Sunday, January 18, 2009

Ma'an journalist finds young girl near death hiding from gunfire in his home

mira: Ma'an journalist finds young girl near death hiding from gunfire in his home
Date: 18 / 01 / 2009 Time: 14:52

Gaza - Ma’an - For two days 15-year-old Amira’s wound bled without medical treatment. She fled her home, and the dead bodies of her father and two brothers, to an abandoned apartment. She only had a bucket of water, no blankets or first aid equipment for two days as she hid in the building.

It was the home of Ma’an journalist Emad Eid that she found. Emad had moved his family to a different, safer area of Gaza City. He returned to his home when Israeli tanks retreated from Tel Al-Hawa, to see what damage was done.

He found Amira bleeding in his empty home where he had left no food, water of bedding.

Below is a translation of Emad’s record of Amira’s ordeal.

Excuse me; I have no clue from where to start this story, so I will ask Amira: How did you protect yourself from the bombs? How did you handle the sounds of the tanks when you were by yourself, bleeding, hiding alone for two days?

I am afraid she will not be able to answer me though. I am afraid she has neither the strength nor the courage, though she had the courage to stay alive.

Maybe I can ask her if she remembers what happened to kill her family, or if she was too shocked or unconscious. She did, after all, only have five units of blood left when medics saw her.

No, I cannot ask her if she remembers how her father and two brothers died in front of her eyes; there is too much joy as she is held by her mother who did not expect to find even one of her family members living. I cannot ask of the dead while the living are celebrated.

The medics told me what it means for a small girl to have only five units of blood left. They told me that she was between living and dead. I want to ask Amira where she got her strength to live.

Amira, your 15 years are not enough for this courage; to face death, bombs and the rumble of tanks.

“Forgive me, I entered your house without your permission,” she said to me when I found her in on my mother's bed.

She was covered in blood and there were tear-stains on her cheeks. I didn’t know how Amira could find the words for an apology.

I left the area with my family. I did not want them to see the tanks drive past our house, or fear the barrels of their guns trained on the windows. But Amira saw.

Though when I found her she was sleeping, or rather hovering between life and death, as the medics said. She must have heard the clashes between the resistance fighters and the Israeli army troops.

“I don’t know how I entered to your house Uncle,” she said to me, a stranger, when I woke her. “They killed my father and brothers in front of my eyes, they shot a bomb at me and my leg was injured. I ran away from that place, but they shot another bomb that missed me, I found the door of your house open so I came in and stayed on the bed alone, listening to what was going on. I couldn’t scream or cry from my bleeding wounds because they would have heard me.”

She ran from her demolished home, she ran away seeking for the life that god gave her.

Her family thought she was killed with her father, Fathi Dawoud Alkaram, 42, and brothers Esmat, 12, and Ala, 11, who died when a bomb hit their home. They buried pieces of what they thought was Amira.

The day before we rushed Amira to Ash-Shifa Hospital, her mother buried Fathi, Esmat and Ala. She thought Amira was still beneath the rubble.

When she got word, Amira’s mother rushed to the hospital. She cried a great deal. Amira’s uncles praised god and thanked him for the miracle of her life.

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