The sight of former Palestinian radio presenter Ramzy Abul Jedian selling coffee in the streets of Ramallah sheds light not only on the suffering of Palestinians under the Israeli occupation, but also the effects of internal divisions between Palestinian factions.
Ramzy Abul Jedian is a blind radio presenter who worked for the Gaza-based Sawt al-Erada (The voice of determination) station for the handicapped, the first of its kind in Palestine and the whole world.
The station was established by the Higher Committee for Defending the Rights of the Handicapped in the Deir al-Balah refugee camp in central Gaza Strip then was closed after Hamas took control of the strip in 2007.
“According to human rights activists, the station started facing pressure by the Hamas government and eventually had to close,” Abu Jedian told AlArabiya.net. “In October 2007, I left Gaza.”
Accompanied by his younger brother Ahmed, also blind, and Abul Jedian left for Ramallah, leaving behind his wife and children and hoping he would be able to find a job in one of Ramallah’s radio stations.
“I wanted a job that allows me to speak for my fellow handicapped, but the society still underestimates the handicapped and does not understand the role they can play in the media.”
After failing to secure the job he wanted, Abul Jedian now roams the streets of Ramallah with his brother, who he can’t leave alone at home, with coffee flasks in order to earn his living.
Abul Jedian was also spotted in Bethlehem with his brother, where both were taking part in Christmas celebrations.
“My brother’s school is closed for the holidays, so we came here to celebrate and to try to be happy in the middle of pain.”
Abul Jedian lives in a shabby apartment in Ramallah with his brother Ahmed, who studies in a school for the handicapped in Bethlehem and is now in the sixth grade of primary education.
Abul Jedian finished his high school education and took courses in media and journalism at the Islamic University in Gaza and at AMIN/Internews network.
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)