Heba Al-Labadi, The Detainee Who Was Punished For Love!
By Fatima Khalifa – Al-Mayadeen
How can the horrors of prison and the darkness of interrogation rooms leave a girl with a sense of awareness that not even brainwashing rooms could change? The most beautiful thing that came across during Heba’s interview was her spontaneity and her sincere words that stem from a heart that believed it will survive. Heba’s words must be preserved by history. She said that the [“Israeli”] occupation army is occupying a state. For those who wish to learn, there are many lessons to be learned from this sentence.
She left Jordan with her family to attend a wedding in Nablus. They went to a land where there is a lot of controversy and injustice. Like any girl preparing to look glamorous for a wedding, Heba wore the best clothes she owned. When she arrived at the Karama crossing, one of the “Israeli” intelligence officers appeared to be terrified after seeing her name. He yelled at her and said, "You are a saboteur." The Jordanian citizen Heba al-Labadi has never been a "saboteur" at any time in her life. She has a clean record. She did not take any land by force. And she did not kill anyone. But she is a saboteur in the eyes of the occupation. That is how al-Labadi was detained and spent over two months behind bars for love.
During her detention and as she walked through the cold corridors towards a cell, she remembered the Khiam detention center in southern Lebanon. She recalled how this facility was a symbol of humiliation before it was liberated from the Zionist enemy. She walked into the dark cells and behind each locked door there was another locked door.
“These detention centers will surely disappear as well,” she said. They will be “a symbol of liberation” the way the Khiam detention center is.
The investigators were angry with her because she visited Lebanon and roamed the streets of Beirut. How can a Jordanian girl visit Lebanese territory, walk along Hamra Street and visit Baalbek and Jbeil? How can she love Syria and regard it as a symbol of Arabism? Their problem was that she loves Hezbollah’s Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.
They asked her why she loved him.
"Because he liberated his land," she said.
"This is not their land,” the arrogant interrogator replied.
Heba angered the interrogator. How dare an Arab citizen, during a time of treason and normalization, speak out about her love for the Resistance and Nasrallah?
The interrogator told her that Hezbollah is supported by Iran.
"‘Made in Britain’ is written on the shackles on my hands, and the moldy clothes you made me put on has ‘Made in Turkey’ written on it!” Heba said.
The rebellious girl silenced him. How could he possibly reply to her? How can a girl living through the horrors of prison and the darkness of interrogation rooms notice these details? Is this the sort of awareness that not even all brainwashing rooms could change? Or is it the patriotism that history editors could not stand up to? This is how the young people of this country are. They are aware of their rights. They know full well the details of their causes. This is how they remain insurmountable.
In the interrogation room, where the charges are fabricated, the investigator began weaving falsities, after which Heba was sentenced to administrative detention. For those who are unfamiliar with administrative detention, this is a practice the “Israeli” occupation is notorious for. It is handed down without a specific charge or indictment. More to the point, it is detention for no reason. It is meaningless. It can be described as a sullen and empty detention, an unjust cruel and inhumane detention through which hundreds of detainees are imprisoned without justification. It is detention for the sake of detention. When the occupier does not know what to charge you with, you are sentenced in accordance with his temperament. The occupying power invents a law to sentence you with, without any proper cause or charge.
When Heba was slapped with administrative detention, she decided to go on hunger strike. She had nothing left to fight with other than her flesh. The other female detainees told her not to do it because blood would come out of her mouth or she might suffer from heart attacks. She did not care. The jailer told her she would be thrown into solitary if she went on hunger strike and she would be left there to die and rot. She did not listen. The brave Jordanian went on hunger strike. The jailer did not take her seriously until her full on hunger strike entered its 25th day.
Al-Labadi was taken to hospital. After several attempts by “Israeli” officers and soldiers to persuade her to end her hunger strike, she was told, "tomorrow we will drug you, and leave you to die a clinical death."
However, she still refused to end her hunger strike. Her resolve was not broken, and she triumphed. It was wonderous and surreal but true at the same time. Despite the will of an enemy that lacks humanity, Heba is the embodiment of an icon – a true, beautiful, revolutionary and brave woman, who teaches the world how to take one’s rights by force. Heba al-Labadi, a Jordanian-Palestinian, has given the Arabs new hope. As Mahmoud Darwish once said, “We Palestinians suffer from an incurable disease called ‘hope’.”
In an interview with al-Mayadeen, Heba cried. She made those of us, who smell our looted lands from afar made, cry with her. She said she did not feel the taste of freedom because there are still detainees imprisoned in the narrow rooms. There are 21 Jordanian detainees and about 30 people missing. No one knows where they are. She told us how she met Israa Jaabis.
Israa is another Palestinian detainee. The latest report regarding her case shows that Israa is being detained in the cellars of the Damon prison. Her situation is worsening daily. She is suffering from the pain of imprisonment and being separated for her son, Mutasim, as well as the hell of sickness.
The most beautiful thing that came across during Heba’s interview was her spontaneity and her sincere words that stem from a heart that believed it will survive. Heba’s words must be preserved by history. She said that the [“Israeli”] occupation army is occupying a state. For those who wish to learn, there are many lessons to be learned from this sentence.