Memories of my cousin, killed by Israel

Abdul Rahman Mansour with his sister Malak. (Photo courtesy of family) 

Abdul Rahman Mansour was my cousin.

Aged 19, Abdul Rahman was the youngest boy in his family. His siblings doted on him.

Malak, his older sister, is showing a great determination to keep Abdul Rahman’s memory alive now that he is gone. Israel killed him during an attack on al-Bureij refugee camp, central Gaza, in November.

One of Abdul Rahman’s brothers has lived in the United Arab Emirates for many years and had encouraged him to move there.

“But Abdul Rahman used to tell me ‘I do not want to leave Gaza,’” Malak said. “ ‘I want to work in Gaza.’”

Abdul Rahman was ambitious. He had begun working on media and web projects as a freelancer.

After he graduated from university, he bought himself a laptop.

Members of the family went to different places when Israel declared its current war on Gaza.

Malak sought shelter in one of her brothers’ apartments. Abdul Rahman moved in with their uncle.

Malak recalled that Abdul Rahman was “wearing the most beautiful clothes” on the day he was killed. He had paid her a short visit that day.

Late in the afternoon, Israel subjected al-Bureij to an intense bombardment.

Abdul Rahman was killed, along with his uncle and several members of his uncle’s extended family.

The dreadful task of identifying Abdul Rahman fell to Malak. With his body in pieces, Malak could only tell it was him from his clothes.

Malak had bought him those clothes.

The age difference between Abdul Rahman and Malak was just two years. “He was the closest person to my heart,” Malak said.

“He was the one with whom I stayed up late at night. We would prepare food, watch movies, talk about everything. He told me his secrets and made me laugh a lot.”

Abdul Rahman’s parents had gone to Egypt a few weeks before the current war began. His father needed to travel there for medical treatment.

Malak had accompanied her parents on that trip. She had returned to Gaza so that she could attend her classes at university.

Abdul Rahman came to see her on her return. She was just back a couple of days when the genocide got underway.

Their parents are still in Egypt. Speaking from there, my aunt Naima described her youngest son Abdul Rahman as a “gift from God.”

“His martyrdom was a great shock,” she said. “And I am still very sad.”

Ruwaida Amer is a journalist based in Gaza.