Wed 15 Mar 2023 8:57 pm - Jerusalem Time

Manar and Osama... a story that illuminated the darkness of the eight lives

Bethlehem - "Jerusalem" dot com - Rawan Al-Asaad - Despite the distances between the cities of Bethlehem and Tulkarem, the occupation cells shortened hundreds of kilometers in the heart of the prisoner Osama Al-Ashqar and his fiancée Manar Khalawi, so that their connection is comprehensive through which Osama breathes freedom.

Manar, the young woman who looks like other girls of her generation, persists in her speech and is filled with hope as she tells the story that began in 2016 when her cousin, the prisoner Bahaa El-Din Odeh, carried out a stabbing operation, and as a result he was injured and arrested in the Ramla clinic prison, and before For his wounds to heal and recover, he was transferred to Raymond Prison, where he met the prisoner Osama Al-Ashqar, and they became friends and brothers.

Manar says: By virtue of the closeness of our relationship with my cousin Bahaa El-Din, that we used to contact him a lot, and a conversation is not devoid of mentioning the name Osama over and over in our ears, and his name did not leave Bahaa’s tongue, here I am curious to know who this prisoner is, because I am naturally inclined I pay a lot to the issue of prisoners , and as soon as I hear about any prisoner, I read about him and know the details of his arrest. Indeed, I searched on Google for the prisoner Osama Al-Ashqar to know more about him.

For Manar, Osama was a super hero, and I was amazed at a twenty-year-old young man who would be a commander of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of the “Fatah” movement, and be chased when he was eighteen years old for two years before being arrested in an ambush. What attracted Manar the most is How can a young man be like this, and despite the circumstances of his arrest, the charges that were brought against him, and his exposure to all forms of abuse and torture that the occupation did not hesitate to use against him, he did not lose his will, but completed his education inside the Israeli occupation prisons, took the high school exam, and wrote articles And since I got to know the nature of Osama's personality, Manar began to relate to him.

Manar explains: By virtue of the strength of the relationship between Osama and Baha’, the family got to know each other, and as for me, I used to communicate with them by broadcasting the voice of the prisoners, and he always heard me, and attached to me as well, as he used to ask Bahaa about me, until Osama spoke to Baha about the issue of engagement and sermon, So Bahaa rejected the idea immediately, because he was sentenced to eight life sentences and fifty years, and it is impossible for my family to agree, and I did the matter at the time, until then Osama was transferred to Gilboa prison, and there was no way to communicate between the prisoners, so I was the messenger between them via radio transmitting messengers Osama's captives.

In 2018, Osama requested Manar’s number to contact her to thank her for her stand with the prisoners, and her efforts to communicate with them to be frank with her.
After that, and asking her if she had the desire to be associated with him, and for him to propose to her, Manar explains, who says: I certainly did not mind, as I had been waiting for him for two years, and I answered him that it was an honor for me to be with him, his companion and his life partner.

November 15th.. The engagement took place

And she continues: Here was the muscle and difficulty, how did the family accept the idea, and despite the categorical rejection of both sides, we did not lose hope, but rather increased our insistence, and over the course of seven months, Osama sent mediators to my family to change their thinking, until we got engaged on the fifteenth of November, the day after the anniversary of his arrest The eighteenth, to begin his nineteenth year inside the prison, but this year I am his eyes outside the bars, and his body that breathes freedom, what was the motive and motivation for me to complete after a bachelor's degree in journalism, a master's degree in Israeli studies.

Burningly, Manar says: I have not visited Osama until now, we only know each other through pictures, and I am waiting for the completion of the Qur’an contract transaction so that I can visit him.

Manar, who dreamed, like any girl, of getting married and linked to a young man holding his hands and turning the world around with him while he was talking to her. Her outlook and life structures changed, and she realized that the life of the Palestinians is not an ordinary life, and she was fully convinced that it is part of this issue, and her attachment to the issue of prisoners increased.

Manar is a hostage of the imprisoned, the betrothed, and the betrothed, who is fully aware of the choices before her in life, and Osama’s story turned into admiration, then love, then a sermon, with all its pain of a special kind, in which there is anticipation and hope, and fear may creep in despite her complete belief that God’s will is above Everything, and there may be a miracle overnight, that turns the scales, and Osama emerges from the darkness of prison to the spring of life, despite her awareness that the existence of the prisoner sentenced to 8 life sentences in her life now is a spiritual presence in the absence of the body, but the idea of spiritual connection was the most important factor in Her balance is to defend her spiritual connection with her fiancé in front of all the people who are amazed at her decision and the step she took.

With her soft and calm features, and with complete composure, Manar wonders at the people who say that Osama is far from her, and that her dream of his liberation
Far from reaching, and she says: I see him as closer than my breath, and if people think his release from prison is an impossibility, and my happiness is in a place they see as a form of madness or a path to destruction, I see the exact opposite, because my association with a person who has values and principles that no one else has thought of is stronger and loftier than these nonsense What they say is enough for my happiness when he said to me: “I was buried in a grave and you revived me and took me out of it.” I see that the prisoners were not placed by Israel alone in the cemeteries of the living, unfortunately.

Osama, who decided from his first day in prison that this was a test for him and a new life, did not despair or give up, but was full of determination and persistence and believed that it was a period and it would pass. He continued his studies behind bars, and joined a university for only one semester, then he was prevented from completing his studies by the occupation. He suffered a lot until, after 15 years, he obtained a BA in teaching social studies.

Prison is another taste

Osama wrote many political and cultural articles, and he is still writing to convey to the whole world that the prisoners are alive if their bodies are inside the prison. The prisoner is a living person despite all the circumstances, and is capable of giving, not limited by bars and restrictions, as his thought is free despite his shackled body, and soon the second book of Osama will be published and see the light under the title "Letters that broke the shackles" to see the light, which is the completion of the maturity of the cultural project, including what it includes in its folds.

On Manar's face there is a smile of pride and pride as she says: "I write Osama's articles while he tells them on the phone." On the fourteenth of November 2020, although it is the anniversary of Osama's arrest, the launch party of his book "Prison Has Another Taste", the first part of it He wrote it through her over the phone, and as for the second part, he wrote it in 2010 and took it out for her from prison on a notebook.

Manar, whom many bet on her patience and love for Osama, and her inability to complete the road with him, lost the bet, and these years only increased her love for him and insistence on completing her life with him, and about her eagerness and longing to visit him, and her eagerness for that day impatiently, she says with happiness and love: If time returns to me a million A year in which I will repeat my love for Osama in all of them, and although I only see him for 45 minutes, they are the happiest moments of my life. They pass like seconds in which I live a life of happiness despite the measures and the glass separating us, but the feelings cannot be described in words, as nothing expresses them.

And she continued: Osama is the most beautiful choice in my life. I always thank God for him. His ambition, determination and persistence give me strength and courage. My personality has changed a lot and has become stronger than before. Before, I always live eagerly to meet him from month to month.

In a voice full of hope mixed with sadness, she said: Although Osama and I became closer, and I began to understand the details of the painful life of the prisoners in all its details, unfortunately something has changed inside us, as if the great light inside the tunnel of freedom has become very weak, dim and cold, after retreating in our Palestinian cause in all forums Our interest in the prisoners and their cause has weakened and it is limited to slogans, but the determination and persistence within us is a burning flame that never extinguishes its flames.

There are more eloquent words than what Manar narrated about Osama, the absent present, who chose him and her to complete the journey of life together under a heavenly expanse and a dungeon, hoping that freedom would bring them together. Isn't their story more amazing and stranger than fiction stories?


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Manar and Osama... a story that illuminated the darkness of the eight lives