15 February, 2009

Famers and Officers - el Horreya villagers protest

Farmers from el-Horreya village in Dekernes, Daqahleya, demonstrated outside the ministry of agriculture today at noon. More than a 100 families in the village and adjacent villages was driven from land they had been cultivating for decades when a new land law was introduced in the 90's. More than ten years later, some of them are still staging regular protests in front of the ministry, demanding the replacement land that was promised but never given to them.

"We've been coming here again and again for ten years, but never received a reply," one of the farmers said. "There has been no results, and it's feels pointless. But we'll keep coming, until we receive our rights. For us there is no alternative but land to feed our families."

As I was taking photos of the protest a plainclothes officer approached me, clearly astonished to see a foreign journalist talking to the fellaheen. "Who told you about this?" he wanted to know. When I replied that I received the news through the internet, his jaw fell to the ground. "Al nas dol tala3u al-internet?!" [those people are on the internet?!] he blurted out. Then he stared at me and them in disbelief for a few seconds, before walking away in silence.

Pic above: The sign reads "Farmers of Daqahleya, no alternative but land, we won't leave without a reply."

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