- "The time has come for the Palestinian fighter, after 17 years of imprisonment in brutal conditions, to own a transistor (radio) and obtain the permitted newspapers and magazines. The same applies to books. We do not demand to see more than what is approved by the military censorship, which means that Blackout, but you can conclude the size of the cultural siege imposed on the person of the Palestinian revolution.”
I quote that text from the book “Kabasil” by the Palestinian journalist and freed prisoner Omar Nazzal, as it contains one of the demands of the captive movement inside the prisons of the Israeli occupation in a statement addressed to the Palestinian masses when they began their hunger strike in 1984.
The radio was one of the 22 prisoners’ communication tools that Nazzal wrote down in his new book, “Kabasil: Ports of Communication and Communication for Prisoners in Israeli Occupation Prisons.” It is a summary of a scientific study that came in 188 pages of medium volume.
The book - which was presented to him by the writer and prisoner-liberator Walid al-Hodali, and was recently published by Tabaq Publishing House in Ramallah, and was announced in the city of Jenin - talks about the means of communication between prisoners and with each other and with the outside world, as well as the means of organized communication that are restricted by the prison administration.
An expressive drawing of prisoners' communication during their families' visit, in one of the art exhibitions that recount the suffering of prisoners in Nablus (Al-Jazeera)
The secret of the prisoners and their will
The capsule combines - linguistically - on capsules, but the prisoners used to call it "capseel", which is a message written in a tiny handwriting to accommodate the largest amount of information on thin paper that is difficult to obtain, then wrapped in nylon and ironed with fire, to become similar in shape and size to a medicine capsule.
The capsule, which was - and still is - the most common and important among prisoners, is given to the prisoner who intends to release him to swallow it or enter it as an enema, to be smuggled out of the prison, then he takes it out by defecation and delivers it after cleaning it well to the concerned authority.
With a long introduction that includes accurate details, the writer prepares for us before talking about the content of his topic with suspense and narration about the family operations initiated by the Israeli occupation since its occupation of Palestine in 1948, which was based on the militarization system that allows every military officer to be arrested without judicial procedures on the basis of demonstrations or Distribute national leaflets or even carry a newspaper.
Nazzal then goes on to talk about the formation of the state of awareness after 1967, and the prisoners' beginning to demand the Israeli prison administration to bring newspapers and radios, such as the Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds, which was available at the time.
Despite the growing demands of the prisoners and under the pressure of protests and strikes to diversify the introduction of media and communication tools from newspapers, books and radios, the occupation prohibited many of them and considered accessing and possessing them a violation of the law punishable by the prisoner.
But this did not prevent the "smuggling" of some of them, such as the radio, which Israel banned and limited its broadcast to its official broadcast, "Voice of Israel", via loudspeakers only, which it spread between prison sections at the time.
Solidarity event with prisoner Omar Nazzal and journalists upon his arrest in 2016 (Al-Jazeera)
Communication in all its forms.. talk to walls
And between 4 chapters, Nazzal will distribute his book;
He made in the beginning the gifting and presentation and the general framework for the study, then he treated in his second and third chapters the most prominent communication outlets for prisoners;
He included, under the "organized media" chapter, newspapers, radio stations, television channels, media content, and the arresting press, of which Nazzel himself was one of his students in the eighties, and which he talked about at length in his studies.
While the third chapter dealt with the “ports of inter-communication” i.e. between the prisoners themselves, including the continuity of its borders with the prison walls, another emergency in the “Bosta” (the prisoner transfer mechanism), “Al Maabar” (Deportation Prison) and the courts, the third pen communication and the fourth inter-messages.
In its fourth chapter, Nazzal reviewed the prisoners’ means of communication with the outside or “qualitative communication” under another name, including the Red Cross, lawyers, court sessions, visits to families, messages under supervision, and others outside supervision, manual work, ether, released prisoners and new detainees, and “Al-Ghazal” ( telephone), and "Ambassadors of Freedom" (children of smuggled sperm).
There are other titles that branch out to tell more broadly about the ports of communication. Under the title “Points without letters,” Nazzal listed 3 tools for the prisoners’ communication among themselves, such as coded speech, which are terms specific to the prisoners that they do not want the prisoner to know, such as the word “clouded” which means (a surprise search) and “line” (Bistar) means wearing shoes to face a danger.
The released prisoner, Qaddoura Fares, explains - in an interview - some of the words that certain prisoners communicate with, such as “Lea’a” which means a general struggle committee, and “Stop” meaning the branch’s leadership, and he says, “We used to choose certain words and give them an explanation, and each official had Or charged with interpreting and deciphering this code.
There is also "sign language", which is used when eye contact is available and it is forbidden to talk between prisoners, in addition to the method of "sounding" when there are no other options for communication, and it is used between isolated prisoners with certain tones and strokes.
And Nazzal says - on the tongue of Qadura Faris - "3 beats meaning hello, or two successive beats and a separate beat to give another meaning, sometimes we succeed in understanding and sometimes not, according to experience and intuition."
The deer..the last streak
Writer Nazzal devoted more space to talk about the "al-Ghazal" port (the phone call), which was a figment of the imagination, and he mentions that in the mid-nineties, attempts to smuggle phones began.
In the absence of accurate documentation of the first success of its entry into prisons, "it is certain that in 1997 these phones were used by Hezbollah prisoners, as the prison administration seized a phone they had in 1999, and it turned out that they had been using it for two years."
In his book, Nazzal did not miss other important information, such as talking about prisons and their number - which approached 50 detainees - and the number of prisoners and methods of punishment such as isolation, and the prisoners' needs for their most basic necessities through the "Al-Fura" (breathing yard) and "Al-Kentin" (the prison shop).
Nazzal produced "Kabasil" in a systematic scientific study aimed at evaluating the prisoners' relationship with the media available to them in prison.
In his study, he used the tools of scientific research, relying on two aspects: the first is qualitative and is represented in the meeting of 16 new and old prisoners inside and outside the prison, such as Bashir Al-Khairy, Aisha Odeh and Adnan Abu Tabbaneh, and the second aspect is quantitative, based on a research form that dealt with a random sample of 56 captive, in addition to 46 scientific research references.
Nazzal proceeded - as he told Al Jazeera Net - to produce most of his studies inside the Israeli Ofer prison near the city of Ramallah in the West Bank, during his last arrest in 2016. He was arrested 13 times, starting in 1977, and spent several years, most of which were in administrative detention.
Perhaps the difficulty of writing, distributing the questionnaire, transferring information between prisoners and transferring it abroad, where the occupation prevents that, was one of the most difficult things he faced, but the prisoner’s need to communicate with all his tools to defeat the Israeli jailer removed the obstacles and eased the suffering.
Nazzal says, "The occupation wanted to arrest the Palestinians, not only to isolate them, but to kill them morally and psychologically, destroy them and dehumanize them, thus depriving them of communication as a human need. On the other hand, the prisoners united and innovated, by inventing many forms of communication among themselves and with the outside, to thwart the occupation policy, and thus the prisoner wins. ".
"Kabasil" is a comprehensive and specialized scientific study on the subject of communication and its outlets, and no one has previously addressed it, and its importance increases by the momentum in interviews with prisoners and scientific research and its coverage for a period of time extending from 1967 until now, "which will make it a reference tool for all scholars and researchers." According to Nazzal.