Seeing his cousin being shot and killed by soldiers while protesting non-violently drove Hamde Abu-Rahma to photojournalism. Four years later his first book, ‘Roots Run Deep’, documenting life in Bil’in and occupied Palestine, has been published. The picture outside his window still looks grim but Abu-Rahma insists on smiling.
Hamde Abu-Rahma, 26, is probably the most cheerful person in Bil’in. Not just now, celebrating his new book, but always. Anyone visiting this tiny village, which after eight and a half years of ongoing resistance long ago become a symbol for the popular struggle against the wall and settlements, is bound to run into Abu-Rahma, who seems bound to have a regular smile on his face just as he is sure to be carrying his camera around. Like many in the village, Abu-Rahma has been involved in protests against the occupation from a very young age, but it was not until soldiers shot dead his cousin Bassem Abu-Rahma at a demonstration that he decided to also take up the role of photojournalist.
“As far as I’m concerned I’m still more of an activist than a journalist, if you can at all put a line between the two,” Abu-Rahma says while getting his camera, helmet, “PRESS”-labeled bullet proof vest and the rest of his gear together at home, facing another Friday demonstration. “Anyway, it’s not like the soldiers really care. They shoot towards people who are clearly marked as journalists as well. Just two weeks ago I was standing alone with another photographer and they simply started firing tear gas at us. We yelled at them to stop but it didn’t work.”Read More