3 years have passed since my friend Aqil was brutally killed by the Israeli occupation soldiers during a peaceful protest against the Israeli apartheid wall on 05.06.2009.
The Israeli soldiers shot him in the heart, with a 0.22 caliber, a weapon that it illegal according to the International law. He was trying to rescue 16 year Muhammed Mousa, who got shot in the stomach with the same illegal ammunition. According to the Israeli occupation soldiers, that was a valid reason to shoot and kill him. Aqil died just 20 meter away from my family home. Even on the day of his funeral, while I was carrying him together with my friends during the funeral procession, I still could not believe that he was dead.
Maybe it was beause he was my hero. He was always trying to help other people and that’s why he wasl always getting shot and injured – more than a hundred times – yet, he never lost the smile on his face and recovered quickly. Only when I sayed ‘Goodbye’ in the mosque and kissed on his face and on his head , only then did I realize that he had left us.
But how was this possible? Just five hours before he got killed we were drinking coffee together, smiling and laughing and talking about the time we had spent together, jailed on the Israeli Ofer military jail, and about our dreams for a better future. Even when I could no longer deny that you were dead, because we had just buried you, I still felt paralyzed, unable to cry. I was searching for tears, but they had disappeared, just when they were so much needed. All I felt was my heart that was about to explode.
Today, all of us in Ni’lin are remembering you, my friend. We are remembering and celebrating everything we had together. And today I want to tell you all the things that I wanted to tell you, but then you got shot and killed and violently taken away, so I never had a chance to tell you.
Aqil my beloved friend, you took care of me in jail in my hardest times when I was terribly sick, when I was homesick, when I was alone, and desperate and sad. You were a father to me and a friend and a brother at the same time. There are no words that could possibly express my feelings for you: the gratitude and friendship, and how much I miss you every day. How much we all miss you. Today I can’t stop crying while I think of you.
Even though you taught me not to cry because the hardship of our lives requests that we be strong. You were the one who told me that crying won’t change a thing and that if we start crying we will never be able to stop, because there sad things and oppression and loss is happening to us every day.
Today my beloved friend, we are all thinking of you, as we do every day. And we will keep the promise we gave you: to fight for our land and for freedom, to fight for justice and to stay human in the face of the Israeli oppression, injustice, and violence.
Aqil my friend, you are such an inspiration for all of us, we all miss you, you will remain in our hearts and thoughts forever! We will talk about you everyday and spread your story, to tell that whole world that you were a human being, just as we are human beings who deserve to live in peace, freedom and justice!