The friendship of three amputees was a remarkable sight to see as they stood on the beach in Gaza City, but what was even more surreal about the sight was that two of them shared one pair of shoes.
One of the men, Adli Obeid, 24, had his right leg amputated, while the other, Mansour Al-Qurm, 26, had his left leg amputated. They sustained their injuries separately from what they call a “deceitful” Israeli missile.
In March 2011, Adli was attending to children who were injured by an Israeli artillery missile fired at a home in Al-Shujai’yyah, east of Gaza City, before he was hit by a missile that caused the amputation of his left leg.
He was unconscious for a week in ICU. When he woke he asked where his leg was and he was told: “It beat you to heaven.”
He was overcome with sadness. His close friend, Mansour, tried to cheer him up and even jokingly asked him: “What about you take both my legs?”
In August of the same year, Mansour was injured when an Israeli missile targeted a location near his home. He was hit as he was passing by and his right leg was amputated.
His situation was the same as Adli’s; he spent time in a coma in ICU. He woke up and was surprised that he had lost his leg. He asked the same question as his friend Adli and received the same answer; his leg had beaten him to heaven.
However, Mansour’s situation was more critical, his right leg and two fingers on his right hand were amputated, while a piece of shrapnel had entered his brain and caused him to have weak nerves in his left hand.
Mansour told an Al-Khaleej Online: “My friend and my injury was a drama no one would envy us over.”
Adli added: “Perhaps what happened to my friend and I comforted both of us. I consider Mansour my other half that I cannot live without; we even share a pair of shoes.”
“We do everything together. We rely on each other to drive our motorbike; Adli pushes the gas pedal with his right leg, and I change the gears with my left,” said Mansour.
Neither of the men gave up.
In the only prosthetics center in Gaza, the two friends met Mohannad Eid. He was injured by a mortar missile during Israel’s last war on Gaza in 2014.
Since 2008, there have been three Israeli wars on the Gaza Strip which left over 1,800 people with various types of amputations.
Nabil Farah, head of the Amputations Center, said that the most recent war doubled the number of those injured. He added that the center focuses on improving the psychological state of those injured by providing them with prostheses that can help them go about their lives.
– This article was originally published in Middle East Monitor (MEMO).