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David and Isma'il

The Nada Chronicles, part 22

by Hans Brockhuis

Translation: Mirjam Coumans B.A.

David Schmidt walked the rain soaked streets of Amsterdam all alone. He was in a bad mood because he felt he stood out in his old worn-out coat with the big yellow star of David(which the Germans made Jews in The Netherlands wear from 1942 on during the war). He made himself as small as possible to make sure nobody saw him. Suddenly a dog started barking fiercely at him. It scared him to death, because David wás fear. Five years ago, in 1938, he and his parents and sister had fled Schwabach near Neurenberg to the then still hospitable Netherlands. Life for Jews had been almost unbearable in the little town in Bavaria, Germany. Yet in The Netherlands they had found shelter with their Dutch branch of the family.

Though he was afraid nearly all the time, he also felt compassion and wasn’t hateful toward all who had harmed him and his family during his eighteen years of life. That was exceptional, because there was always a friend trying to convince him and his companions, whom he walked with after visiting the synagogue on Sabbath, that they should take revenge.

At this moment he was on the way to his small house in the 1e Goudsbloemdwarsstraat in the “Jordaan” neighbourhood of Amsterdam. His attention was drawn by loud yelling and to his horror he could just see his parents and sister being loaded into a big German truck, heading for where? Screaming he ran toward them. “Don’t! Help, father, mother…” Immediately a grinning German SS officer grabbed him and threw him into the back of the truck without hardly seeming distracted.


Isma’il Al-Qa’im walked the sunny streets of Jerusalem. It was Jom Kippur and so it was quiet in the streets. He and his friends were expressing themselves
loudly over the Zionist pigs, the Christian dogs and the fat bubble gum-chewing American tourists in their shorts and multi coloured shirts who pretended the city was theirs.

Five years ago, in 1968, he had fled a village near Arikâ (Jericho the Westerns said) with his parents, brothers and sisters to live with their family in an already crowded house in the east. Because of all the misery he had experienced in his life, Ismaël had becóme hate. Yet although his hatred was always present, Ismaël also had an eye for the beauty of nature. When he was still living close to the Jordan river, he used to sit by himself next to a tiny waterfall, thinking on and watching the beautiful things nature offered. When he was living in Jerusalem his cousins and uncles had taken him to Mount Moriah. He had loved the view, and so returned there again. Now musing from his high position he saw a golden city lying at his feet. A land of milk and honey, like the Jews called it. A land of peace, where people of all religions could live peacefully together.

He had been startled by his own thoughts of a golden city, and suddenly he remembered the humiliations he and his family and friends had gone through, and all the feelings he had grown up with. Kill them, thát was the message! He hurried home filled with this feeling.


David and his family were taken to Westerbork, along with a great number of other people. They stayed there in pitiful circumstances for some months. He rarely saw his mother and sister because they were in another part of the camp. A few months later he and his father and many others were stuffed into a freight car. After numerous days without food or sanitation, they arrived in a big Lager and were quartered in a barrack with plank beds that were built stacked over each other.

Life was even worse here. The Germans were cruel and the food was skimpy and disgusting. On top of that it was putrefied from the many rats and cockroaches that also lived here. As with everything, all this ended one day. On October 28, 1944 he and a great number of other men were forced into a big room. To ‘disinfect,’ as was said. David said goodbye to life on that day. He was 29 years old. In many ways that was a liberation.


Isma’il was nearly home from his journey on the mountain when he heard a loud hubbub. He ran onto his street and bumped right into an Israelian soldier with an automatic gun. He quickly viewed the situation and realised a number of his Palestinian countrymen were being led into a big army truck by the Israeli with their hands behind their neck. The soldier said something to him, but Isma’il did not understand his language. Anyway, he did not intend to take whatever the odious Zionist had to say to heart. Quick as a rabbit he turned around and took to his heels. He did not get far. With one well-aimed shot Isma’il, 19 years old, was given death on the run on the 27th of October, 1973.


Because time has no meaning in the after life, Isma’il and David arrive in the shadow land – at least they will think about it that way – at the same time. Neither of them really knows where he is. It is not unpleasant there. They don’t know hunger or bodily inconveniences, the weather is always the same with a nice breeze, but it is odd neither of them ever sees anyone else besides each other. When they met for the first time, they recognized one another for their opposite angles of incidence. Jew with regard to Palestinian, and in the beginning that was hard to accept for both of them. Bit by bit they learn to get to know each other better, and then they start talking about war and peace. It turns out there aren’t that many differences between them, and that is a surprising thought to each one.

At that moment a tall figure comes walking around the corner of the thicket in which shadow they sit. For both men this is a familiar person. David immediately recognizes the man as patriarch Avraham. Isma’il knows for sure it has to be Ibrahim, a great prophet, (as he has learned in the mosque), who was the bearer of the pre-Islamic revelation, together with Musa (Moses) and Isa (Jeshua).

With a smile Avraham/Ibrahim says: “It is good that you spoke about things that made you each others’ opposite poles for such a long time. That initiates an understanding and makes it possible to have peace in the countries both your people share, in which there has been so much trouble getting along with each other. You spoke about milk and honey. The land that was promised to the Israelites by God, or by Allah as you want. That doesn’t mean that they who already lived there should be exterminated with root and branch.

“Come with me; I want to show you something. It takes place in Westerbork, where you, David, spent a long time in very poor circumstances. And I tell you Isma’il, that those circumstances did not differ much from those you experienced in Jerusalem. I take you with me to have a short look over there.”


When they arrive they see about fifty people, men and women, standing hand in hand under a circle of trees. It is Sunday the 28th of October, 2001, and these people stand in a big circle on the premises of the former internment camp.

In the middle of the circle a few big feathers are placed on the ground to symbolize the presence of the people that were the original Americans, the Native American Indians. Isma’il and David barely are aware of the extermination of the Native Americans, but they feel that these people holding the ceremony can be a catalyst for the melting together of their people in particular, and all people in general.

Together with Avraham/Ibrahim they see an enormous golden globe of Forgiveness take form, which revolves and expands over the entire premises in such a way that the sadness, pain and heaviness that are so predominant, are being enlightened, healed and transformed. The sharing of the land of milk and honey will flow naturally from this event. They both feel that there will be a moment in the future that Palestinians ánd Israelites really will share the land of milk and honey. Together with them and Avraham/Ibrahim a big crowd of BE-ings from the other world is present. They are there to help with the ceremony, and it’s CRYSTAL-clear that the atmosphere at those premises is much lighter after this wonder-filled gathering.

Gradually the circle fades from view and the boys discover that the shadow land of which they had been a part of for such a long time, has been replaced by a land of light. A large number of family members, friends and acquaintances who have long since died approaches them, waving many coloured cloths. They know when they fall into the arms of their parents that all will be well, and that there will be peace not only in their heart, but also in the hearts of all who seek to kill each other now.