Never ending cicle

Relatives of Jawad and Thafer Rimawi gathered at a hospital near Ramallah before their funeral (Reuters)

Yumna Patel

Mondoweiss  /  November 29, 2022

Today Palestinians woke up to the news of three martyrs. Three more people had been taken away from their families, loved ones, and homeland with the pull of a trigger.

As I sat this morning in my local coffee shop, hammering away at my keyboard, fielding phone calls and messages as my colleagues and I tried to gather all the details from the night before, I overheard an exchange between friends.

“F*ck this life. Two young guys, like flowers, killed in an instant,” one said, as he watched videos of the grieving parents of Jawad and Thafer Rimawi, two brothers, who were killed during a raid overnight on Tuesday.

Another responded, “It’s not normal. Every day, more people are being killed. You never know, maybe I’ll walk outside right now and get shot, and that will be the end for me.”

It’s conversations like these that, no matter how often they happen (these days they seem to be happening every day), I can never get used to.

Despite all the conflict, violence, and injustice that exists all over the world, I believe this feeling, the one described by my friends, is a feeling that is truly unique to Palestine. The feeling that at any moment, your life, or the life of your friends, your family, your neighbor, or even your co-worker can be taken in an instant.

Almost everyone I know, or everyone I have met over the years reporting and living in Palestine has experienced, to some degree, what it is like to lose someone to the Israeli occupation. It’s become difficult to count how many times I’ve been told “you never know when it will happen to you.”

In a place where people are forced to normalize all the forms of violence inflicted upon them – violent raids, bombs, checkpoints, walls, prisons, borders separating families, the slow theft of their land – the reality becomes one of constant and imminent danger.

No matter where you are, or what you are doing – maybe you’re driving home in the middle of the night, maybe you’re sleeping at home, or maybe you’re resisting against the armed forces raiding your hometown – the reality is that even in the most mundane, or unexpected moments, the occupation can creep up on you, taking your life away from you, and all of your loved ones.

As I continued to reflect on the Palestinians who were killed today – brothers, fathers, sons, friends, classmates – and the quickness in which their lives, their past, and their futures were taken away from them, my colleague sent a video of the young Thafer Rimawi, 19, giving his high school graduation speech last year.

Still wearing his graduation robes, he delivered an impassioned speech to his fellow graduates, who looked on bright eyed, and excited for the future. Under the video, posted by the school, a caption read: “you did great, Thafer, we wish you and your classmates success and excellence.”

Just a year and a half later, Thafer was killed, and his future along with him.

He and his brother Jawad will be added to more lists, more numbers, of Palestinians killed by the Israeli occupation. A list that has grown too painfully long this year alone, and will inevitably continue to grow, even in the last few weeks of this year.

It is a maddening reality to report on these heinous crimes every day, forcing real people, who had real lives, real families, and real hopes and dreams, into boxes and statistics, in an attempt to make it digestible for audiences and readers, to try and help them understand the true scale of the oppression forced on the Palestinian people.

But no matter how many painful, heart wrenching quotes we write down from family and friends, nothing can ever truly capture the pain of what it is like to lose a loved one in such an unjust way. To lose them and know that chances are you will never get justice, and your pleas for help will fall on deaf ears. To lose these precious lives, and know that tomorrow you will wake up to it all over again.

Yumna Patel – Palestine News Director, Mondoweiss