By Wafa Aludaini
“I was looking at the sniper when he shot me.
Then he laughed, and I fell.”
So says Asma Abu Daqqa, a 23-year-old mother of three from Khan Younis, Gaza, describing being shot in the leg by an Israeli sniper near the separation fence during the Great Return March on May 14.
From the first day of the civil protests, Asma’s husband was there defending Palestinian rights and was shot three times by Israeli Occupation forces. Asma decided she too would participate, joining the March the day after her husband got shot.
“I march to prove to the well-armed Israeli soldiers that their guns will never stop us from protesting against injustice and violence against unarmed Palestinians.”
She can often be seen in the marches, full of life, like a butterfly flitting from one tent to the next, or one group to another, giving a helping hand to anyone who needs it, and rescuing the injured.
May 14 was a turning point, both in the Palestinian cause and in Asma’s life.
While watching where the Israeli tear gas and live ammunition was aimed, she saw a woman on the ground near the separation fence and ran to help her.
“I realized it was a woman. She was covered in blood,” recalls Asma.
Asma ran forward with her hands raised.
She shouted at the Israeli soldiers:
“Please let me rescue this woman! She’s bleeding! I’m unarmed!”
Asma recalled, sighing:
“An Israeli sniper gestured at me to approach and take the woman. I ran and picked her up, and came back. I heard screaming and yelling everywhere, people were shouting, ‘Look behind you, be careful!’. I turned around and saw an Israeli sniper pointing his gun directly at me. I told him not to shoot, but he did.”
The explosive bullet entered her leg and exited out the other side.
“I spent nearly a month in the hospital. My husband and little children spent the Holy Month (of Ramadan) without me. Sometimes they came to the hospital to have Iftar (dinner meal) together. The doctors said I would have to have my leg amputated so I felt lucky when one told me there was hope that I won’t need amputation.”
Like many of the injured in Gaza, Asma now needs to leave Gaza for treatment, due to the lack of medical equipment and supplies in the besieged enclave.
“My request to travel through the Erez crossing (into Israel) was refused,” she says, “and now I may have to wait for months to exit through the Rafah crossing. Every day waiting to cross the border is a new disaster for my leg.”
Even so, she counts herself lucky. Asma explains:
“Razan Al-Najjar, the medic who was killed by the Israeli Forces, was my best friend. When we were together in the Return Camp, she would sometimes hold my 4-month-old baby. When the journalists took pictures of them together, they thought it was her baby.”
When asked if she is going to keep going to the protests, Asma answers emphatically,
“Of course, without a doubt! When I recover, you’ll find me protesting at the separation fence again… We will keep protesting until we get our freedom.”
“It’s shameful that the Arab leaders watch us die slowly under the Israeli Siege, and do nothing. My message to the world is that we love life like everyone else, but we don’t have our basic rights as others do. We call upon all of you out there to take action, to end the Israeli Occupation.”
#OutstandingPromo #Gaza, beautiful and stubborn. By our amazing youth group 16th October Group from Gaza.Beautiful Gaza deserves freedomفيديو عن جمال وعزة غزة… من مجموعة 16 أكتوبر التابعة لوحدة الإعلام الأجنبي_ مؤسسة الثريا للاتصال والإعلام.Massive Thanks to the #16thOctoberGroup amazing and talented members.
Gepostet von Wafa Aludaini am Montag, 9. Juli 2018
– Wafa Aludaini is a Gaza-based journalist, head of the youth group 16th October. She contributed this article to the Palestine Chronicle.