His murder was just another passing name in the news. Fisherman killed in the north of Gaza by Israeli navy shelling. Decapitated by the blast.
Another gruesomely martyred Palestinian. The world somehow expects it over there.
But beyond being a statistic in the tally of Palestinians lost to Israeli targeting, Mohammed is the 4th close family member to be killed in three years, not including cousins or other relatives. Preceding him were one brother, and his mother and a nephew, the latter 2 killed together on their farmland. With them was another brother who survived the ground-to-ground missile. His legs didn’t, however.
Another brother was seriously injured by Israeli army shooting while he was fishing off the shore of northern Gaza.
*Nadi al Attar with his martyred son’s children Yasmiin (5) and Said (3).
An impoverished family, fishing is their only source of income. They fish from land, wading into the sea to cast nets which catch smaller fish, like sardines. Laborious work, with little fruit, but their only option. Now just one surviving son works, as does Mohammed’s 59 year old father Nadi, wading into the same waters Mohammed was just martyred in.
A taxi driver related how he had delivered Mohammed to the sea the morning of his killing, and later that afternoon delivered Mohammed’s body, in pieces, to the morgue.
On the return to Gaza City, I see more flocks of sheep grazing in garbage filled lots, for want of proper pastures. Those who herd in the fertile border areas known as the ‘buffer zone’ very seriously risk being shot and killed by Israeli soldiers.
Along the coastal road, nearing Beach Camp just outside Gaza city, some boys sit on a small patch of grass surrounded by the usual sand, rubble and garbage. One playfully jumps over the razor wire fringing this grass; razor wire is everywhere, part of the Gazan landscape, left from the days of Israeli settlers and soldiers in Gaza. Now that Israel has pulled its illegal settlers out of Gaza, the occupation continues via military control of borders, air, and sea. Mohammed al Attar’s murder is just the latest evidence of this military occupation.
Many times in this Ramadan month, you forget it is Ramadan, a time during which Muslims not only pray and honor Islam, but also delight with family in friends.
You forget because for so many there is so little to delight in.