Monday, August 31, 2009

I Was Just 16

"I've had more operations than I can remember. The most recent ones were on the bedsores on my backside: doctors have given up all hope that I'll ever walk again. Three years ago, I was visiting an aunt in Bureij, in central Gaza. She lives in the east, about 500m from the border fence. A cousin and I were outside, on the land next to her home. We often sat out there. Israeli soldiers started shooting at us from the other side of the border fence. I was hit twice, and my cousin was hit a number of times in the leg, and in the abdomen. The soldiers ordered us to come to the fence, and we did because we were afraid they might shoot us again. When we got to the fence, they ordered us to undress. Then they ordered us to climb the fence and jump down on the other side. Because I'd been bleeding and felt weak, I fell to the ground. One of the soldiers asked if I could stand. I raised my arm, saying no, and another soldier shot me a third time, just under the armpit. By this time a second cousin had heard the shooting and run to us. One of the soldiers ordered my cousins to climb the fence and they were taken away. I just lay there on the ground, bleeding. It was 4 hours before Palestinian medics could co-ordinate my rescue. The cousin who'd been wounded didn't receive any treatment. The Israelis merely bandaged his wounds and gave him painkillers. They kept both cousins for many days. By the time they released them, my wounded cousin's leg had become infected and had to be amputated below the knee. Doctors were afraid to remove the bullet in his abdomen in case of internal bleeding. Recently, a doctor from outside Gaza came and was able to remove the bullet. I should have bled to death: somehow, though, I survived. I lost a kidney, 2 vertebrae were shattered, and I'm paralyzed from the waist down. I'll never walk again. My name is Sari. I was just 16 when the Israeli soldiers shot me." (, 28/8/09)

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