Mom: I don't know... Shit Hole Anonymous
Me: (laughing) you really don't know?
Mom: How the fuck am I supposed to know?
Me: Ok, moving on...
Me: What do you remember about the first Intifada?
Mom: The Taxi office and the grocery store were located on the street that leads to The Jabal Al Taweel settlement. At the time it was the only road the lead to the settlement and whenever the settlers would pass by the kids would start throwing rocks, and then the Israeli soldiers would come and start shooting live ammunition. It sucked.
Mom: I remember when the guys would write graffiti on the walls and then the Israeli soldier would come and make us paint it. We used to use shoe polish to cover it up. Pain in the ass. Fuckers.
Me: Why did you have to do it?
Mom: Well, because it was right next to our store.
Mom: One time when I was working at the store the Israeli soldiers threw sound bombs and I couldn't hear for three damn days.
Mom: Oh lord... Amin (my brother who was a teenager at the time) is the one that gave me gray hair. He used to lie all the time. He used to come home all dirty and sweaty and I knew it was because he was throwing rocks, but he would say he was playing soccer.
Mom: I remember once they (the Israeli soldiers) shot my dog. I forgot her name.
Me: Why did they shoot her?
Mom: They said because she kept barking, but I told them she keeps barking because YOU keep walking around. That night I stood in front of the dog and told them that if you want to shoot the dog you have to shoot me first, and then they left. But the next night they came back and shot her right in the head. I then complained to the 7akam el 3askari and he offered me a German Shepherd puppy, but I refused. I told him that I didn't want a new fucking dog, I wanted mine.
Mom: I remember when Hamed's son killed a settler on shar3 Nablus... Amin and his friends went running to see what happened. I was so worried about Amin I ran after him and jumped over the fence... can you imagine me jumping over a fence? your dad followed me and when we got to the korba 3ind el Shinny supermarket the Israeli soldiers were aiming the guns at Amin and he was lying flat on his chest, I got scared I thought they killed him and I started yelling at the Israeli soldiers telling them 'you killed my son!', Amin then got up, and I realized he was still alive and I started beating him for doing that to me.
Me: Tell me about the time Amin got arrested.
Mom: Oh, that was the worst. Three Israeli jeeps came to our store asking for your dad, Mamoun Husain. I told them he wasn't here. They then said, we will take your son and when your husband comes send him to the police station. I said ok... god I felt so stupid, they fooled me... They wanted Amin, not your dad, but they knew if they said that I would have made a scene and we were right next to the kahwa... they didn't want trouble! So, when your dad came I told him to go immediately to the police station and salem 7alak, I didn't care I just wanted Amin back. But, when your dad went there they refused to release him... When your dad saw Amin in handcuffs he started crying. Your dad went there every day for three days trying to get Amin out. They kept him in a tent and tortured the hell out of him to make him sign the confession papers but he refused.
Me: What did he do?
Mom: Him and his friends were throwing Molotov cocktails at the police station by the Friends School. Anyway, they finally let him out and we had to pay 2500 NIS bond which we never saw again. But his friend stayed in prison for 6 months because he signed the confession papers and his dad wouldn't pay the bond.
Me: What did you think when the sulta (Palestinian Authority) came?
Mom: It all just got worse. I remember when Arafat drove around in his car waving to everyone. I wouldn't come out of the store because I thought it was bullshit. I told everyone 'when el yahoodi bdrobak chaf booj3ak wait until your own people bodrobak chaf'.
My mom, Fatmah Salman was born and raised in Gary, Indiana. She is the daughter of a Palestinian man and a Syrian woman. She moved to Palestine in 1978 to raise her family.