Name: Bishara Costandi
Form of oppression: Government persecution

At five years old, Bishara Costandi was living in Yasa (JAFFA), in what had recently become Israel, when there came a knock at the door. It was the Israeli army, and they announced that they were taking his family's apartment for an Israeli family that needed a place to stay.

The Costandi family refused to leave, so the army took a blanket and hung it across the room, and the families lived like that. A few months later, the army came again and announced that another family would be living in the garden shed. After a year, Costandi and his family gave up and left for Jordan, then Lebanon.

When Costandi came to Portland in 1976 to study Political Science at PSU, he thought he left his problems with the government behind him. But one night, he heard someone banging on his door, trying to get in, so he called 911.

The police were already there. In a few minutes, they broke down his door and he was staring at eight shotguns. They told him to drop the phone.

Costandi claims the police were cracking down on Palestinian activists. He was charged with not taking enough credits in school, and after spending three months in an INS jail, he was forced to leave the country. A few years later he returned. Now he is a union organizer, the chair of Arabs Building Community, and a founding member of Portland Peaceful response.--FRANK BURES