About 5 days in, I was smoking a cigarette on the roof when I heard a gravel moving noise coming from the hill behind my house. The street lights made it dificult to see what it was but I could just about make out a group of large figures making their way down this track. It looked like humans, big humans, on all fours, coming down the hill!! I was scared! The settlement was just up the hill and I’d heard stories of past incursions and still new to this unfamiliar and relatively (to me) troubled place, my imagination and stupidity got the better of me. Reality checked eventually and I concluded they weren’t humans.  I still didn’t know what they were though, so I didnt move or make a sound and just watched as these night monsters marched on by.

The next morning I tell murad what happened… And in his most blasé voice tells me , “That’s the pigs man….They come and destroy everything in a few minutes!”

So I looked it up. It’s not just in marda. Apparently all over the West Bank wild pigs have been wrecking crops and trees and sometimes attacking people, all since around 2004. People  claim they were introduced after the last intifada. One guy even told me he heard a ruck loads of them had been seen being unloaded in some fields. It’s a wild claim, but in a place where pollution is directed towards specific communities, raw seage is dumped into village’s water supply and Settler children are marched through villages abusing locals, it becomes more believable. I can only speculate as why pigs. Agitation? Disrespect? One guy joked that Islam should introduce a temporary fatwah so that people could eat the pigs and turn the problem in to a solution.

“In 2004 there were no pigs in Palestine! Now there are pigs! They don’t fly in!”

Murad showed me some of the damage they had done to his corn field. To protect his farm he put up a barbed wire fence but it was only when he attached tyres to the fence that they stopped getting in.

I became obsessed by this thing! I really wanted to see the pigs again, I  set my alarm to wake me up at all hours, but I never saw them. There were some near encounters. We just missed them on the way to work one day when some builders sent the running down the hill throwing stones at them

A law was passed to protect the pigs so farmers are not allowed to kill them. It would take a bullet to the head to do it apparently which would be pretty hard as you’re not allowed weapons of any description in Palestine.


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