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Veteran Jerusalem newspaper seller dies at 85

Feb. 26, 2015 2:34 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 27, 2015 11:48 A.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Residents of East Jerusalem's Old City on Wednesday bid farewell to a veteran newspaper seller after he was laid to rest in the city.

Hundreds of mourners joined the funeral procession for Amir Dana, 85, who ran the Old City's most famous and longest running newspaper stand at the entrance to Damascus Gate.

Dana is considered an icon of the city for many Palestinian Jerusalemites.

According to his contemporaries, Dana began selling newspapers at the age of six after his father and three brothers were imprisoned by British authorities during the Palestinian strike of 1936 in the Mandate period.

Amir and his brother, now the main breadwinners of the family, began looking for work and were given newspapers to sell by an old friend of their father in what is now considered West Jerusalem.

Dana couldn't afford school due to his family's financial difficulties, but learned to read and write Arabic in coffee shops with men who used to read the local papers.

At the age of 14, Dana leaned English and then Hebrew and French, and as a young man began writing for Egyptian art magazines as a reporter on trends in Palestine.

During his reporting, he interviewed legendary Syrian-Egyptian singers Farid al-Atrash and Asmahan, as well as famous Egyptian monologist and actor Hasan Fayiq.

Dana served in the Jordanian army during the country's rule over East Jerusalem and the West Bank before joining the Palestinian communist party.

In 1950, he set up his newspaper stand near Damascus Gate after the holy city was divided between East and West.
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