An Iconic David v. Goliath Moment in Gaza
Gaza is a virtual war zone – undeclared but just as real, under suffocating blockade conditions, slow-motion genocide against the Strip’s long-suffering people, victims of Israeli apartheid viciousness.
Twenty-year-old A’ed Abu Amro is one of many Gazan profiles in courage – like Ahed Tamimi with a gender difference, putting their bodies in harm’s way for justice denied them by Israel and the world community for dismissiveness toward their suffering.
Photojournalist Mustafa Hassouna captured Amro’s iconic shirtless moment – a Palestinian flag in one outstretched hand, a slingshot of symbolic importance only in the other.
Smoke from burning tires billowed around him, along with Israeli live fire, toxic tear gas, and other repressive actions targeting him and other demonstrators for the crime of wanting to live free they’re denied.
On November 6, Al Jazeera wrote about what US and most other Western media ignore, saying Amro’s image is now “recognized worldwide…”
He’s “a symbol of Palestinian resistance…draw(ing) comparisons” with Eugene Delacroix’s iconic Second French Revolution painting, Liberty Leading the People, lady liberty’s raised arm, holding what later became France’s national flag.
Demonstrating peacefully against lawless Israeli blockade and other suffocating tactics on Monday, an Israeli sniper shot Amro in the leg, wanting his public courageous display stopped.
Orders to shoot and otherwise harm peacefully demonstrating Gazans come from Israel’s highest authority – Netanyahu likely ordering IDF snipers to mortally wound or disable protesters, including young children, women, paramedics and journalists.
In October, Amro told Al Jazeera that “(i)f (he) get(s) killed, (he) want(s) to be wrapped in the same flag. We are demanding our right of return, and protesting for our dignity and the dignity of our future generation,” adding:
“I don’t go to protests to get pictures of me taken, but this has encouraged me to continue demonstrating” for fundamental rights he and all other Palestinians are denied.
Mondoweiss contributor Gaza-based Ahmad Kabariti said Amro owns “a small kiosk that sells cigarettes in the al-Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City’s south side,” adding:
He “comes from a humble background,” living in an “uncomfortably overcrowded” small house, earning “about $2.70 a day.”
“When I spoke to (him) two weeks ago, he addressed the possibility of becoming injured. At that time, he said told me he ‘longed to taste the lovely pain of being shot by those Israeli snipers’ because ‘we must struggle as long as injustice and humiliation are being practiced on Gazan people.’ ”
He “said he has not missed any of the more than six months of protests that began in Gaza on March 30, 2018 and continue each Friday.”
Since Israel’s repressive blockade began over 11 years ago for political reasons, unrelated to security ones, he and two million other Gazans have been virtual Israeli prisoners.
He vowed to continue protesting no matter the “cost to him.” His courage is shared by countless others throughout the Occupied Territories.
They’re struggling valiantly despite long odds against them, including world community indifference toward their suffering – making things all the harder for them, yet not deterring their will to persist for what’s right.
A Final Comment
Interviewed by Middle East Eye, Amro said IDF snipers “were shooting at me, trying to fire a bullet at me” because of his iconic photo gone viral online.
“The occupation targeted me because they saw my pictures. They saw me moving forward. I drove them crazy. I was defending my homeland,” he stressed.
According to Gaza’s health ministry, at least 218 peacefully demonstrating Gazans were killed, over 23,000 others wounded since March 30.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”