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Loving football to death
Hussein Muqanen, a father of two boys killed during the current Intifadah, was coming back from a visit from the local graveyard . His two boys Adel and Ibrahim both buried next to each other in the same gravesite in Khan younis town, Gaza strip. As he was parking his car across the dusty street of his house, he greeted us, ・Assalam Alikum.・He looked solemn and serious. His eyes seemed focusing on one direction. He did not say a word but pointed his hand leading us to the door.
It was supposed to be a story about his two sons. However, more agonizingly, realized that the death of his boys is really about the death of other youngsters in the neighborhood as well. They either died together or watch each other dropping dead while playing football. Their crime is playing soccer in the only space available around. Unfortunately, such space can only be found next to a Jewish settlement of Ghosh Qatif which surrounds the whole refugee camp of Khan younis. As one boy put it,・where can one go and play. You can not play in the narrow alleys here. No choice but to play next to the dangerous Israeli military bunker. We hope they do not shoot. I just want to play.・
The following is the most unbelievable account of a vicious cruelty against innocent and vulnerable young teenagers who have fallen victims to a crime committed in cold blood by fascists. The teenagers・guilt IS playing a game, which they love so much.
On June 18th. 2001, three friends Adel, Jaser and Ali were shot on the soccer field by M16 machine guns positioned on a military bunker from inside a Jewish settlement, Gosh Gatif west of Khan Younis town, Gaza Strip. Adel and Ali died on the same day. Jaser (16 years old) was seriously injured where a pullet penetrated 8 cm inside his liver.
・The three of us got hit within less than one minute・Jaser, painfully, describing what happened. ・I thought I died as well. I am still surprised to see my self here and alive. I had no doubt that I died.・Jaser , as he uncovered the bed sheet on his wound, coughing hard and feeling the pain in his liver, struggling to continue, ・Adel ( 17 yr. old) did not die right away. First, it was Ali (11 years old) who was shot and died on the spot. Then Adel rushed to carry Ali out of the field. As Adel bent down to lift Ali, a bullet struck him and he fell down.・
Pausing a little and looking at the other side, Jaser added,・Before I realized a disaster was happening in front of my eyes, soon I too felt something like a piece of fire burning my guts inside.・・It was so painful. I dropped down. I could not reach Adel as he was trying to hold Ali. I knew Ali was already dead. But Adel, he was down on his stomach, all of a sudden, not moving, and I could not see his face・wanted to pull him but my stomach was burning with unbearable pain. I got up and tried to pull Adel. It was impossible. With my blood like a fountain covering my hands, I ran as much as I could out of the field.・
Within minutes, an ambulance arrived to carry Jaser to Naser Hospital of Khan Younis. He was rushed together with Adel to the Intensive care unit. Their beds were next to each other. Doctors immediately operated on both of Jaser and Adel. Six blood units were given to Jaser. Surgeons made five stitches inside his liver and twenty stitches on the outside. The bullet made an eight-cm hole inside Jaser's liver. As for Adel, he died shortly as a result of the fatal wound. He could not be saved.
Adel's father, visibly and heavily grieved by the death of his son said,・they told me Adel was trying to save his friend Ali. He was shot in cold blood. Why? If someone approaches you threatening with a stick or a knife, you still have a chance to reason with him. He may drop the stick. But my boy was only playing football. He was not threatening anybody. The Jews killed him in the same way they killed Adel's younger brother Ibrahim (14 yr. old) back in November. I keep hearing from people that my boys are alive in heaven near God. Al hamdulillah. I just leave it to God.・The bearded father stopped talking trying to fight back tears.
Only two blocks away from Adel's home, Jasper was stretching on bed and surrounded by family members and well wishers. He said, ・Israeli soldiers always provoke us when we play football. They stop their military jeeps on top of the hill, behind the settlement fence, get a microphone and started shouting at us with dirty language. Like, ・you so of so and so・your
mothers and sisters are so and so. Arafat is a spy・you池e dead・et out of this field・etc・etc・.・ 鉄ome kids can not tolerate the soldier's words of abuse. Few of them might throw rocks but the shooting is indiscriminate.・
Mohammed, a close friend of Adel was there that day, June 18th., when his best friend Adel was killed. ・That day, I remember I warned Adel not to get too near them・ but Adel answered me; 壇o not interfere・ Minutes later, I hear other kids shouting and screaming. I was struck to find out that it was Adel this time. You know I was deeply saddened because few months back he lost a brother, Ibrahim. And now the elder brother is dead as well. Both of them were my friends. Feel deeply sorry. ・
Mohammad (17 yr old) described Ibrahim who is the younger brother of Adel,as a genuinely caring person. He remembered Ibrahim one time when both of them were sitting on the edge of the soccer field. Suddenly Ibrahim broke off,・let's get out of here. Probably, at this moment, two Israeli soldiers are betting between themselves whom they are going to hit one of us first.・Mohammad said,・I thought that was wise from a boy 3 years younger than I was. I listened to his advice and left the field.・
About 5 o'lock in the evening, the kids of the neighborhood, as normal, began increasing in number. They were laughing and giggling among each other, full of life and innocence not entirely recognizing that the moments ahead of them may alter their lives for ever or simply end it.
As for Jaser, he requested to tell a message, ・I want the world to know about us. I want the world to know that an Israeli soldier killed three
boys within one minute.・
July 2nd., 2001
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