Abu Waseem was a lovely man. He would always make jokes and laugh.
I met him one day before the escalation of the conflict, during Ramadan. He knew Rami and I loved to go out for barbeques.
He asked if we were going to have another barbeque and we told him: “No barbeque parties any time soon”. We reassured him that we would plan one after Ramadan. He laughed and that is the last I remember of him.
My friend’s mother-in-law was brought to the hospital and is thankfully safe and sound. She was admitted to ICU. Our hopes of the rest of the family being alive were however shattered.
Ambulances brought Reem’s brother Abdulhameed. Reem Identified him and doctors pronounced him dead.
Abood, how everyone knew him, had graduated from Media College and hoped to become a journalist. He was savvy; like all other Gazans. He and his brother Medo were a cheerful pair.
Abood had started a small shop in the garage of their home. He decorated the shop. He sold chocolates and candy for Eid. He’d been waiting for Eid to dress up and take photos. To go out with his friends. He had now passed on.
Mohammed, or Medo as he was often called, was brought to the hospital alive. We were saying “Allahu Akbar” (God is the Greatest) in relief.
It had been about ten hours and the chances of anyone being alive was fading.
It was a miracle: he’d survived.
Then came Reham. She graduated as a computer engineer. She was ambitious.
She worked for a telephone company. She was our “inside-man” when we needed to pay the bills, to fix our subscriptions and when our internet connection cut.
She’d always help us with a big smile. She was loved in the family. She was the only girl, the spoiled one.
And, then she too passed.
The last one who was brought to the hospital was Sameh. He was the closest to his sister Reem. She had high hopes he would survive.
Sameh was the funniest in the family. He graduated from university in computer maintenance. He was helpful and full of energy.
I remember when I came to his wedding and he was dancing everywhere. I asked Rami: “What’s he on?” and Rami told me: “He is just happy”.
He loved his wife Ayat. They’d just celebrated the birth of their first son Qusai.
He was only six months old. He died. Along with his parents Sameh and Ayat.
In Gaza, the destiny of a whole neighborhood can be decided by others. The future is full of uncertainty.
One minute you can be sitting in your bedroom just living life and at the next moment, you could be buried in the ground.
Gazans are sick and tired of being treated like collateral damage and treated like our lives matter less.
Gazans are sick and tired of seeing every other person in the world live free when they still live under blockade.
Gazans are full of energy, potential and hope. Gazans love life. They are kind people.
They are known for being generous, for making spicy food, for planting strawberries and flowers, for being well educated, for their resilience, and for their love of freedom.
May the ceasefire now bring a new period of peace, insha’Allah.
We will always remember you, the Al Koluk family. May you rest in peace eternally.
ʾInnā li-llāhi wa-ʾinna ʾilayhi rājiʿūn.
To God we belong and to God we return.
This blog is dedicated to the memory of Abu Waseem, Abdulhameed, Reham, Sameh, Ayat and Qusai.
May you all rest in peace.
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