By now, the boy’s title has lengthy been buried alongside together with his physique.
Simply one other forgotten Palestinian lowered to an nameless quantity who joins the 199 different Palestinians, together with 47 youngsters, who’ve been killed by an Apartheid regime this 12 months alone. Israel is decided not solely to drive Palestinians from their ancestral homelands utilizing unlawful edicts and brute power however to obliterate them in invasion after invasion and by attrition.
His title was Mahmoud al-Saadi. He was 18. His house was a refugee camp within the occupied West Financial institution metropolis of Jenin.
A image of Mahmoud reveals a young person with a thick mat of short-cropped, black hair, sporting a cheerful, if barely wry, smile. A faint, skinny black moustache was the unmistakable signal that this effervescent boy was on the cusp of turning into a person.
This previous Monday morning, Mahmoud was heading to highschool together with a gaggle of pals. His father, a relative mentioned, had labored arduous to guarantee that his son and three daughters obtained an schooling as a manner out of the grinding despair and in the direction of, if potential, a “dignified future.”
“The occupation killed this pleasure,” the relative mentioned.
Certainly, it did.
On the best way to his highschool, Mahmoud – who was on the prime of his class – encountered Israeli troopers who, within the pay and on the path of an Apartheid state, had been raiding Jenin in a convoy of armoured jeeps but once more.
Mahmoud determined to show round and return house moderately than danger, I suppose, the identical destiny as Shireen Abu Akleh, the famend Palestinian-American journalist who was shot within the head whereas sporting a blue vest with “PRESS” written on it by an Israeli murderer on Might 11 in Jenin.
Mahmoud didn’t make it house. (Nor, sadly, did a Canadian teen, Aryeh Shechopek, aged 16, who was murdered on Wednesday whereas ready for a bus on Jerusalem’s outskirts to take him to a Jewish seminary.)
As a substitute, Mahmoud was shot within the abdomen by an Israeli soldier as a result of he was a Palestinian and close by. A simple, handy killing of a kid whose capital offence was, apparently, strolling to highschool.
A wounded Mahmoud referred to as out to his mates for assist, telling them that he had been shot. They thought he was kidding. He stumbled ahead for about 5 metres earlier than resting on the bottom. Frantic, his pals ferried his bloodied physique by automotive to a close-by hospital. He couldn’t be saved. He was pronounced lifeless at 9am.
“A civilian succumbed to important wounds after he was hit by dwell [Israeli] occupation bullets within the stomach, in Jenin,” the Palestinian Well being Ministry confirmed.
The Palestinian international affairs ministry described the killing as a “area execution” and a “heinous crime,” accredited by highly effective Israeli politicians.
A video taken on the hospital reveals Mahmoud mendacity lifeless on a gurney. Family and friends hover over his pale physique, weeping. One man leans in to kiss Mahmoud, now wrapped in a shroud, on his forehead.
For Palestinians, it was a well-known scene of demise, grief and mourning. However the homicide of kids little question makes that grief and mourning extra acute and deeply felt.
It has occurred so many occasions earlier than. A seven-year-old youngster dying of concern after being chased by Israeli troopers. Youngsters flying kites have been shot and killed by Israeli troopers perched on hills. Youngsters taking part in soccer on the seaside have been dismembered by rockets fired by Israeli pilots from excessive above.
Not one of the killers has been held to account. And so they by no means will. Slightly, they’ve been shielded and saluted as “heroes” for having protected Israel by killing Palestinian youngsters and journalists.
The predictable excuses will probably be trotted out once more to defend the inexcusable. Israel is to not blame for Mahmoud’s demise; Palestinians are, for resisting the occupation. Mahmoud was within the incorrect place on the incorrect time – as if he had one other place to dwell and examine. Given the complicated cacophony of struggle, the Israeli soldier made a regrettable, however comprehensible, “mistake.”
A lot of the worldwide press handled Mahmoud and the violent, state-sanctioned method of his demise as unworthy of their discover or consideration.
Simply one other lifeless Palestinian.
Western governments and their preening leaders who’re all the time fast to denounce the killing of innocents by the same old gallery of “rogue” states have gone mute too for concern of offending a nation they consider enjoys carte blanche to shoot Palestinian girls and boys.
It was, after all, left to Palestinians to rejoice Mahmoud’s full life and to sentence his sudden demise.
Mahmoud was remembered as a beneficiant soul with a “golden coronary heart” who confirmed promise and goal as a member of the Jenin Freedom Theatre, the place he was a mentor to youthful college students and a champion of “hope” over distress.
“Your coronary heart was sufficiently big to embrace the entire camp, its streets and its properties,” a pal wrote. “I consider you coming to the stage, and becoming a member of the workshops to have enjoyable and play. That is what hurts me probably the most, that the boy with a golden coronary heart is gone.”
Mahmoud’s physique – wrapped in a Palestinian flag – was carried aloft on an orange stretcher by the streets of Jenin, adopted by a throng of chanting mourners.
A gray backpack lay at his ft. A poignant reminder of Mahmoud’s youth and his intent to fulfil his father’s dream to get pleasure from a “dignified future” by going to highschool.
Mahmoud should not be forgotten. To overlook what occurred to Mahmoud would imply to just accept what occurred to him and the place and why he was killed. To simply accept what occurred to Mahmoud would imply accepting what occurs daily to each imprisoned Palestinian – younger or outdated. To simply accept what occurred to Mahmoud would imply exonerating the perpetrators answerable for his demise.
Whereas others could also be desirous to overlook and settle for what occurred to Mahmoud, we must always not. Decency and historical past demand that we not overlook.
Je me souviens.
The views expressed on this article are the writer’s personal and don’t essentially replicate Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.