and not only to a prisoner, and out of your pure soul and Osama’s pain of solitude you have given this human trial the opportunity for its roots and branches to grow beyond the captivity and towards the sun."