Terror in St. Albert

Tuqu Supplied-Tuqu Child Arrests-03.12.2014

Tuqu night raid and arrests (supplied to EAPPI)

I remember going to bed at about 11 pm in our house on Andrew Crescent in peaceful St. Albert, Alberta and drifting into my nightly dreams. My dream that night was that the United States was disputing the location of the border between Alberta and Montana and wanted to push it to the north for some reason.

Tuqu Supplied-Tuqu Child Arrests3-03.12.2014

Tuqu night raid and arrests (supplied to EAPPI)

At about midnight, the dream included a loud blast outside my front door – someone had tossed a sound bomb at the house.  Looking out the window,  I saw about 30 military vehicles and close to 200 soldiers on the street.  People on the crescent were venturing outside to see what was going on – the soldiers yelled at us to shut up and get back inside.  Looking out my window I spotted Braden, my neighbor’s 14 year old son, being led from his house to a truck out front.  Braden was crying, blindfolded and had his hands cuffed behind his back with a zip tie – his wrists are already bleeding as they were bound too tight. I looked down the street the other direction and saw Brody, another neighbor’s 15 year old kid, similarly being led out of his house – his parents were following behind pleading with the soldiers.  All the soldiers had their faces either painted or covered with balaclavas.  The soldiers provided the parents with no explanation of the charges, did not allow the parents to accompany their children and did not provide any details as to where their children were being taken.  In an open doorway across the street, I saw two very young children crying – they did not understand what was going as their siblings were forcibly being taken away, why their parents were in obvious fear and why their house was being trashed by soldiers.

This scene continued around the crescent until about 6:00 am when the military finally left with a total of 11 arrested children.

Tuqu Supplied-Tuqu Child Arrests4-03.12.2014

Tuqu night raid and arrests (supplied to EAPPI)

I awaken and find myself in my bed in Bethlehem in the West Bank of Palestine.  It was not a dream – it was real. Instead of Andrew Crescent in St Albert, the event occurred on December 3, 2014 in the Alomor section in the Village of Tuqu’.  The American soldiers (thankfully not interested in our southern prairie real estate) are in fact an Israeli contingent of about 200 police, border police and soldiers.  The 11 youth are real as are the accepted international laws that should prevent an abuse such as this.  While Israel treats its own children in the juvenile court system, for the past 47 years they have treated Palestinian children under military law.  This is a “fluid” system of laws that can be created, modified and generally manipulated to suit the needs and desires of the military simply by issuing a “Military Order”.

The arrest and transfer process is often accompanied by verbal abuse and humiliation, threats as well as physical violence.  Hours later the children find themselves in an interrogation room, sleep deprived and scared.”  

“Most children undergo coercive interrogation, mixing verbal abuse, threats, and physical violence, generally resulting in a confession.  The most common offence children confess to is throwing stones……in most cases, the children are either shown, or made to sign, documentation written in Hebrew, a language they do not understand.” (Bound, Blindfolded and Convicted, Children held in military detention – Defence for Children International

The Israeli government and the majority of the international media typically use the term “terrorism” for the select stories of violence against Israel that are fed to the world.  Unfortunately, a story of the arrest of 11 Palestinian children is not considered “news” by either Israel or the international media so most in the world will never learn of this horrible practice.

What and who then defines terrorism?  Is the event I just shared not an act of terrorism?  At worst, some these children/youth may have thrown stones at some soldiers or the local settlers – both who are illegally occupying Palestinian land and who simply should not be anywhere near the Village of Tuqu’.  The local civilian settlers can openly carry assault weapons (and use them with all but full immunity from the justice system) and soldiers can and do use sound bombs, tear gas and live ammunition as they feel fit against Palestinian children. Is this not terrorism?

Julie-Tuqu Child Arrests-03.12.2014

Flying checkpoint at Tuqu Village (EAPPI)

After our interview with some of the witnesses in Tuqu’, our departing taxi was stopped at a “flying” checkpoint nearby.  As one young soldier demanded that our driver translate to English an Arabic message that was on a printed leaflet, the other soldier had an assault rifle levelled at me. The written message generally advised that this checkpoint and inconvenience  was to “protect the community against terrorists”…….

