Abdul Rahman Abu Oida, pastels, by Ahmad Barqawi
By Eva Bartlett, Nov 4, 2014, Crescent International
A teen who loved strawberries, adored children far more…A paraplegic young man with soulful eyes, deaf ears and unfulfilled dreams of being a father…A martyr.
This is the story of Broken Sparrow, one of tens of thousands of Palestinians killed by Zionist colonizers; one of 9,100 Palestinians killed since 2000; one of at least 2,053 Palestinian children killed since 2000 (including at least 527 Palestinian children killed in the July/August Zionist genocide of Gaza); one of many Palestinians I’ve known and mourned.
Broken Sparrow wasn’t always broken, wasn’t born that way. To the contrary, he was once a thriving teen who, like a great majority of his Palestinian brothers and sisters, played football, also lifted weights, and lived as normal a life as one could under the brutal, continually-expanding rule of foreign occupiers. His family were just slightly better off than the 80 percent of nearly 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza who depend on paltry food aid for their malnourished existence. They are not wealthy, but had a proper, rain-proof home and simple but nourishing meals.
Before he was broken, he was Abdul Rahman. Abed.
In the February/March 2008 Zionist massacre of Gaza, in which 16 year old Abed Abu Oida was targeted with a Zionist sniper’s bullet to the spine, at least 114 Palestinians were killed (including 27 children, among whom were 2 infants), and another 154 Palestinian civilians were injured (including 56 children). The majority of those injured, murdered, were in Abed’s northeastern Gaza region, eastern Jabaliya, in a 24 hour period.
Some of the murdered children included four boys (ages 9 to 12) playing football, killed instantly by a targeted Zionist missile strike. Six years later, another four boys (ages 9 to 11) from the Bakr family would be murdered in the exact same fashion, the missiles which hunted them down on Gaza City’s small beach fired by a Zionist gunboat.
In the February/March 2008 bombardment of Gaza, another youth was sniped—to death—while in her family home. PCHR reported:
“Twelve year old Safaa Ra’ed Ali Abu-Saif …bled to death after being hit by a single bullet on 1 March, 2008. ‘There was a hole in her chest’ said Ali Abu-Saif. ‘The bullet had entered her left side and exited through her back.’ Safaa had gone upstairs to ask her uncle and aunt to come downstairs with their children for their own safety. Ra’ed and Ali Abu-Saif carried Safaa downstairs, and their neighbours called an ambulance. The neighbours then rang the Abu-Saif family, and told them the ambulance could not come to their house because Palestinian ambulances were being attacked by Israeli tanks.”
Abed’s injury also occurred at his home, the day after Safaa was targeted and murdered.
On the family’s roof, checking the water tank to see why the family suddenly had no water, Abed was shot in the spine by a sniper in the “world’s most moral army” hiding on another rooftop. The bullet destroyed three vertebrae; the shot left Abed paralyzed in a puddle of his own blood until his 13 year old brother 15 minutes later found him and dragged him downstairs. As with Safaa’s case, as with most cases, ambulances were prevented from accessing the area. Abed lay untreated for three hours before he reached a hospital in Gaza City.
At first it seemed that Abed had been lucky: he survived the Zionist sniper’s bullet to his spine; he was sent for care in Egypt while the attacks continued on Gaza.
But when months later I met Abed in a Cairo hospital, he was near-deathly emaciated, with appallingly large bedsores on his backside and feet. These festering bedsores—a result of the poor care he was given in the various Cairo hospitals he was shifted to—would be the cause of other ailments which plagued him and eventually caused his death. Isolated from his family who could not get Egypt’s permission to exit Gaza to be with their paralyzed son, Abed began to succumb to his injury.