When I came, I did not know too well what I had come here for. But that is not the most important thing. I have been with people who know only too well what they need us for. And they have put us, they have put me, in the places where I was needed, telling me, more or less, on occasions exactly, what needed to be done.

I guess when I came I just came to make myself available. That is what I have done, more or less.

On occasions, it has been difficult, although the most difficult situations may have been the most trivial, or the ones no one would have expected to be difficult.

Misunderstandings with colleagues were difficult. Misunderstandings with soldiers were frustrating. Fighting with the enemy is easy. Fighting with your friends is painful. It is thanks to reconciliations that we gain an intimacy level that is only possible to gain with people you have had a bad time with.

The “official” reason to write this is to denounce the situation in Palestine, and thus try and change it, for the better. A more personal reason is to never forget.

I do not want to forget M., who would not stay still while he explained things to us, he just could not sit down. He seemed to be dancing in front of us while he scribbled on the white board, and never stopping smiling.

I do not want to forget N. and her daughters. And her knowledge. And her support.

I do not want to forget M., who, during a “training”, he made me a sign pointing to a whole in the barrier, and I thought I could trust him, but it was a dirty trick of him in the game, and our team lost because of that and some one sunk their elbow into my back.

I do not want to forget M(2)., who took me on my own, to a shop in his car, contrary to local customary rules, who talked to me in my room while I was there on my own, also against the rules.

I do not want to forget R., who would not stop looking at me while I attended other people’s explanations, and who always said hello to us in Arabic, maybe in the hope that we would learn it.

I don not want to forget H., who told me his story and admitted candidly just how much he misses his youth, who almost was left as invalid when he suffered a stroke and the doctors said he would never walk or move his left arm again, and there he is, limping and using one hand, and assuring me that in two years he will not limp any more, and looking into my eyes while I explain the functioning of the western “democracies” and admitting that he knows about them because he reads, but he sees in my eyes that I speak from what I have seen and have lived.

I do not want to forget A., who was going to marry for love with an English girl the day we arrived, but because of the bureaucracy and the corruption of some Palestinian authorities he could not get marry that day, and he spent all that day with the wedding suit that he had borrowed, even when we found the dead boy and he started to shout “motherfuckers” and took the boy on his shoulders and the boy’s blood dripped all along his wedding suit, all white, but later he cleaned it white and could give it back as white as he had borrowed it. And at dark, still in his suit, instead of talking, he cooked, with the other Palestinians, for all of us foreigners. And then he did such a great coordination work, taking us with those families that needed us most and organising a taxi each morning.

I do not want to forget the boy in the internet cafe that looked at us with semi-open eyes and smiling every time we went there to send out our stories, even when I asked him for weird things like plugs to connect my computer instead of using the computers that were in the cafe, with their keyboards in Arabic, like every one else.

I do not want to forget his father, who worked there some afternoons, and the afternoon he was there and I used the cafe did not want to charge us, and on the next day we saw him again when we went to pick up olives, and he paid us the taxi while he told us to get off because it was going to be faster for us to walk across the fields than to go through the checkpoint.

I do not want to forget the university student who took the day off to help his family pick up olives and to invite us to his house to have some tea that later became tea plus coffee plus sweets plus bread with oil and zahtar and salad and hummus and refreshments.

Of course I do not want to forget the kid who, the day we arrived in the refugee camp where he lived and visited his family just before receiving that call that would eventually take us to a corpse, served us tea like the best of waiters, not allowing any one else to serve us, and later he waited for us every single day at eight in the morning at the door of our flat to tell us “hello, what’s your name, good bye”, and then look at us as we left, and who on our day off joined us while we bought soap and other handicrafts, and told us with signs that he didn’t like school, that what he wanted to do was to be a fighter and die for his people and become a martyr, like the martyrs that fill the pictures in the streets of Balata.

I do not want to forget R., who wrote her name and mine in English and Arabic, who took bread and hummus for her brother and her sister.

I do not want to forget the gentleman who agreed to be interviewed, nor the ladies in the little shop who sold soap made by hand with olive oil, nor the little girl who insisted that I go to school with her, nor her brothers and sisters, with their tanned skin and dark hair, and their blue-green eyes, that they had inherited from their parents, nor the girl who invited us to her home and then we went to bring food to her father, nor A., from the EAPPI, whom I met in one place and then I saw again in various other places, and it gave us the sensation, among so many unknown faces, that we had known each other all our lives.

I do not want to forget the moment when, at the checkpoint, all boys and men were made to get off and open their bags.

I do not want to forget the ill man who was not allowed to pass through the checkpoint in Qalandia, and had to go all the way round in a taxi for two hours like every one else, if he could afford it.

I do not want to forget the boy who did not want the other boys to speak to me because I can not speak Arabic, and who then apologised.

I do not want to forget all the women that have introduced us to their children, and grandchildren, and offered us the little food they had.

Although I never met him, I will not forget R., who was arrested during my travellings in Palestine, who was in prison during my stay in Tel Rumeida, and who was deported after I left Palestine.

And I do not want to forget D., who I met in Balata for the first time and then worked with him in Tel Rumeida, who visited his friend R. while he could, who sent us reports about himself and about his friend Andrew, and who was himself arrested and then deported shortly after his friend.

And so many people I am not including here. To all of you, wherever you are now, thank you.