“Is she your cousin, you look the same”
“Razan Alnajjar, your cousin right?”
“Your cousin is a hero, you must be proud”
Some of the captions people sent me last month along with photos and posts about Razan being one of the first female volunteer medics in the borders protests.
I did not remember her. I told them probably the smile looked familiar and I share blood with almost everyone in Alnajjar neighborhood in Khuzaa near the southeastern borders of Gaza. A neighborhood that has been an arena for suffering and miseries. A neighborhood that 2014 aggression on Gaza wiped out wiping some of the places that I played in as a child.
I remember that everyone there was so hospitable offering the sweetest tea ever, I never been able to drink the tea even though my grandmother would give me a series of threatening looks to drink it, it’s rude not to drink. I attended many weddings there as a kid. I used to see Razan there, all dressed up I have always loved her hair.
But I did not remember her from the photos, I only knew her as a child. In my late teenage years and after the second aggression on Gaza, I was focused on books and school. I stopped going out. I stopped going to social events. I was scared of getting attached to people, of losing people. I stayed alone in my bubble for years.
The last photo of Razan Alnajjar before she was shot- a 100 m away from the fence
I did not remember her so I texted mum asking. “She is aunti Sabren’s Daughter” her words unlocked a part of my memory and a movie from my childhood fast-forwarded in front of my eyes. I remembered her.
I remember her
I remember when my grandmother used to call to tell me “come down Reaan and Razan are here” Sarah, my sister and I would go downstairs and then invite them to go play with our toys. I was a few years older than they were so at one point I stooped playing and I just gave them the toys and watch them play while reading.
I have always loved her hair braids. Her sense of fashion. She was one of the cutest little girls I knew back then. She always smelled nice, a sweet flowery scent that I can now smell in the back of my memory.
Razan challenging all the sterotypes and the limits motivated by her determination to save people’s lives.
I remembered her and I was so proud of how courageous she had grown to be. How fearless. How kind. I was proud that she was a role model for many, breaking all the stereotypes about women.
Oppressing my self
I was invited for Iftar. One hour before the iftar I received the news. I decided not to tell anyone there because they have been fasting and I did not want to share it before eating. I remained calm on the surface while a war raging inside of me. Every piece of my heart felt like an island with a volcano erupting nonstop. Tears summoned up in my eyes but just like the occupation forces on the borders, I oppressed them I did not allow any tear to express its anger, its pain, its legitimate right of existence. Any tear that tried to sneak out was executed by my hand.
I could not eat, I ate a bit and moved my food around before I broke down. Because as all type of oppression, eventually, rightful things take place, you can not oppress justice forever.
I spoke to my family and went for a run to clear my mind up and to allow myself to understand what happened. I am not sure I do. Then I went to social media to see what her colleagues and the people who were around her saying about her. To read her last words, to see her mother mourning her beautiful daughter. To see pain. It’s very traumatic. I have not seen my family or any of these people in two years after leaving to pursue my graduate studies in Turkey and now I am seeing them on social media in pain. It’s horrific.
At the hospital, Razan’s mother hugging her uniform.
The Heroine Angel
Razan Volunteered as a medic since the beginning of the Great Return March, a peaceful demonstration demanding the end of the siege imposed on Gaza and the end of the occupation. The Occupation Force used lethal force firing live bone-breaking bullets on the protesters killing more than a 100 person including journalists, women, children, and people with special needs and injuring more than a thousand person.
Fearlessly running towards the sound of bullets trying to save who can be saved. Razan’s colleagues traumatically narrated the murder scene in a video. “I told her to come back, she’s gone too far. They will shoot us” she didn’t listen and replied that there is an injured guy and they need to help him. Her friend was pulling her hand when Razan pointed at her back.”her back was bleeding I was pulling her hand to walk away” said before she completely broke down in tears. Another colleague said, I told her to go back, she joked saying “are you scared?” I got injured and at the hospital, I found out that she was shot.
Razan’s colleagues mourn over her death
She died while saving people’s lives. She died so everyone can wake up to demand justice. It’s the time to hold the occupation force accountable. Write to your representatives, learn more, and explore different solutions. I suggest you start by checking out the BDS movement and the One Democratic State.
It not just sad, it is a War Crime
Please do something. Your prayers and thoughts are kind and appreciated but they will not help me to move on. If this continues, I will lose more loved ones. I told you about Razan, who is only one out of tens of sad stories.
Fourth Geneva Convention, 1949 ARTICLE 20. — Persons regularly and solely engaged in the operation and administration of civilian hospitals, including the personnel engaged in the search for, removal and transporting of and caring for wounded and sick civilians, the infirm and maternity cases, shall be respected and protected.
Take action because you can make a difference. Every time you buy something, you are making a vote. Every time you stay silent in the face of justice, you are a partner in the crime. Let us honor Razan’s death by holding the occupation forces and leaders accountable for their war crimes