Lighting on the book “At the Gate of the Mill of Ages” by Palestinian prisoner Ahmed Al-Shweiki

After I read the book of the Palestinian prisoner Ahmed Salah Al-Shweiki “At the Gate of the Mill of Ages”, I felt that writing here is an act of liberation from all the burdens you carry on your shoulders, to become light, luminous, and the reader can easily see you. This book is not about ordinary prisoners, nor about iron fences that cannot be broken. The prisoners here are sometimes cubs and children led by fate and will to that abhorrent isolation, but they tried as much as possible to break them so that they could live and adapt to those harsh conditions. Where the prisoner moves from the Cubs prison to the Moskobiya prison, from (Eshel) prison to Hell (Raymond) and finally to the Negev prison.
The prisoner Ahmed Salah Al-Shweiki says: “Each of us deserves that his life be a story, a novel, a song and perhaps a book. Our lives are in the hands of others, extended to their souls, to their hearts, to themselves. With their experiences we live more than one life in life, through them we are more than I, more than you. And if you do not want it, you will be an example, you will be the richest man on earth.”
As soon as you read the title of the book, goosebumps will run through your body, because you will know that there is one person, and perhaps several people whose life is being grinded behind bars. Life is already short, and half of it is lost by sleeping and waiting. What if it was also crushed, as the prisoners languished in a narrow room, without windows, and not containing the minimum necessities of life?
What a terrible pain and oppression that these Palestinian youth are subjected to in the abhorrent Israeli prisons, but it is more painful that the Arab prisons or – slaughterhouses – are not in the best condition, where the prisoner lives in conditions resembling hell, and he wrote about this harsh experience the great novelist – Abdul Rahman Munif – in His wonderful novel, “The Eastern Mediterranean”, did not specify the country in which the events of the novel took place, fearing for his life. In general, all the Arab countries are ruled by a group of dictators who control the land and peoples as if they live forever.
Examples of persecution, slavery and oppression in those lonely basements are almost innumerable in an Arab prison, for example; One of the Arab prisoners said some time ago about his experience in prison: “On the day the prison administration decided to give us a meal of broth and meat, the officer took out his penis and urinated into the food suit.” I was looking through the door hole, and I did not taste the food, while the rest of the prisoners ate it, because hunger. Yes, this is the real life of prisoners that many people may not be aware of.
“Man lives on the boundary between light and darkness,” said the Russian writer Andrei Platonov, but when he is placed in an isolated and uninhabitable room, he descends into darkness at once. When Ahmed Salah Al-Shweiki entered that terrifying prison, he was a child, no more than fourteen years old. Despite the bitterness of the circumstances that surrounded him over those long years, he tried to light a candle for himself, to light his way and dispel sadness, so as not to curse the darkness. Life there is lonely and painful, not suitable for people except those who are good at taming sadness, and carving mountains and rocks with their iron nails. The prisoner, Ahmed, the child who was injured by his hand, tried to live these conditions, patiently and with a believing heart, and he only had his white papers, to pour his worries on them, with the ink of the sincere heart, to write down his experience during the past twenty years.
He tells us about the chapters of his life in clear ink without frills or spices. Each scene has true color and the most it can be. He writes about his forced retreats. He may be subject to a military investigation, and lose his life, and the investigators will not be held accountable. And only a companion on the trail that you may leave when you leave to leave him alone is the burden of that prison. That childhood does not have a doll but does have a cause.
“It is the spoiled Palestinian childhood, and childhood wishes that are not fulfilled, and the homeland passes through all generations except the generation of childhood, as the prisoner Ahmed Salah Al-Shweiki said, without joy and dreams. He is breastfed and grows to become a delicious meal for families.”
Children learn to cook, wash and clean, and grow up before time passes its fingers on their bodies and minds. Through this book, you will learn about the meaning of torment, hunger, oppression, human humiliation, harsh living in cells, drowning in filth and disease, like scabies that eats the skin until it bleeds and no medicine is given to it.
Suffering from loneliness, darkness, injustice and cold. What does it mean to be imprisoned, and for someone to call you: O son of the madman? Despite everything, she is trying to create a chance for life out of a needle hole. Days repeat themselves, months or years. And imprisonment is usually for a mature and sane person, as one who lives in a coffin, as Gregory Corso said. But the writer Ahmed Salah Al-Shweiki was a child, and he took off his childhood clothes in that abhorrent prison. And what door closed to man is so sad? Nevertheless, he was trying to make the lives of his fellow prisoners a bit of fun, so that his loneliness, torment and pain would not be multiplied. Perhaps the prison was the ladder that he climbed to see the world from above, to write about his bitter experience. And how he lived stripped of the outside world, transferred from one prison to another.
A child has grown up to be a young man, and when the prisoner decides to continue his education, sudden punishments come and he is prevented from newspapers, books and university education, he started educating himself. Prisoners have no weapon but their voices, and those voices and screams get louder when someone attacks you, to break your will or your bones. And here the prisoners are still living with these difficult conditions and unjust laws in order to obtain the necessary necessities of life, such as medicine, food and telephones to talk to their families. They even smuggled their sperm in order to have children, and they have ruled for more than two or three lives and have no hope of getting out, marrying and having children.
The abhorrent prison period passes and the prisoner Ahmed is released, his childhood and part of his youth being lost behind those abhorrent bars, leaving his companion and soul mate there alone.
Those memories will remain rooted in the depths, rotting in the mind and soul, as they whip their owners with batons and disturb their memory with thorns and pins of the past, they may take the form of a coma when the wind of oblivion passes, but may explode as a violent volcano when sounds and smells pass in a moment of presence that the captive sees in the mirror of imagination.