On Our Land

Cave of Abu J'at Qubaitat

January 2020

Transcript from On Our Land Film (On Our Land. 2019)

Interviewer Overview: My interview aimed to document places in an area people had been displaced from. We chose Al Qaryateen village and accompanied the narrator, Ahmad Othman Abu Sabha from Yatta, so he could show us the border areas.

Respondent: This is the cave of Abu J’at Qubaitat. My father lived here for 80 years and I lived in it for 12 years before they kicked us out. I was born here.
Interviewer: Can you show it to us? Be careful
Respondent: I want to see it. Come in, you are still young. I want to die here.
(Laughter as he navigates the steep slope)
Oh my God! This is all gone. Destroyed.
Interviewer: Where did you sleep in this cave?
Respondent: This place was home for four families
Interviewer: Which families were here?
Respondent: My father and his family, Yassin and his family, Jaber and his family and I forgot who the fourth one was.
Interviewer: Where did they cook?
Respondent: They had a stove and put a stone in the middle, and each woman would bring a pot and cook.
Interviewer: What else was here?
Respondent: There was a camel and sheep and everything. The camel and sheep would come inside and we had a store for seeds made of clay.
Interviewer: What did you put in it?
Respondent: We put seeds
Interviewer: And who made it?
Respondent: I don’t know, my mother or my grandmother
Interviewer: What does this cave mean to you?
Respondent: I was born here and I want to die here
Interviewer: What was the first sensation you had when you entered it?
Respondent: I remembered how they used to sleep in here. Nowadays no father and his children sleep in the
same room. Four families used to sleep here. How they and they wives slept here and woke up. They used to walk to the water stream and cover themselves with cloth. This is how they bathed.
Interviewer: How did you feel when you first stepped into the cave?
Respondent: I felt as if I was 13 and going home with the sheep. I was young again. (Wipes tear from his face)
Interviewer: What is you dream?
Respondent: To go back home and that the land is given back to its people

Below is an illustration of the cave as Ahmad Othman Abu Sabha described it during the interview

Illustration by Rebecca Bubb

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