When my phone rang before 5am on May 17 and Nurredin’s name flashed on the screen of my cell phone, I knew it was something bad.
“The bulldozers are here!” he said. “For your house?” I asked, suddenly wide awake. His home was partially demolished on March 31, 2015. “No. They are demolishing the Tutanji and Totah homes. Right now! They are demolishing right now!”
I had visited the Tutanjis before, when they expected a demolition and called for internationals to help them protect their home. When nothing happened and weeks went by, they thought they were safe. They were wrong.
Of course there was nothing I could do except cry and spread the word. Then I got in my car and went to visit. I took some film clips and Institute for Middle East Understanding put them into a very nice little video.
Later that week I went back to visit and Hoda Tutanji insisted on making me coffee, despite not having a kitchen! I wanted the world to see what it means to demolish the home of a family, so I made another little video.
That same week, three other homes in the neighborhood went under demolition order.