“Were you in a hurry to heaven?” Mother of teen killed by Israeli sniper speaks

Monday was the fortieth day since an Israeli sniper fatally shot 17-year-old Nadim Siam Nuwara near Ofer military prison in Beitunia in the occupied West Bank.

This brutal end to a young life was caught on security cameras and by CNN, along with the fatal shooting of Muhammad Abu al-Thahir, 16, and the serious wounding of 15-year-old Muhammad al-Azzeh. Human Rights Watch called the shootings an “apparent war crime.”

Daniel Nuwara holds a portrait of his slain brother, Nadim.

Following Muslim tradition, a commemoration was held at which Nadim’s father and mother spoke. The video above is of his mother’s brief address. A translation is below:

Nadim, my son. You came into the world at seven months and you left the world at seventeen. A despair I do not know what to call. I am still in the depths of the silence that overcame us when I heard the news of your death. Your too quick departure made me cry. That despicable Israeli sniper did not let you tarry – that enemy of God, that enemy the prophets and of humanity.

You parted with the world as a martyr. Oh grief and anguish of time. Your departure – who can believe it? No one wants to believe your rapid departure. I feel that reality is not being truthful to me.

Just yesterday you filled our hearts with your soft words and gentle smile. And now all of this is absent. There lies nothing before me except to scream out that my heart has been torn to pieces. Your father’s grief shook the Earth despite his apparent calm. This manly grief shook my soul. But couldn’t you have waited a little bit, so I could speak to you or say goodbye? Were you in so much of a hurry? Or were you in a hurry to heaven?

And I say, blessed is He who possesses sovereignty and who created death. Oh Heavens wipe my tears and ease my pain. Nadim, the news of your death was like a lightening bolt at noon. It was like the sun set, the setting of your tender youth. You disappeared from before our eyes. I cannot stop crying, I miss you so much my son … The angels may be happy that you have left this world, but what comforts me is knowing that you are with the Most Merciful. We belong to God and to God we will return. Thank you.

Israel has held no one accountable for the shootings of Nadim Nuwara, Muhammad Abu al-Thahir and thousands of other Palestinians killed and maimed by occupation forces.

Siam Nuwara, Nadim’s father, recently launched a petition accompanied by his own moving message urging the US and EU not to grant visas to his son’s killers.

Photograph of Daniel Nuwara courtesy of the Nuwara family.

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My heart is filled with such sorrow and pain, as I can feel Nadim's mother's pain and grief! As a mother of 3 adult sons I can relate to a mother's pain, yet I can not fully appreciate the level of pain Nadim's mother is experiencing as all 3 of my sons are still living. This senseless killing of Palestinian people living in their own land that is occupied illegally by the Israeli people is reminiscent of the senseless killing of my people - African-Americans during slavery, Jim Crow era, that continues today in America against my people i.e., white men killing our African-American teen boys, the over-sentencing and over-incarceration of African-Americans. The senseless killing of Black South Africans during apartheid and the continued injustices today. Well, apartheid is apartheid - Israel, you are practicing apartheid and committing senseless murders of Palestinian people - STOP IT! I will continue to speak out against this grave injustice to the Palestinian people! Israel stop occupying the Palestinian land, stop the mass murders or even a single murder! STOP IT! United States, Europe and the rest of the world you must impose sanctions on Israel until they STOP IT! If you don't you are just as guilty of murdering Palestinian people as they are. The Israeli government must be held accountable for these murders and they must be brought to justice! No more Palestinian mothers, fathers or families should ever experience this - IT MUST STOP! The world can not pretend that this grave injustice is occurring every day to the Palestinian people! IT MUST STOP NOW!

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To Brenda Bell-White:

It is time for anger.Thanks to all who are outraged.

Of course, Western governments are not "aware" of the Israeli murder of
those like Nadim. What's more they do not care. There will be no
statements of condemnation and no actions (such as sanctions).

I do not believe in martyrdom but Christians once overwhelmingly
believed in it. Martyrdom lay at the core of the deaths of hundreds of
thousands of Christians during the Crusades (11th century).

Thanks for this article. It is, of course, insufficient.

Perhaps some will say that opposing murder, expulsion, extermination are
"anti-semitic". I can accept the name-calling. I deplore the actions and
complicity.

Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.