I remember when I attended a three-day workshop on international law and human rights by the ICRC in Gaza, one of the attendees asked the trainer: “What do I do to be qualified to obtain those human rights?” The trainer replied without much thought: “Nothing. You should be a human, that’s all”.
The question now is, what am I supposed to do/be to be qualified as a human? As far as I can tell, I live like normal humans do. I love, I hate, I cry, I laugh, I make mistakes, I learn, I dream, I hurt, I get hurt, I love pizza, I watched Titanic 6 times, I have a crush on Bradly Cooper, I get sick, I sometimes tell lame jokes to which only I laugh and last time I checked myself in the mirror I very much looked human.
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The only difference is that an occupying nation came from nowhere to claim exclusive ownership of my land on which an endless chain of my ancestors lived, and they started to ethnically cleanse my people.
My only sin is that I stood up and fought for my lost land and for everything that is dear to me.
The world accused me of terrorism just because I refused to be killed like an animal. But, even an animal will fight for its life.
I obeyed the US and went to elections; I voted for a party which met my expectations. But then I was punished for practicing the very democracy they taught me. I didn’t realize that the modern definition of democracy is to elect a party approved by the US, not a party that the majority of voters want.
As a result, I was put under severe blockade and was subject to systematic starvation, locked in a tiny patch of land isolated from the rest of the world for years.
I finished my university degree in that period, studying for my finals by candle light and writing entire research papers by hand. I often spent the long school days without having enough money to buy food because my father, an engineer, had nothing to build with.
Within four strenuous years I graduated with big dreams. Unfortunately, they were bigger than my reality.
I remained jobless despite the huge potential I have.
I stood up and fought for what I perceived as my basic rights but what the whole world calls terrorism. My Gaza that has been exhausted by poverty and isolation was also subject to three deadly wars within less than a decade by the Israeli occupation whose forces are armed to the teeth with weapons of mass destruction, paid for by US tax payers.
And the world again blames me for fighting back with my very humble and often-laughed-at, hand-made weapons.
Tens of my people are being killed on a daily basis and I’m watching my childhood and youth wasted in pain and utter misery and the world is still labeling me a terrorist.
I am a terrorist because I fight for my basic rights which everyone else is taking for granted without shedding a single drop of blood and without being dehumanised.
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Twenty-seven days of my short life were robbed from what are supposed to be the most beautiful years of my life. I spent them watching my loved ones getting killed because they were not human enough in the eyes of the world and I will spend many more years recovering from the war trauma instead of building my career.
If I don’t survive this war, I would like the world to know that I have never seen a rocket nor stored any in my house.
Rest assured that I was not used as a human shield!
As I am writing this article, my mother told my father that we are out of cooking gas, knowing that we have been out of water and power for days now.
I still have not figured out what crime I have committed to endure this kind of wretchedness. I wonder what being human feels like.
Maisam Abumorr is a graduate of English Literature, a current student of Translation (high diploma) and Political Science and Media (BA) in the Islamic University of Gaza, a blogger and a body language trainer.
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