They are not numbers

Al Masri Family

Originally I had planned to write about our Palestinian rituals in Eid el-fitr, a holy occasion in which we share happiness, make ka’ak and buy new clothes, especially for the children. But things turned into a grim form of topsy-turvy as the barbaric Israeli occupation began attacking Gaza on May 10, using internationally prohibited weapons that violate humanity.

So I am setting before you the stories of innocent Gazans who did nothing to deserve being killed except for being Palestinian! We call them Shuhadaa’ — martyrs.

I know that my piece of writing will not bring safety back to Gaza, but at least it will help me to represent my country the way I can. I believe that I have to take an action in response to the miserable situation we undergo here in Gaza. Waiting for a new bomb to pierce my ears, I sit at my desk, taking my pen as my sword and writing as my shelter. In the meanwhile, my little nephews and nieces are surrounding me, as if I can ensure them safety. Sadly, I cannot.

I live in Beit Hanoun, a city in Gaza, Palestine, where the attack first took place. Holding my pen in one hand and my phone in the other, I browse the social media platforms to check the news. My heart is in my mouth for fear that I will find a name of my beloved ones listed as martyrs. 

The Israeli attack is targeting children, women and civilians in open disregard of human rights law. I cannot cite the exact number of martyrs who have been bombed by the barbaric Israeli army, because the number rises as I write. A whole family may be wiped out within a blink of an eye.

Because the martyrs are not just numbers, I will enumerate some of the stories of their last moments on earth.

Al-Masri family left earth and headed to heaven

  • Marwan Yousef Atallah Al-Masri
  • Ibrahim Yousef Atallah Al-Masri
  • Rahaf Mohammed Atallah Al-Masri
  • Ahmed Mohammed Atallah Al-Masri
  • Yazan Sultan Atallah Al-Masri

As their names indicate, they are related, brothers and cousins. “They were packing straw for livestock to be able to buy new clothes for the Eid,” the mother of Ibrahim and Marwan said through tears. Instead of modeling new clothes, they were dressed in blood. They were children, and they were not holding any weapons or rockets; rather, they were holding their dreams for a better life or simply for a new dress.

What made things worse is that Mohammed Al-Masri lost his wife during 2014 war. He was badly injured in this attack and lost two more loved ones, his daughter and brother.

The same tragic scene has now repeated itself. It is really hard to imagine how this man will pursue his life after losing three.

Ahmed Al-Masri's wedding was supposed to be a few days after Eid. Life has  been turned upside down for his fiancé and the rest of his family. Ahmed is now a groom in the sky, and his beautiful wedding is in the presence of angels.

The son of Suliman Al-Farra


adhama Allahu ajrak عظَّم الله أجرك




A child says good bye to his father, Suliman Al-Farra

The photo itself tells the story.


adhama Allahu ajrak عظَّم الله أجرك




A life ends and another starts 

Mohammed Nassir and his namesake, Mohammed Ali

Mohammed Nassir was murdered by the Israeli airstrike while he was earning his livelihood.

Hussien Hamad, a 10-year old child, was Mohammed’s companion when they said farewell to life together.

A couple of hours after Mohammed’s murder, his brother was blessed with a newborn. He named the boy after his uncle: Mohammed Ali.

Despite being a sad story, I looked at Mohammed’s story from a different perspective: If Israel wants to kill the voice of truth, the echo will emerge somewhere to support truth. 


adhama Allahu ajrak عظَّم الله أجرك




Ibrahim Al-Shinbary

Incredible last moments on Earth

Ibrahim Al-Shinbary is an imam — the sheikh who leads the prayers in the mosque.

He was performing al-tarweeh prayers in the mosque after rewarding the children whom he teaches Quran. While he was heading home, Ibrahim was brutally murdered by the warplanes.

Beit Hanoun is grieving over Ibrahim, as he was a good person who was known for his nice, innocent smile and his constant offers to help others. 


adhama Allahu ajrak عظَّم الله أجرك





Mohammed Ahmed Abu-Amsha

Still more…

I was supposed to submit the stories above only, but here I am writing again.

While we were breaking our fast on the last day of Ramadan, we heard someone shouting and crying aloud. We rushed outside to see what was the matter.

A man had found his brother dressed in blood after looking for him for three days straight. Their hope was buried.

This is the story of Mohammed Ahmed Abu-Amsha, another victim from Beit Hanoun.

Gaza is loneliness mixed with steadfastness, as the world turns a blind eye to so-called Israel's ibrutal acts against humanity. Gazans are ready to sacrifice their lives for the good of Palestine and Jerusalem.


adhama Allahu ajrak عظَّم الله أجرك










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Mentor: Catherine Baker

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