By Joharah Baker
There is no point falling into the pit of countering the claims being made about the death of Mohammed Al Durra, the 12-year old boy from Gaza whose videotaped killing was seen around the world. The boy, crouching in fear behind is equally afraid father as bullets whizzed around them, was killed admittedly by the Israeli army. Later, the army recanted after investigating the tape, saying Durra was killed by Palestinian fire instead. Well now, Israel is changing its story altogether, saying he was not killed at all. In fact, he was probably not even wounded and the French channel that broadcast the footage and brought some pretty bad rap to Israel, had most likely filmed a charade.
The reason why I will not waste my time countering this claim is that even with the great lengths the Israeli government went to to prove that the boy was never killed, it could not provide any irrefutable proof that Mohammed Al Durra – who would be 25 now – is still alive. No pictures, no testimonies, no hospital or morgue officials giving statements to refute his death, have been provided. Only sketchy information about ‘poor quality footage’ and the fact that it seems as though the boy moved his arm after he had slumped over his father following the explosion.
My point is this: indeed, Mohammed Durra’s death was at least one of the catalysts that fueled the second Intifada, and thus, was an important event in the history of the Palestinians. However, more importantly – most importantly to me –is the fact that this is about a boy who died in sheer terror, with his distraught father futilely trying to shelter him from the barrage of bullets coming their way.
Mohammed Al Durra was a boy, with a life, a family and friends. He died a horrible death and now he is being made to die a second one. I did not know Mohammed or his family, but I can only imagine how awful it must be for them to read these claims now and feel the pain of losing their child all over again. If nothing else, this is disrespect for human life of the worst kind.
Some may postulate that the rehashing of the Durra case is a personal jab at the French cameraman who shot the footage, Charles Enderlin. Perhaps. But as a Palestinian who has seen the pain endured by numerous families who receive the horrible news that their sons or daughters have been killed by the Israeli army, my concern is for his family and for his memory. He should be left to rest in peace. If Israel has axes to grind with French journalists or with the international community for holding it accountable for its actions, then so be it. Israel is not lacking in the public relations department.
That being said, there is just one decent thing left to do. Leave Mohammed Al Durra and his memory alone.
Joharah Baker is a Writer for the Media and Information Department at the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH). She can be contacted at [email protected]