The funeral of Shaden Abu
Hijleh Amer Abdelhadi, writing from Nablus,
occupied Palestine 14 October 2002
A poster at the funeral depicts
Imagine losing a loved one suddenly and
violently, and having to constrain yourself and not express any sadness or
anger. It must be hard. Now imagine witnessing the murder of your own mother and
finding yourself so contrained. You cannot do anything about it, you cannot find
answers, and you have to save your own life. How hard can it get?
was the funeral of Shaden Abu Hijleh, a teacher, social activist, humanitarian,
wife, mother, and good friend to everyone. Shaden was murdered in cold blood on
Friday evening while she was knitting on the steps to the veranda of her home in
Nablus. Her husband Dr. Jamal, and her son Sa’ed, an engineer, who were also
sitting near her, were injured but have survived their shrapnel
The soldiers who committed this war crime in front of dozens of
eye-witnesses have denied being in the area or at the scene of the shooting.
They claim they were not the ones who pulled the triggers.
At 2 p.m., a
public gathering began at the hospital morgue, where people assembled to take
one last look at Shaden, say goodbye to her, and thus preserve in their memories
some of her noble characteristics. The immediate family had arrived
Since the moment of the murder, the only member of the Abu
Hijleh family who had seen Shaden was her son Sa’ed, who was also injured.
Today, everyone saw her and everyone cried, even the reporters. The funeral
ceremony started and all her friends, family members, colleagues in various
charitable organizations, people she had helped in the past and citizens who
were outraged at the murder, came together to mourn her loss and say goodbye.
There were calls for revenge and demands for the world to do
After the burial, speeches were given by the All Party
Coordination Committee, the governor of Nablus, humanitarian associates and Dr.
Mustafa Barghouti, the head of the Palestine Medical Relief Association, who was
visiting Nablus today. Everyone talked about Shaden's many good deeds, her life
history, the crime itself, and the Israeli government’s apparent strategy to
drive people out of their homes by any means, including such terroristic acts of
Dr. Jamal Abu Hijleh, the bereaved husband, had the last word. He
did not want to talk about his wife's remarkable character and the good things
she did in her lifetime--he noted that all the others had summed this up
eloquently. Instead, he emphasized that his family is now even more determined
to stay in the country that they have always loved faithfully. Shaden, he said
"was an activist for a better life for all Palestinians". She would never have
agreed to leave her country, nor will he or his children, he promised.
returned to my office in time for Dr. Mustafa Barghouti’s interview in our
studios, Radio Tariq Al Mahabbeh. The interview went well, and many people
called in, but we did not have time to take any calls as the curfew was nearing.
The IDF imposes it by force at 6.00 pm.
It is true that many Palestinians
have been murdered, slaughtered and massacred, but Shaden's killing seems
somehow more brutal and shocking. She was wholeheartedly Palestinian. She would
move mountains to help people in need.
Later in the afternoon, I learned
that IDF army tanks had opened fire on a civilian bus in Jenin killing another
Palestinian lady. I do not have all the details, but the victim was probably a
wife, mother or sister to people who loved her so much.
The Israeli army
still denies any responsibility for killing Shaden. They insist that they were
not in the area at the time of murder; they claim it was not they who should be
held responsible for this unjust and shocking death. Yet more than fifty people
witnessed the two army jeeps entering the street, stopping outside the Abu
Hijleh family and opening fire.
"Maybe it wasn't the Israeli army," I
heard someone say. "Maybe we have a new army that we need to fight. Ha ha, we
will be helping the Israelis fight terrorism!" he joked bitterly. His sarcastic
words kept echoing in my head.
Sa'ed, after managing to send his mother
to hospital before the jeeps returned, was about to be taken to hospital himself
when the army jeeps returned and stopped again in the spot where they had
eariler committed the crime. Sa'ed leaned out of a window and asked them, "Why
did you shoot my mother? Why don't you try to kill all of us? We are civilians!
Why, why, why?!" His shirt was stained with blood at the time. It was obvious
that he was one of their victims. The soldier got down from his jeep, raised his
gun and aimed, shouting, "GO, go before I shoot again!"
The world is
watching, yet has done little. How hard can it get?
is general manager of Radio Tariq Al Mahabbeh, TMFM 97.7,