The Youth

They were Murdered and We are Changed Forever

Twelve of Iraq Burin’s high school and university students gathered to shared the effects of settler violence, attacks from the Israeli military, the struggle of their village against occupation, and murder of their peers.

Below is an edited compilation of their collective reflection.

You can’t imagine how sweet and ordinary life was. Our days were filled with cheer, parties and wedding celebrations.

Defending Our Mother and Honor

Then suddenly, eight months ago, the settlers began to move further down the hill to steal more of our land.  Our land is small. Our houses are small.  The land is everything in our lives — our income, our livelihood, our Mother and Honor.

Now we go to the hills to peacefully protest and protect our land every Saturday. If we don’t, the settlers, with the protection of the Israeli soldiers, will swallow up our whole village too.

The Israeli military makes our village a closed military zone every Saturday. Their military jeeps block the road to our village. Israeli soldiers occupy our land, our homes and our weekends. Their tear gas blinds our eyes and Israeli bullets fly.  It’s rare to see two boys walking down the street in our village without one carrying an injury.

When I was walking up the hill to the protest, I felt a sharp pain in my leg. I’d been shot by an Israeli soldier who was there to protect the settlers against our voices. I lost consciousness. Immediately  my friend ran to carry me to safety. Afterwards I spent 60 days in a hospital. You can’t imagine the pain I felt having to miss our Saturday protests.

Israeli soldiers enter our houses and destroy our things.  They come in the middle of the night and force us to put our fingerprints on blank pieces of paper so they can make up false confessions for us. If we refuse, we are beaten and forced to do it.

Bullets to our Heart

20 March 2010, began as any peaceful Saturday protest, but by the end of the day our lives were turned upside down.  It became the day of our BIG catastrophe. Usaid was sitting in front of a local shop door in the MIDDLE of our village and far away from the settlers and the protests on the hill. With no warning, an Israeli soldier deliberately shot him in the head.

Wiping his eyes, irritated by the army’s tear gas, Mohammed ran to help his friend, Usaid, and we followed. A bullet flew to pierce Mohammed’s heart. A third bullet flew for my head but missed.  Screams filled the sky, calling for an ambulance. Mohammed and Usaid were murdered. Mohammed’s soul rose and left his body there in the middle of our village before all of our eyes.

Life from Death

Mohammed and Usaid were our bright stars. The future of our village was robbed from us. Consequently we feel devastated. The village psychologically has collapsed, and our lives have forever changed.

Suffocated by sadness and misery, we no longer look forward to our village celebrations. Our weddings are now somber small affairs.  We have lost our motivation and concentration for education. Our lives, our parents’ lives, all of our village from big to small are scratched by the pain. What matters to our village now is the upcoming Saturday, demonstrations, the siege, tear gas, road blocks.  Our ultimate concern:  who will the next bullet murder??

The night that Mohammed was martyred, we found that his blood stained his name on the sidewalk.  Since that day, Mohammed and Usaid live in our hearts.

Although we fear that every day may be our last one, we will continue to defend our legitimate rights.

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