No Food, Water, or Toilets
No Food, Water, or Toilets
"I was thirsty and hungry. When I asked to go to the toilet they told me to pee in my jeans."An 8-year-old child. An 8-year-old child.

Fulfilling and responding to physiological needs is considered essential among all living creatures, including mankind. Doing so involves providing sufficient nutrition – food and water- as well as enabling the free passage of urine and feces.

Abraham Maslow, in his 1943 work called The Theory of Human Motivation, proposed a psychological theory that arranged human needs in into shape of a pyramid, with the greatest, most fundamental levels of needs at the bottom of the pyramid and the need for self-actualization at the top.

The most fundamental and basic four layers of the pyramid contain what Maslow called “deficiency needs” or “d-needs”: esteem, friendship and love, security, and physical needs. If these “deficiency needs” are not met – with the exception of the most fundamental (physiological) need – there may not be a physical indication, but the individual will feel anxious and tense.

Accordingly, when a child is denied access to food, water and prevented from using the bathroom, this will inevitably bring him/her down to a lower layer of the pyramid. We believe this is often done as part of a planned effort to lower the child’s self esteem and dignity as a human being.

A child, already panicked from being taken to interrogation, is easier to manipulate and be emotionally blackmailed through denying him access to food, water and use of the bathroom. This will eventually lead to anxiety and tension and may cause long-term emotional instability.

The humiliated child might feel guilty for having normal physiological and psychological needs, and might judge himself as being weak- forgetting that such needs are entirely normal.

When a child is forced to urinate or defecate in his clothing, he will feel inferior and will blame himself for having bodily needs. Studies have indicated that the smell of urine and feces remain with the children years after their release, in addition to psychological pain caused by the devolution of his or her self-worth.

About this photograph

Adi Khalifa – The Artist in the Photograph:
I imagined for a moment…

If Israel and the Palestinian Authority were to arrive at an agreement and the settlers were to join the Palestinian Authority and become a minority in the State of Palestine (which is impossible to succeed), I imagined for a moment the Palestinian Authority carrying out child arrests in the settlements under the same conditions: taking the children to “Room No. 4,” and carrying out against them unjustified and inhumane violence, interrogations filled with psychological and physical torture aimed only at terrorizing the children, and at suppressing their ability to think and feel, stripping them of their ability to resist or even to think of resistance… I think that it would take a day until the Zionists’ newspapers would publicize these stories on their front pages, and the whole world would be moved to call out by this human suffering.

Only, reality is the opposite… Sadly, most of the Arab channels are backed by Zionist-Imperialist organizations, and will publicize only a 5-minute story to show “freedom of expression” and afterwards, will put an advertisement for fuel in Qatar.

Personally, if I hadn’t been in touch with Tamer and Jawad from the Madaa Center, I wouldn’t have heard about what the children go through in Room No. 4.
And it is important to me to know, and important that you all know, and then everyone knows.