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MIND OF THE ENEMY



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Sinopse

I got the idea of writing this book when I first visited Israel in 1990. I was pregnant with my eldest daughter. We had travelled for days from Nubia through all of Egypt, crossing the Sinai desert, by trucks, trains, boats, buses and on camels and donkeys to arrive at Jerusalem. We thought of taking it easy, relaxing in Jerusalem with the blessings of one God, who had many names. It was late afternoon, not a single soul was on the road; we thought this was due to the Sabbath. People in rushing cars stared at us with curiosity, some even tried to signal us; at first we thought that the condition of our Vagabond made us look like drifters. We had no idea that a few hundred metres from us, there had been two simultaneous bomb attacks. A Jewish couple stopped their car, and said we could stay with them until we found a safe place. We were very young, naive but curious, every word said, heard, things seen, experienced, and impulses felt began to reverberate and be transformed into words. I was no longer a tourist in Jerusalem but an undercover self-made detective. I left my blond Swedish husband in the hotel to sunbathe, and scooted off wearing Palestinian traditional female attire to experience how it was to live in Jerusalem as a Palestinian pregnant woman. I was stopped several times while taking taxis, since as a Palestinian you were not allowed to take taxis; I was kept for hours in queues. Finally, I declared my Sri Lankan Swedish identity and showed my documents; Israel soldiers laughed and joked and welcomed me to Israel. They even explained their own dilemmas and miseries; they were young, my age, we could joke, and they were curious about what's happening in Scandinavia, and were curious for what was happening in Sri Lanka, my birth land, once under brutal warfare. While waiting in line I chatted with Palestinians who gave detailed accounts about their daily plights.

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