Sunday, December 11, 2011

No miracle yesterday in Nabi Saleh: Mustafa Tamimi murdered

As published by Electronic Intifada

“Ambulance! Ambulance!”

Mustafa Tamimi

So far, there were three people who had suffocated from the tear gas, and three people injured by rubber bullets. I saw gas, and so assumed that it was another case of suffocation. But the cries got louder, urgent, desperate — quite unlike the previous calls. Along with those around me, we began running to where the injured person lay, 50 meters away.

Screams. “Mustafa! Mustafa!

I ran faster. I stopped. The youth I was so used to, the same ones who were always teasing and joking and smoking, were crying. One turned to me and groaned, “His head. His head is split into two!”

My stomach plummeted and I forgot to breathe. Exaggeration, I thought. Impossible. Not here. More screams of “Mustafa!”

I saw the man lying on the ground. I saw the medic with one knee on the ground, his face a mask of shock. I saw his bloodied gloved hands.

Mustafa’s sister was screaming his name. I saw Mustafa. I saw the blood, the big pool of dark red blood. I saw the blood dripping from his head to the ground as they carried him and put him in a taxi, since the ambulance was nowhere to be found. I saw other the tear-streaked faces of other activists, and all I felt was numbness.

Mustafa’s sister Ola was still screaming, so I put my arms around her as she buried her head in my chest. I was babbling, “It’s ok, he’s gonna be fine, it’s ok” but she kept on screaming. Her screams and the disturbing reactions of those around me made my legs numb. Ola then left to go to the watchtower where the taxi with her brother was, and my state of shock crumbled as I gasped out my tears in the arms of my friend.

The first protester death in Nabi Saleh

Friday, 9 December marked the second year since the tiny village began its weekly demonstrations protesting the expropriation of their land for the neighboring illegal settlement of Halamish, and the confiscation of the village’s main water supply, the Kaws Spring. It also marked the 24th anniversary of the first intifada. Fittingly, it seemed only natural the Israeli army would react with more violence than usual. But never did we expect someone to be killed. It’s too awful to think about. Nabi Saleh has a population of around 500 people. Everyone knows everyone in this tight-knit community, so when one gets killed, a big part of us dies also.

Mustafa, 28 years old, was critically injured after Israeli soldiers fired a tear gas canister at his face, and died at a hospital after his treatment was delayed by the occupation forces who had invaded the village to repress the weekly demonstration.

One difference that distinguishes Nabi Saleh from other villages with popular resistance committees, like Nilin, Bilin, Biddu and Budrus is that no one has been killed, or martyred in the protests. Beaten up, yes. Arrested, ditto. But never a death. Until yesterday.

My humanity is only human

Just before Mustafa went into the operating room, some good news came through. He had not suffered any cognitive damages to his brain, although he suffered a brain hemorrhage. There was a chance his eye might be saved. Relief washed over us. We tweeted, “please #Pray4Mustafa.”

I had pictured myself going to Nabi Saleh the next day, not the following Friday. I had imagined sitting in a room with weeping women, after passing by the somber men sitting outside. I had envisioned a funeral and an inconsolable Ola with her mother. Thank God there was a reassuring chance he would be ok. We’d make fun of his bandaged face, just like we did to Abu Hussam when a rubber bullet hit him under the eye a few weeks ago.

Then I got the call that Mustafa had succumbed to his wounds.

My humanity is only human. I hate my enemy. A deep vigorous hatred that courses through my veins whenever I come into contact with them or any form of their system. My humanity is limited. I cannot write a book titled I Shall Not Hate especially if my three daughters and one niece were murdered by my enemy. My humanity is faulty. I dream of my enemy choking on tear gas fired through the windows of their houses, of having their fathers arrested on trumped-up charges, of them wounded by rubber-coated steel bullets, of them being woken up in the middle of the night and dragged away for interrogations that are spliced with bouts of torture.

The soldiers laughed. They smiled. They took pictures of us, zooming in on each of our faces, and they smirked. I screamed at them: “Nazis, terrorists, vermin, programmed killing machines.”

They laughed at us as we screamed at them to let us through to where he was, unconscious in a taxi near the watchtower. They threatened us if we didn’t go back. We waved the flag with his blood on it in front of them. One of them had the audacity to bat it away. We shouted, “His blood is on your hands!” They replied, “So?”

I thought of Mustafa’s younger brother, imprisoned all these eight months. I thought of that brother’s broken jaw and his subsequent stay in the prison hospital. I thought of Juju (Jihad Tamimi), he of the elfin face who arrested a few days ago with no rights to see a lawyer after being wanted by the army for more than a year. I shuddered to think of the reactions of these imprisoned men from the village — Uday, Bassem, Naji, Jihad, Saeed – once they received the news.

I got the call just after 11pm Friday night. I was sworn to secrecy, since his family didn’t want to make it public yet. Anger, bitterness and sorrow overwhelmed me. I cried at my kitchen table.

I hate my enemy. I can’t go to sleep. The images are tattooed forever inside my eyelids. They yells, the wailing, the groans, the sobbing all fill my ears like water gushing inside a submarine, dragging me further into a cold dark abyss.

