Through the eyes of a 15-year-old
Earlier this month, the Israeli Defense Forces gunned down and killed a Palestinian near the border with Gaza. What was so heinous about this act was that the victim was a 57-year-old mentally retarded woman who had wandered close to the border only to be shot several times until she died.
The Israeli spin machine tried to cover up this cold-blooded act by claiming that their forces intended to shoot around the legs of the victim as a warning to keep her distance, but that, unfortunately, her body got in the way. Right! Such acts of targeted killing are nothing new to the Israelis who often set their sights on bringing down defenseless victims to drive their message of dominance home to oppressed Palestinians.
Such blatant brutality, so often not condemned by the civilized world, has driven the hapless Palestinians to the point of despair. From seeing their lands illegally occupied by settlers to their women and children being shot by trigger-happy Israeli forces, the Palestinians are truly victims of an ongoing holocaust. But very little of what they experience is ever reported.
A young Saudi boy who has never been anywhere near Israel and Palestine has perhaps captured the essence of what it is like to be living under such continuous Israeli terror. Majed Al-Othaimeen, whose grand uncle was one of the Kingdom’s most revered and followed clerics, was 15 when he wrote a piece which brilliantly captures some of the moods and fears of the oppressed Palestinians. In extraordinary prose, Majed titled his piece “A dream to dream”. The rest follows below:
“Dreams – I can’t remember the last time I had a dream, at least not a good one. Now every night I just have nightmares; hell, I’m living one. My name is Ali Yusuf and I’m 13 years old and I was born in Gaza, Palestine. I say I’m from Gaza, Palestine but it feels like Gaza, Israel.
“For as long as I can remember, my family and everyone in Gaza have been ruled by Israeli settlements and soldiers who come and go and do what they please. I’ve heard bombs in the night and gunfire in the morning, and every day when I walk to school and approach my checkpoint I tell myself ’this could be your last day on earth’ but, unfortunately, my life has just continued in this way.
“My great grandfather told my grandfather who told my father of a time when Israeli soldiers did not exist in our land and it was possible for us Palestinians to walk home safely and not spend every waking moment afraid of an invasion. A time when we Arabs were treated like human beings and were given the same rights as one – a time when you could dream of what you wanted to become and not dread what you were destined to be. This is the place I wished I lived in, not this hell where my family and I barely survive.
“Two weeks ago my father became sick with a life-threatening illness and was unable to work and earn money for our family. I am the eldest son of four children with no skills for work, but I needed a way to make money for my family. The next day I went see some kids in my school who were rumored to have connections with the Hamas group. I knew that if I worked with them they would pay me, but what would I have to do in return?
“I met with some Hamas leaders and they offered me a job. They said that if I did this job it would give the Palestinian people a chance at a better life and either way they would take care of my family. At first I was filled with joy, this was all I ever wanted and now it was finally possible. I thanked them quickly and ran for the door. I stopped just short because I had forgotten to ask what the job was.
“When one of the leaders told me what it was, my heart sank to my stomach. If I did this job I wouldn’t be celebrating with my family afterwards. But backing out was now out of the question, my family needed this and I needed to put my family first and besides I don’t have much to look forward to here in Gaza. At least I could try to make a difference for others and their lives.
“So I went home and hugged my mother and father and wished them good health but I didn’t tell them about what I was planning on doing. Then I went to my younger brothers and sister – Sofian, Muhammad and little Fatima. We did not always get along but in this moment I loved them more than anything else. I hugged them all while I was on the verge of tears. Then I went into my room and cried. At least I know that God will allow me to finally dream a good dream while I am in heaven.”
Majed Al-Othaimeen’s depiction of the acute anxiety that some Palestinians have been driven to is not one that is routinely reported, but it is a reflection of the sordid reality of desperate people driven to desperate measures. Palestinians are being gunned down daily and their lands stolen from beneath them while the big powers sputter about fruitless peace talks that the Zionists have no interest in.
The Israeli spin machine is today working overtime in trying to convince the world of regional threats other than themselves, and yet they could not fool a 15-year-old. Neither can they pull the wool over the eyes of the rest of us.
— The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @talmaeena