Kamal & Wafaa: Victims of the Siege

Kamal and Wafaa, a family in Gaza known as Awajahs consisting of 6 children and themselves, have gone through such a traumatic experience which cannot be expressed in few mere words. In the siege from 2008 and 2014, they have lost more than a home, they have lost a part of their lives which cannot be forgotten. Since 2008, the Awajah family has been facing a repetition of destruction and reconstruction of their home, more like they are trapped in this cycle. Their lives started to change from 2008 when their house was destroyed in the middle of the night.

Wafaa upon interviewing informed that her 12-year-old daughter Osmiyat, came to her in the middle of the night and informed that there were Israeli soldiers standing outside the house. Before they could comprehend what was happening, the ceiling started to crumble and the family had to flee outside the house, then the roof collapsed and their house was turned into a pile of rubble. As they were looking through their damaged house and as if this event was very little to take in, Wafaa said she heard the cry of her 9-year-old son, Ibrahim.

Destroyed Family Home

Upon finding him they learned that Ibrahim was shot in the side as the soldiers had started to gunfire. Then Kamal, the husband, scooped in to save Ibrahim and ran with the rest of the family to find a shelter but took a hit as well and was lying on the road. While Wafaa, even though she was shot in both the hips, she was able to find a shelter and hid there with her 5 children. Kamal and Ibrahim were on the road, and what happened next changed their lives forever. A soldier approached Ibrahim and shot him. Wafaa could not do anything but watch. In just a few seconds, her son’s life was taken right before her eyes. Can you feel the pain Wafaa went through in that moment? Her son who she has been feeding and taking care of and whom she gave birth to was shot, right in front of her? Can you imagine her pain? Her world crashed in just a few seconds. And if you noticed, Kamal was more near to Ibrahim. Can you imagine the pain of a father? Can you imagine what it feels like to see your own son or a young family member shot right in front of you? When you were hands length close to that person? When you couldn’t do anything even when you were so close? It is hard to fathom the pain of Kamal and Wafaa. They were left with a corpse of their son and psychological wounds that will never heal, but life goes on.

 

After the incident, they strived towards rebuilding their lives. Kamal commented that “What’s hardest

2014 war in Gaza, their Home is destroyed.

is how to offer safety and security for my children. Their behaviors are not the same as before.” Now all Kamal wants is proper education and future for his children. For that purpose, he started building a new house which was completed and standing by 2013. But, during 2014 aggression, the newly built house was demolished to the ground and they were homeless once again. Isn’t it just miserable? They put all their strength and sweat into making a house for their children and it’s destroyed due to war.

 

This is just horrifying. It’s hard to even decide what to feel anymore. Even after this incident, Kamal and Wafaa moved on and all they are worried about is their children. Kamal and Wafaa are holding on tight finding different ways to bring back the lives lost in them. They have named their new baby son Ibrahim, in honor of their 9-year-old son Ibrahim who died. Kamal says “We won’t ever forget him but the baby Ibrahim has brought with him hope”. What they have gone through no family deserves it. This is just the story of one family, many have gone through it. This is the typical situation of the people of Gaza. They need all the support available, now more than ever.

For more detailed info on the story, please refer to donkey’s saddle website. This story was filmed by Jen Marlowe who was in close contact with this family and definitely can give more insight on the story.

Edited by Hisham and Mohamud