The Daily Life of Kawther Salam

  ..: UNDP Wastewater Canalization Projects :..
July 28, 2003

Corruption Story No. 3:
UNDP Wastewater Canalization Projects

When I began investigating the UNDPP project issue concerning the cities Wastewater canalization net, and the drinking water net which the municipality implemented in a way compeletly contradicting to the advertisement of the companies which implemented it.

The two projects were implemented in a different way of what the municipality had mentioned in their bid advertisment through the local media. The bid already included the necessary isolating construction material "Biscors" between the two projects which were supposed to be implemented in on hole. The UNDP paid for implementing the project. During the implementaion, the Municipality engineers did not buy or use the isolating construction material "Biscors" which had already been paid by the UNDP. Thousands of dollars disappeared.

The water pipes were put down in the hole, and pipes for septic waste water were put over them without using the necessary isolating material "Biscors", this means that there is a big possibility of waste waters contaminating the drinking water net after a couple of years.

According to ecology, the septic water's salts will be able to dissolve the pipes in the future, and without the necessary isolating construction material "Biscors" between the two pipe networks, the wasted water will seep through the drinking water net and contaminate the city water net, as both of these two project were implemented in one hole.

The UNDP sent a lady from the office of UNDP in Jerusalem to investigate the issue, but this lady was a cousin of the municipality engineer who was involved in this matter. The investigator lady had a good lunch with her cousin in the city, then the issue was covered. The municipality engineer hid the health crime by pouring concrete on top of the project.

The municipal engineers threatened to take me to court if I wrote a story about what they did. One municipal worker drew a caricature of a woman wearing a mini skirt and holding a microphone. Underneath the cartoon, they wrote; "The correspondent for miserable life. Life is new and beautiful, but I am...Oh, moan?? God will help and veil on her by forwarding a husband". (See picture at the end of this page)

The municipality sent a copy of this caricature to the occupational civil administration, the governers advisor, Colonel "Alex" called me and said: "We received a copy of the caricature made by the Municipality against you, but we are sure that you are strong enough to face this challenge".

In a conservative male society such as Hebron, drawing a caricature is a big insult for a woman. But I wasn't insulted by what the municipality did. I felt proud of my investigative work and what I did to serve the public interest of my people.

Caricature of Kawther Salam, the "Correspondent for Miserable Life",
made by the driver of the Mayor of Hebron

In the following editorial comment, Kawthers editor, Hafez Al-Bargouti, replied to the smearing attempts by the Municipality.

The translation of the editorial follows:

A Hebronite Writer,
By: Hafez Al-Barguti

No other journalist was harmed by the the IDF and the settlers in Hebron more than our colleague Kawther Salam, no other writers wrote about Hebron, the same like she did, she wrote and exposed many effective stories about the IDF and settlers behavior, she worked day and night to carry the Hebronite suffer, pain and problems in different influental images, she did all of that for pure professional and national motivitation. She never ran behind foreign agency or an Israeli newspaper to spread our homeland mistakes.

Kawther used to be honest for Hebron, and national journalism, and when she wrote about the daily life of Hebronite problems from water to slaughterhouse, to electricity and ... by her continual features, she carried her people problems and tried to achive better services for them. Yes I mean it just better services and not something else. This was the only reason which made some of people resentful of her exposing the neglect, the delinquency and the problems, the same like hidding these problems will made others did not feel or know about these problems. Because of that, some of these people lead a massive tilt attack on our colleague for private intrest, these people declined a level to draw and spread a caricature of her and to pass it for the occupational civil admenistration as a revenge, while the Hebronite citizens copied her reports and spread them from hand to hand and from house to house as a sacred thing which expressed their real situation.

I used to answer anyone ask me if we have free press in our media or not, if he means by his question the free media of political criticizm and attacking Oslo and peace agreement, and he said yes, I responsed to his question that we have this kind of free expression and we are exporting this freedom to abroad. But the challenge that we find a lot of problems to talk about our homeland of social and loacal affair, because there is some people who refuse this kind of freedom. These people they want us to have free expressions against others but not free expressions to write about him, these people they want the media to give a wide of problems to keep himself above requesting. This kind of non official sencership is paralysing our free expression but not Al- Hayat Al-Jadidah writers. He meant that Kawther will go a head in what she is doing.