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This story began when I was looking for a child who has lived through the First Palestinian Intifada (uprising) or been active participant. The project was part of Palestinian bloggers’ campaign to mark the twenty-fourth anniversary of “the First Intifada”. We had agreed, each of us, will publish a text or story commemorating this important era in our history which we have nostalgia to.
Due to Mustafa Tamimi’s murder by the Israeli army in Nabi Saleh village, I had lost my desire to write for some time. So the story came late.
Two days before the anniversary of the Intifada, I came a cross a tweet by Mahmoud Omar, a young Palestinian living in Egypt, saying “After watching it perhaps hundred times, after I was able to escape few inches away of her eyes, I saw she was still making the victory sign”. And he shared this video:
Few minutes later, he added another tweet “The Palestinian cause, the whole Palestinian cause, is in the eyes of this young girl”.
This drew me to watch the video, I watched it several times, and I understood what Mahmoud meant. At that moment, I decided to reach that child, who is now an adult woman.
I examined the picture she was holding of her father, the martyr of the first Intifada. His name was clear: The martyr Ibrahim Ahmed Hussein Odeh. After few taps on the web, I found out that he was martyred in 1988 in Dheisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem.
I called and emailed some friends, asking if anyone has good connections with people from Dheisheh and if they could help me reach the family of martyr Ibrahim Ahmed Hussein Odeh. My friend Najla was quick to reply and promised to help. Later on, Najla reached a friend of her who knows the son of the martyr, the brother of the little child.
I called him, and explained the long story, who am I and why am I contacting him, the video, the picture, the child, her eyes, the Internet everything. He was very kind and gave me the phone number of his sister, Nour. Now I know her name, Nour.
I called Nour, and again told her the long story.
Then I was silent and she spoke.
She told me how her father was killed, she still remembers.
At the time, she was three years old, she was at home with her family, mother, father, and her seven siblings. She is the one before the last. Her younger sister was still in her mother’s womb when the father was killed. Her father was standing in the kitchen with her mother, when a bullet called “dumdum” hit his head. It was a shot by Israeli soldiers from outside the house. His head exploded in front of them.
What she remembers from the funeral is the image of his body wrapped with Palestinian flag. From now on, she has become the daughter of a martyr.
Today, Nour, 26 years old, remember how she met a week later Israeli soldiers who were passing in front of their home, she screamed at them: “Damn your fathers, you shot baba”. They responded by throwing at her a thick ax-like stick, it did not hit her, but made her fall down the stairs, the horror stayed inside her body for long time.
Nour remembers that after the murder of her father she found a small piece of his head skin with some hair. She kept it for six years, until her mother convinced her to bury it, because this will help her release her grief and trauma. Nour used to hold her father’s picture and talk to it for long.
She also remembers how her father’s martyrdom became a charge against her family. The Israeli army used to raid the house every couple of days, take her brothers, and sometimes force them to remove the political graffiti on the camp’s walls.
Nour told me a lot, many things she asked not to publish, so upon her request I stop here. All that’s left for me is to quote what she said at the end of our conversation, when I asked her what she thinks about the First Intifada, she answered with honesty and simplicity, “I do not like it because I lost my father. I am angry at our grandparents, if they were like our generation, we wouldn’t have lost Palestine.”
When we talk about the First Intifada, with great romance, we must remember that there are thousands of children who have lived orphans against their will, so we can be free. The least we can do to reward them, is to liberate ourselves and them.