When the PA does not have a clue!
Today, shocking news came across me which until now I refuse to believe. A good friend of mine, a scout leader like myself, confessed that he was detained by the Palestinian authority preventive security forces for about a month. This is parts of what happened.
Around three months ago, the PA forces took him for investigations and threw him in prison. He was tortured. Amid winter, he was held in a cold cell with no blankets nor a mattress.
I asked what the reason behind his detention was and his answer was scouts!
For ten nights, his hands hanged in the air just because he was volunteering for the movement. When he told them he did not get anything in return, their answer was “strange”. Apparently, our forces are used to getting something in return to anything they do!
When my conversation went further with him, he said he saw photos of himself putting his hand on his waist where he usually puts his mobile phone. According to a report they had, there was a gun. Would a mobile be mistaken to a gun? That exactly was my question and it turned out he did not even own one.
Another report which the PA showed him said that he used to train cub scouts on weapons. When I asked for the reason, he said that he once took the cubs to a hiking trip. The area was not completely isolated as there were houses around. They heard gunshots or fireworks. Immediately, the forces accused him of using weapons although he did not know where the sound came from.
These are only two of the many reports they had against him. It seems they do not have any idea what scouting is or what activities scouts do. I came to the conclusion that they think about scouting as a political faction which is definitely not!
What is scouting? Scouting, also known as the Scout Movement, is a worldwide youth movement with the stated aim of supporting young people in their physical, mental and spiritual development, so that they may play constructive roles in society.
Although he asked me not to write a report to the media for fear he would go back to prison, I could not ignore the incident because I may be next. We have the same rank and we do the same voluntary work as dozens of Palestinian scout leaders do. I promised not to write everything but hope I would be able to convince him in the next few days to publish more details.
For further information on scouts please go to the official website of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) and the Palestinian Boy Scouts and Girl Guides Association