I sought out religion as a source of comfort, yet it didn’t alleviate the anguish. His life was written in al-Lawh al-Mahfooz (The Preserved Tablet) since before he was born. His destiny was to become a martyr. How sweet that will be in the afterlife! But here on this earth, his sister is beside herself. His mother is hurting enormously. Her firstborn gone, no longer to drink the tea she makes or to make her laugh with his jokes.

The images are tattooed forever inside my eyelids. A bloody pulp on one side of his face. The pool of blood rapidly increasing. (Mama, there was so much blood.) His mouth slightly open, lying supine on the cold road. His sister screaming, her face twisted in grief. The young men weeping, looking like little boys again.

I hate them for making us suffer

I loathe my enemy. I will never forgive, I will never forget. People who say such hatred transforms a person into a bitter cruel shell know nothing of the Israeli army. This hatred will not cripple me. What does that mean anyway? Do I not continue to write? Do I not continue to protest? Do I not continue to resist? Hating them sustains me, as opposed to normalizing with them. Their hatred of me makes reinforces the truth of their being murderous machines. My hatred of them makes me human.

I can’t sleep. The shock flows in and then dissipates, before flooding back in again. I see no justification is implementing such violence on a civilian population, no sense in the point-blank murder of a man whose rights are compromised, and whose land is colonized and occupied.

Sure as hell, you will not be forgotten. You will become an icon, a symbol, and the added impetus for persisting and continuing your village’s struggle which reflects the plight of the average Palestinian for its basic rights, equality, and justice.

I hate them for making us suffer. Hating them will give me more strength to shatter their barbaric supremacist ideology, and to bring them under the heavy heel of justice. We’ve suffered so much. I hate them for not giving credit to our sumoud (steadfastness), and so continue to kill and dispossess and imprison and humiliate us.

They killed you, Mustafa. My insides crumple. You, in front of me. My tears are drawn from the depth of my wounded soul. You were engaged to be married. You were wanted by the army because of who you are: a Palestinian who resists the occupation he directly suffers from. I think of your father being denied a permit to be with you, of your mother who had to be granted permission by them to see you in the hospital. I think of your quiet, sardonic expression.

Your screaming sister. Your blood. Your murderers’ smiles.


  1. Thanks for these great pictures. May the Ummah of Amjad and Hakim Awad eternally suffer for the crimes of Jihad.

    You don't have it here, but there's a heartwarming pic online of the Muslonazi with his face blown in. As you see in that picture, he wasn't wearing a uniform, a big no-no under international law! Warriors who engage in battle out of uniform are not protected by international human rights law.

    And FWIW, for such a religious fanatic, your shirk confuses me? Mohammed promises that those who worship him - and those who die while trying to genocide Jews to glorify Mohammed's empire - will have 71 virgins in heaven. Don't cry, sister! Up in Junnah, Mustafa is having all the sex you can imagine. Buck up! Mohammed is true and his promises are True!

    May the Ummah of Haj Amin al-Husseiny gets what it deserves. I say to the Mohammedans in "Palestine" who refuse to change their Shari'ah-compliant policies:

  2. Why any Arab wants to make peace with this barbaric Zionist entity that is full of cowards that hide behind machines to bully, kill and steal from civilians is unbelievable. The children they beat and kill is so shocking and their war crimes are never to be forgiven.

    I wanted to ask you to remove the offensive statement from the Zionist terrorist supporter, but then it is a good advert for how evil they think & behave.

  3. Killing Jewish children in their beds while chanting about Mohammed's glory? That's Mohammedan bravery?

    Blowing yourself up on a schoolbus because Mohammed's promised you sex if you did it? That's Mohammedan courage?

    Spending the second world war in Berlin designing Shari'ah-compliant death camps? That's Mohammedan samoud?

    You Mohammedans are sick. Even as we speak, in Mohammed's name and for his glory, your co-religionists are carrying out war crime rocket attacks against Jewish children in Sderot. How DARE YOU whine about Mohammedan warriors getting their just deserts!

    Stop the suicide bombs; Stop the attacks; Stop the Jihad.

  4. Linah

    We will never forgive them for their war crimes. We will never forgive them for murdering Mustafa Tamimi & the pain they have inflicted on his family. Never.


  5. Dear Linah,

    What an eloquent & moving elogy! It brought tears to my eyes. Anyone with a remaining shred of humanity, regardless of the labels applied to them, will also weep for humanity's collective loss. All the suffering will be vindicated when Palestine is again free.

    With deepest sympathy,


  6. The Zionist terrorist supporter continues to rant. Here's a big clue why you are a terrorist created group. You are colonizers. You are land grabbing thieves, that slaughtered innocent Palestinian civilians. You are ethnic cleansers and you have been slaughtering, stealing and bullying for decades. You have slaughtered tens of thousands of Palestinian & Lebanese civilians . The reason why you rant about Islam is because it is a smoke screen to avoid the facts of how your entity was created and maintained through theft, slaughter and oppression.
    Nothing to do with Islam but straightforward colonization by ethnic cleansing.

