odai tamimi was shot again yesterday

odai (21) in ramallah hospital yesterday after he was shot in the face by a rubber-coated steel bullet

odai (21) in ramallah hospital yesterday after he was shot in the face by a rubber-coated steel bullet

this is odai tamimi, the younger brother of martyr mustafa tamimi – who was shot dead with a tear gas canister two years ago in his own village. odai is 21 or 22 now, and he was shot in the face with a rubber coated steel bullet by israeli soldiers yesterday during clashes in his village nabi saleh. again. it is painful and infuriating to see this picture. there was a time when i was constantly worried about odai and his twin brother loai, about their brothers sadam and zeyad as well, but especially about odai and loai. i used to dream of them often and call or check or ask annoying questions to try to reassure myself that they were well. i’ve cooled it since then, that kind of worry doesn’t do anyone any good. and i’ve come to accept that there is no controling whether anything shitty will happen to them again. but it is hard to be sitting in europe two years after mustafa was killed and to see this picture now. more than a year ago, i already felt like his family has had more than a lifetime’s share of pain, that nothing shitty should happen to them again if there was justice. then, zeyad got arrested from inside their home (he was released three weeks later), and then their father – a very kind and great man – suddenly died from a heart attack (partly from a lack of care/expertise at ramallah hospital).

(watch this video-testimony of the murder of mustafa tamimi by israeli photographer haim schwarczenberg)

odai was 19/20 and a political prisoner in military prison when he learned that his oldest brother mustafa was t in the face and seriously injured during a demonstration in nabi saleh. odai was still in military prison when he learned the next day that mustafa died from his wounds. he was not with his family in the moment that they learned of this shattering reality. he was not his twin brother loai who had come running when he saw a youth from his village injured and on the ground, only to realize it was his brother mustafa bleeding into the street just when friends carried him away into a bus that was supposed to take him to an ambulance. while odai’s brother sadam made it back in time for the funeral from jordan, where he had been training as a police officer, odai was only released from military prison the day of the funeral AFTER the funeral. he never saw the body of his brother and came back to a broken family.
their oldest sister dalal was unable to return from the US – where she had moved to 9 years ago after her marriage – because she still did not have US citizenship and could not travel back to palestine on her palestinian passport. she watched her family grief and alter from afar while she struggled to continue a daily life in the US that felt unconnected to her shattering pain.

a few months after mustafa was murdered, odai’s twin loai was also arrested (i think also from inside their home if i remember correctly) and forced to stay as a political prisoner in military jail for 6 months..

i was told (and can easily believe) that odai is fine now. he is tough and this is not the first time that he was shot. one time, he was hit in the chest and abdomen by a cluster of 12 rubber-coated steel bullet, i only know because i saw a picture of him with angry red circular wounds all over his torso and asked when it was from, it’s not something you’ll hear about in the family, it’s like that injury was not even worth mentioning. i know he is ok, but i also know his jaw was still hurting and damaged (he broke his jaw in an accident in military prison) and he had problems chewing.

even though i know odai is ok, and i know he’s had worse injuries, and i know he is tough and i know he is surrounded by really great family and friends, this picture is something i DON”T WANT TO SEE, i keep thinking “THIS SHOULD NOT HAPPEN AGAIN” while i feel helpless and frustrated because i know we live in a world where there is no stopping this kind of shit from happening – unless we change it.



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