As I stared up the barrel of the soldier’s Tavor assault rifle, my understanding of who was responsible for the terror remained firm.

 

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7 thoughts on “Terror in St. Albert

  1. Heidi

    Thank you Dean. Your dream (nightmare) brings the reality of life for Palestinian children and their families close to home. For me your dream highlights the critical nature of empathy. Empathy defines our humanity.

    The perpetrators of violence are victims of sanctioned political greed that is capitalizing on their fear. I recently watched a documentary entitled, Worse than War. It was about genocide and how systematic and planned it always is. In other words, the fear that eventually brings about genocide is systematically fed by government planning. Increasing fear is planned by leaders with agendas that include the accumulation of land, resources and power. The sad thing is the people who willingly carry out genocide are usually acting on thoughts of fear and loss not greed and accumulation. Their fear is already felt and cultivated further systematically by these leaders. Genocide is the cause of higher a number of deaths than all wars combined. It keeps happening because leaders know that, unlike invasion of other countries, other nations ignore it. The mission of the UN, as I understand it is to protect the sovereignty of nations. What happens when nations attack their own. As Palestine becomes more fragmented it helps Israel to make the case for one nation. History shows us how we protect minorities – look to Germany, Turkey, Congo, Yugoslavia, Russia and the list goes on. Fear, ignorance and greed rob us of our humanity.

    I think humanity has a chance in Palestine. We have a chance to stop this systematic perpetuation of dehumanization. In reality, Dean, you are dreaming a better dream and living in reality. Reality is one of compassion and fearlessness. No matter what happened in the past, fear in the present is a construction. World, do not believe it!

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    1. john58dean Post author

      I believe all that happens here politically and via the military is part of a “master plan” that the world is sitting back and watching unfold ( and in the government of Canada’s case, fully supporting). It reminds me of the story of the frog in the pot of water on the stove where the temperature of the water is slowly increased to boiling and he does not jump out. Here as well, incremental process of creating a fully Jewish state is being watched without action from the world.

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  2. Accompany Me

    Dear Dean, I walked past your house today on my regular walk. When I read this blog, it really came to life. Great analysis. It is hard for us to comprehend having a gun or assault rifle held at our heads. Worse is to realize it is the ‘norm’ in the West Bank.

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    1. john58dean Post author

      Yes, it is interesting how we soon get used to guns everywhere – pointed at you or not. What I omitted in this blog was that the soldiers were finished with us, they bid farewell with a “Have a nice day.” I know that could probably get away with some smart-ass response back to them but held my tongue with the fear that our trusted taxi driver would be the one that would pay the price. Thanks for photo of the house – even when we are away for much shorter periods, we always are glad to see out house still standing when we get home!

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  3. Keeping my eyes wide open

    Reblogged this on Keeping my eyes wide open and commented:
    Hi folks
    Terror in St. Albert, The blog my husband Dean just posted conveys so many of the feelings that I have when I walk by the police station in my neighborhood and see young men in handcuffs or watch young people denied clearance at the Qalandiya checkpoint due to their age. I am reposting his blog because we have lived in our neighborhood in St. Albert for 20 years and it would both break my heart and anger me to see the children and youth we know treated in this way. What Dean and his team reported on is in violation of Humanitarian and International Law and I would encourage you to share his post with your MP’s and the Prime Minister.

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  4. Virginia Sauve

    This is horrifying and the normalization of such behaviours is plain when they make no attempt to hide them from international observers. They have convinced themselves that such behaviours are acceptable. In reading it, I also realized the potential danger such observers risk in their decision to speak for the oppressed. My prayers go with you all.
    Virginia

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    1. john58dean Post author

      Yes, all the actions of the government are defended/explained as required in defending against terrorism. The response to any act of resistance or objection is simply to use more force and de-humanizing tactics. Throwing stones (also done regularly by the settlers) by the boys is their only means of resistance and response to such things their family having their land confiscated, homes demolished, fathers imprisoned and brothers injured or killed by soldiers bullets.

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