I am spending a few days in Wael’s childhood home in Nablus with his sister Naila who teaches English at An-Najah University. I learn that in 1951, when he was 17 years old, he left Nablus for Iraq to study architecture. He decided that he didn’t want to be an architect and stopped his studies to work. He stayed in Iraq for around four years and then left for Kuwait. In Kuwait, a German opera group came and he quit his job and followed them back to Germany. He did not like Germany, so after 6 months he moved to Italy to study opera and to learn Italian. Wael believed it was his duty to fight for the Palestinian cause and would never accept any money for the work he did. The idea that he would be paid for publicizing the cause was ridiculous to him. When they sent him cheques he would return them. At his funeral apparently Arafat showed everyone Wael’s returned cheques. Our discussion and my research are cut short as we turn on the news to find out to our horror about the Amman bombings. We, like everyone else in the West Bank try to call our relatives in Amman. The phone lines are jammed. We are frantic.
Dozens were slaughtered. The majority of the dead are Palestinians. The Western press doesn’t count our dead. The West Bank shuts down completely for 3 days of mourning.
I do not find Wael in Nablus. He is in Rome.