  7. Is this really happening?

    Is a Mohammedan - a MOHAMMEDAN!??!!!! - actually whining about colonization? And a Mohammed-worshipper who occupies Israel is doing this whining?

    You are f@cking kidding me? Are you serious?

    HOW DARE SOMEONE WHO WORSHIPS MOHAMMED COMPLAIN ABOUT COLONIZATION? How dare does someone who worships Mohammed whine about civilian casualties?!

    The Mohammedan colonists in Israel - who arrived with Muhammad Ali on a jihad of Shari'ah-compliant genocide in the late 19th Century - have no Allah-damned standing to whine about any of this stuff. After you "Palestinians" allied with Hitler and then with the Soviets and then with Saddam Hussein and then with Usama bin Laden, etc . . . . , you not only forfeited your humanity, but you also forfeited your right to whine about how to treat the Other.


    (is this actually happening? The Ummah that flew planes into buildings on 9/11 and celebrated in the streets of "East" Yerushalayim, are going to whine about casualties during a failed Jihad in Western Syria? )

  8. Your writing is beautiful and passionate, and your friend Mustafa will surely live on through your words and heart, though I am sure it is too soon to think about it now. My heart broke as I read this.

    It is a black time when a soldier can commit such an act with impunity. Murder is murder, and Mustafa's was an especially egregious death. The solider should have been arrested, expelled from the army, put on trial and given life in prison or the death sentence. The fact that Israel retains soldiers like this just proves that they are on a killing mission and want an army full of murderers without conscience.

    Your and our resistance is critical and necessary. As a Christian American I hate the Zionist lobby in this country, as they steal our money to kill innocent men, women and children. It is not "defense" to kill a thousand Palestinians for one Zionist, this is genocide. Approved, sanctioned, fully-funded genocide.

    @anonymous - A great example of the weak-minded people who are brainwashed by Zionist propaganda and clog up comment threads with disinformation and hatred.

    Palestinians are actively resisting severe political, social and economic oppression. Don't try to de-rail the conversation with allusions to religious fervor. The Prophet (PBUH) encouraged and lived peace and friendship between Abrahamic religions, and Muslims know this. Palestinians are fighting for their basic human right to live, for clean water, for a future for their children, and the right to live in peace. They don't want to convert you, you idiot. Plus, I find your mutilation of Islamic text to be horrifying.

  9. Mohammedean? The Other? What are you... reading an 18th century guide on "How to be an Orientalist"?


  10. Typical Zionist terrorist supporter thinks anyone that dislikes that terrorist state is a Muslim. Maybe Zionist PR doesn't work on everyone. Maybe some of us read the facts and look at the ugly behaviour of the Zionist state and it's crimes against civilians. No amount of PR can hide the atrocities of that state and not everyone with the exception of politicians can be bought or bullied by your Zionist lobbies.

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  13. I found your post incredibly moving. You are indeed a touching and eloquent writer.

    I am so sorry that some people view this terribly personal account of yours as a stage for spewing more hatred and venom.

    I don't blame you for hating us. I can't imagine that it would be otherwise. The crimes that Israel is perpetuating against the Palestinians are truly unforgivable.

    It is one of my deepest hopes that your hatred and anger are toward the entity (the state, the government, the army, the settlers, the organizations that support them), and not against the people. For the simple reasons that not all of the people support this, and many of us actively protest and resist it (you probably know friends of mine who participate in your protests in Nabi Saleh and Bil'in and Sheikh Jarah and other places).

    But more generally and more importantly -- to maintain hope for the future. Because hatred fosters hatred, and that is a terrible place to live. I dream of a day when we can let the hatred go. I imagine, however, that today is not that day.

    For what it's worth, though I did not know him, I am mourning Mr. Tamimi's death, decrying his murder, and sending my comfort to his family, friends, and community.

  14. This article made me cry !!! I grieve...

  15. You say this is the first protestor death in Nabi Saleh. I offer condolences for this and I do not believe this should have happened. Yet look what happens when your brothers and sisters protest in Syria - not one death but thousands. Have some apprecaition for the restraint of the IDF

  16. I am sorry for your loss. Your loss is your own and people who wish to lessen its significance have clearly not lost one of their own. May God give you patience and strength to see it through.

    "And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive." Baqarah:45

  17. We can forgive you for killing our sons. But we will never forgive you for making us kill yours.
    Golda Meir, to Anwar Saddat just before the peace talks.

  18. `I dream of my enemy choking on tear gas fired through the windows of their houses, of having their fathers arrested on trumped-up charges, of them wounded by rubber-coated steel bullets, of them being woken up in the middle of the night and dragged away for interrogations that are spliced with bouts of torture.'

    We do not dream of this for you. We dream of peaceful co existence. How different we are...

  19. Anna, Lancashire, UKDecember 13, 2011 at 1:01 AM

    So sorry that you have to endure the depravity of these soldiers who have lost their humanity. Sorry for the suffering of the people in Nabi Saleh.
    And most of all, sorry for Mustapha, brave soul, who lost his young life unexpectedly.
    Convey my condolences to his family and be assured we will not forget Mustapha and his fight for justice. God bless you all.Be Blessed.

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