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Nur ar-Ramadan

Handicapped Musaharati in West Bank
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By Samer Khuwairat, IOL Correspondent

NABLUS, IslamOnline.net

Musaharati is a job associated with the holy month of Ramadan. Late night, when it’s time for sahur, musaharatis roam the streets with a drum to wake up people to eat their sahur. This job needs a healthy person to “roam the streets”.

But in Tulkarem, West Bank, people never thought they would witness a crippled Musaharati on a wheelchair to wake them up for their pre-dawn meal and also to perform dawn prayers.

Israeli bullets penetrated the body of Walid Abu Safaqa some 15 years ago, forcing him to sit on a wheelchair for the rest of his life. But they could not force him to quit living.

For 14 years now, Abu Safaqa told IslamOnline.net Tuesday, October 26, that he never missed his job during Ramadan; that is to roam the streets and alleys of Tulkarem’s city and refugee camp, wake people up for sahur and dawn prayers.

“Sahur time, Ramadan says hi,” he has been shouting for 14 years now.

Fatah Parade

“On June 13, 1989, Israeli special units fired three bullets that penetrated my back, abdomen and foot while participating in a military parade organized by Fatah Movement in the town,” Abu Safaqa, 36, told IOL.

“Though it was not my first experience with Israeli bullets, it was the cruelest and most damaging. It has rendered me totally paralyzed and committed to a wheelchair since then," he said.

“The idea of being musaharati struck my mind as I was unable to sleep due to unbelievable pains I was going through. The idea looked so appealing as it was to benefit me and others as well.”

The crippled musaharati pointed out that he insisted on carrying on with the musaharati job, defying all obstacles.

“The first Palestinian Intifada that broke out in December 1987 was in its highest peaks when I first started this job. The occupation troops were so violent, they would try to prevent me from going out in the first place. As I insist, they would chase, insult and even hit me.”

How It Is Done!

 

Abu Safaqa faces the technical obstacles wheel-chaired every night, the least being having to beat the drum and push the wheel chair.

“At about 2.30 a.m. , my friends Bahaa Al-Gallad and Mohamed Samada come to me and we get all set for the job. My son Rebhy, 14, accompanies us. I start roaming the streets, beating my drum and waking people at almost three o'clock .”

“We proceed visiting different residential neighborhoods. They help push my wheelchair along alleys. I return home minutes before the dawn prayers to have sahur with my family and get prepared for the dawn prayers in the mosque,” he added.

Long Sufferings

“My younger brother was killed June 1, 1988 during confrontations with the occupation troops, as a huge cement mass fell upon him. One year later, I got paralyzed," Tulkarem Mesaharati said, recalling his family's long-term sufferings.

“Then, Al-Aqsa Intifada broke out on September 28, 2000. Every day, we would lose a friend or a relative. On March 7, 2002 , an Israeli soldier fired a bullet on my brother Adel that penetrated his eye and exploded in his brains. My mother couldn't tolerate the scene and fell unconscious. She can not move up to this very moment.

“Since then, I have been the only breadwinner of my 12-member family. I hope God will help me but circumstances are very complicated. The Palestinian Authority gives me 850 Shekel monthly (US$200) which is not enough at all. The house rent is 750 Jordanian Dinar (a Dinar equals US$1.5),” he added.

Tulkarem residents, particularly those of the eastern neighborhood wherein Abu Safaqa lives, say, “We got used to Walid, the musaharati, waking us all. We see him from behind the windows and above the roofs to greet him.”

It is worth noting that the Palestinian families reward the musaharati in the last days of Ramadan with money and clothes in appreciation of his efforts along the holy month, particularly in light of the Israeli occupation.

Israeli attacks against Palestinians usually spare no one. Musaharati of the new Askar camp, adjacent to Nablus , Jihad Anatur, 24, was killed by the Israeli bullets while performing his job two years ago.

Several musaharatis in Palestine regard their job, on the other hand, a defiance to the occupation, as most of them refuse the terrifying and horrifying means practiced by the Israeli occupation.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Nur_al_Islaam/

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