JERUSALEM – Dareen Tatour, a Palestinian poet, was arrested from her home by the Israeli police on October 11, 2015. The arrest was based on a post on Facebook made by the poet in which she posted a picture with the comment, “I am the next martyr”. The picture was of Israa Abed, a Palestinian woman with a history of mental instability, who was shot at a bus station in Afula under the assumption that she had an intent to harm the people around her with a knife she possessed, but was later cleared of all charges by Israel’s public prosecution.

“What I meant with that post was that I, as a Palestinian, or any Palestinian, could be killed at any time,” said Tatour. She was first charged with inciting violence and terrorism, as well as supporting a terrorist group in her to posts on Facebook. Now she’s being charged on the basis of a poem she wrote and posted on Youtube titled ‘Resist my people, resist’ (translated). In the video, the poem is recited, while images of Palestinians clashing with the Israeli security forces are displayed.

The trial is currently ongoing. The next hearing session is expected to take place in July, until which Tatour will remain under house arrest. According to the conditions of her house arrest, she is confined to the flat her brother rented as the court found it dangerous to confine her to her family house. She has been given six hours per week in which she can leave the house to walk around the neighbourhood only if she is accompanied by her brother. Her brother has left his job to nurse and watch his sister. He said that as their father is not able to drive far, they are unable see much of their family. While they’re finding it difficult, they are still adapting.

Tatour said: “I never imagined that I could be arrested for something that I wrote. Back in the ’60s, all the poets, like Mahmoud Darwish, were arrested, but in this century, I never expected this. I didn’t know that democracy was not for everyone in Israel.”

In 2010, she first published her collection of poems titled ‘The Last Invasion’. “I wrote about everything to do with Palestinian life: politics, social life, women children and emotions, whatever a human being feels”, said Tatour.”I was preparing to publish a second volume, ‘Stories of the Canary’, when they arrested me. This collection is mostly about women in general, not just Palestinian women, but sexual harassment, rape and social issues”, she added.

– Deiptimaan Chowdhury, Correspondent (Asia: Middle East & Central)

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