Thursday, December 26, 2013

Wajeeh: Forget and Forgive.


I’ve been to refugees’ houses before, never once did they feel empty or lacking as the house of Wajeeh Ramahi.
As I was going to Jalazon Refugee Camp, I don’t know why for some reason the words of an Israeli Zionist I’ve met in New York kept replaying over and over in my head.
“Why don’t you want peace? Can’t you just forget and forgive? Life is just too short to waist on such useless matters.”

On December 24th, I joined two human rights advocates in a visit to the martyr’s house; Wajeeh Ramahi. The two human rights advocates had to gather information about the “incident” for the sake of their protocol procedures. The extent to how they weren’t moved by this astonished me. It wasn’t as if they were talking to a mother that has lost her child, they were talking to a case, another case among thousands of others. I couldn’t blame them; of course they had to distance themselves. This is their daily job; they have to do this on daily basis; since the Israeli Occupation never gives them a break.

When we first arrived to the refugee camp, we couldn’t locate where the house was exactly, but it didn’t take us long to find it. We just had to ask people there, “Where is the latest Martyr’s house?” You can’t say, “Where is the martyr’s house”; because if you do they’ll immediately ask for clarification, “Which one?”

So this old man took us to Wajeeh’s house. We knocked and knocked and nobody replied, then the he took us to Wajeeh’s uncle house and the uncle took us to the mother. The father wasn’t at home, he had to go to Bi’r al-Sabe’ “Beersheba” prison; it was his oldest son’s trial that day. His name is Ameer, he’s 19 years old and has been accused of the horrendous crime of throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers.

We entered the house, and waited till the mother got ready to greet us. While we waited, two of Wajeeh’s younger siblings joined us; a beautiful little girl and the most adorable little kid. After sitting for a while, the mother joined us and the questions from the two people I tagged along with started pouring down on the mother and uncle.

They asked some basic information questions, his full name, what grade he was, his ID number; which he didn’t have because he wasn’t 15 yet, and so on.
From these questions, we learned that he was 14 years old. He was born on the 26th. Jan.1998 ( only 3 days younger than my youngest brother). He dropped out of school, and was into the painting business. He was never wanted for the Israeli authorities, not for throwing rocks, or raising the Palestinian flag or participating in a demonstration or anything.

Then the mother was asked when he was murdered. While she drifted away in her mind in order to remember, his younger sister said calmly, “On the the 7th of December.” I chocked.
The mother continued, “Yes on the 7th, and I’ve only seen the body the next day, and he died almost at 5 pm.” Then we learned from them, that he was in the refugee’s school playground when he was shot. The bullet that killed him; went through his back, right into his spine and exited from the other side, killing him instantly. It wasn’t a rubber bullet, it was a live metal one, you know; the kind that kills.

Then the uncle and mother were asked if they did an autopsy to the body, they said yes. At first the hospital (Israeli hospital, they took him first to a hospital in Ramallah, then to Haddasah in Jerusalem) refused to do so, because the IOF (Israeli Occupation Forces) denied that they did anything and claimed that the shot was from the refugee camp itself. Then when the media exposed them and said according to eyewitnesses that the shooting was from the soldiers’ part, they changed their story and said that Wajeeh was throwing rocks at them and by doing so he became a threat to their lives and they had to shoot at him in order protect themselves. 

So the hospital did the autopsy, and found out (as we said before) that he was killed with a live bullet that went through his spine from the back, and they estimated the distance of the shooting to be 200 meters. After the autopsy the family filed a lawsuit against the IOF; which is going to take months and months for the soldier to be only detained for a day and get a lower rank like many other cases of the sort.

Then after we were done, we thanked them for their time, and apologized for the disturbance and his death (as if they were on parallel levels) and went on our way.

 As we were waiting for a car to pick us up, I asked one of the humans rights advocates what’s going to happen next. He told me that it’s going to go to court, where the judge is an Israeli, and it’s going to take months and months and months and at the end the soldier might be detained for a short period of time, and that’s about it.

He also said that the fact that there are two stories might cause a problem. One story says he was playing, and other says he was throwing rocks. The problem lays only in the fact that, and this is completely absurd to me, the IOF might have a reason for shooting him. I dropped my jaw in awe, how can that be?
Then he said , “well of course they didn’t have to shoot him with a live bullet. They could’ve just shot him with a rubber bullet that doesn’t kill, or threw a tear gas canister at him, or simply arrest him. No need for a sniper to shoot him from 200 meters away.”

How ridiculous the stage we’ve reached, to a point where it is better to be shot at with a tear gas canister or arrested or being shot at with a rubber bullet for throwing rocks. How we measure things is beyond comprehension.

But I found myself wishing the same thing.
 I really wish if the soldier shot him with a rubber bullet that caused him to stay in bed for months, or to be hit with a gas canister and only get suffocated and then be okay, or even if he got arrested and spent 8 months in Israeli prisons. Any of the above would be better than him being a martyr.

But still, even if he did throw rocks and he hit a soldier; who’s covered and protected from head to toe from injuries caused by materials such as rocks. And even if the soldier got scratched a little and maybe bled; Wajeeh did not deserve to be shot dead.

And the soldier who did this, I mean the monster that did this, has to pay. He\she has to face the consequence of killing a little child. So as people and human beings it’s our duty to NOT let this go, and to fight in order to get this soldier punished, and let the entire world know who this monster is.

So no,  it’s just not fair to forget and forgive. It’s even unfair to ask, it’s disgusting when murderers ask the victim to forget and forgive, because life is too short.
Well of course it’s too short; you’ve ended it in a second with a bullet from 200 meters away.
 You want us to forget and forgive, face the consequences and get the punishment you deserve then come and talk peace to us.

But I'm guessing, neither Wajeeh or his family are willing to forget and forgive until justice prevails.



                                            "This is Wajeeh's poster on his house's front door"