Palestinian youth tell the human stories behind the numbers in the news

Palestinian youth tell the human stories behind the numbers in the news

Battlefield II, Gaza version

Bashar Nabhan | 19-06-2018


I have always loved playing action games, especially Battlefield II, in which you play the commander of a team, ordering your squad to eliminate enemy threats. I always choose to be a sniper, not because I want to pretend to be Israeli, but because it’s the easiest character to play. You just sit and wait for armed enemies to show up, then send them to rest in pieces (ha, ha). 

But I never killed hostages. In the game, if you kill hostages, your points decrease noticeably. The war never ends – you either kill or get killed – but you are “re-spawned” (game term for reborn) because you control the game (and also, on occasion, by one of your allies playing the game as a paramedic).

Two months ago, a new version of the game was introduced and Israeli soldiers were my opponents, but it was for real this time. I deleted the game's application from my computer. 

Two months ago, the Great Return March launched in Gaza; we hoped it would remind the world that we have an internationally guaranteed right to return to our ancestral lands and that no matter what U.S. President Donald Trump says or does, Jerusalem will always be our capital.

Two months later, more than 120 Gazans are dead and over 14,000 are injured. Many of my friends have participated in the march, bringing tires to burn to create a smoke-screen and obscure the sight of Israeli snipers. Five of them have been killed so far.

Israeli sniper forces

They weren't armed; they only had rocks to throw, which hardly threatened the heavily armed soldiers. Yet, the soldiers sniped away randomly, and the people imprisoned in Gaza – the hostages – were killed. Apparently, the rules apply to us but not to them.

One of the young people who participated in the protest was Abed El-Fattah Abed Elnaby, 18. I mention his name because he is not a number and nevernever be. Abed El-Fattah was shot as he helped a younger boy who was trying to carry a tire close to the border fence. Abed El-Fattah darted forward and grabbed it from him so the teen could run faster. Abed El-Fattah, the Gazan hostage, died.

Yes, I am living in a real-life version Battlefield II. But this time I am the subject. 

Posted: June 18, 2018

Mentor: Palden Jenkins

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