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Occupied Lives: They killed my only child

Mamoun Aldam.


“Mum, I am scared because of the drones in the sky.  There are many of them. I can hear them.  I can also see a helicopter.  Please hurry up and come.”  Mamoun Aldam (12) made 2 such phone calls to
his mother, Amna Aldam (52) on Wednesday, 20 June 2012.  At around 2:30pm, shortly after his parents
arrived, Mamoun was killed by a missile fired at the family’s farmland in Al-Zeitoun
area. His blind father, Mohamed Aldam (67) was also severely injured in the

On the day of the attack, Mamoun had gone to show someone the location
of the farm.  Amna recounts that: “We
wanted to build a storage room on the farm.  The person we hired did not know where our
farm was, so Mamoun offered to show him.  The person left after seeing the farm and
Mamoun stayed behind to wait for us.”

His parents rushed to the farm after he called.  They all sat under a tree to get some rest and
shade.  They did not anticipate any
attacks from the overhead drones:  “We
were not armed.  We are civilians.  The trees in the farm were recently planted,
so they are still small.  Anyone could
see from above that we were just civilians so we did not expect to be attacked.”

Mamoun made his parents some coffee and then started playing with his
football:  “He was playing about 20 meters from where we
were resting and I asked him to come back.  Suddenly, I heard an explosion.  I saw dust, smoke and fire where Mamoun had
been standing.  I heard him scream once,
and then he went quiet.  I kept calling
out for him, but he did not answer back.”

Amna was desperately calling for her son as she rushed to where he had
been playing: “There was dust everywhere and I could not see anything.  When I finally saw Mamoun, he was lying on the
ground and there was a lot of blood around him.  His legs had been torn off.  There was shrapnel all over his body.  His clothes were burned and he was almost
naked.  He was dead.”

Amna clearly recalls hearing other women screaming from neighboring
farms as she picked up her son’s body: “I held him and took him to his father
so he could touch his face and say goodbye.  I found my husband bleeding heavily from his
head.  His left hand and right leg were
also bleeding.  He was touching his
forehead and asking me if it was sweat.  He
is diabetic and has high blood pressure, so I thought he was going to die from
all the bleeding.  I was screaming for
people to come and help us.”

Two ambulances arrived on the farm shortly afterwards and rushed Mohamed
to hospital.  They also took what was
left of Mamoun’s body.  Amna stayed
behind: “There were pieces of my child’s body everywhere.  I stayed there and started collecting the
pieces and putting them in a bag.  Other
women came to help me.”

In spite of his injuries, Mohamed refused to stay in hospital as he
wanted to be at his son’s burial.  Mamoun’s
death has traumatized him: “It has been very hard for him to live without
Mamoun.  He is blind and Mamoun used to
take him everywhere, even for his hospital appointments.  He has been greatly affected and says he
cannot take it anymore.  Sometimes he
even calls out for Mamoun, and then remembers he is gone.  He feels that he will die soon without Mamoun.”

Amna has nothing, but unanswered questions and pain.  Mamoun was her only child.  She has kept the deflated red ball that Mamoun
had been playing with when he was killed.  She breaks down and cries as she talks about him:
“Look at that picture on the wall.  He
was just a small boy.  I want to
understand why they killed my son.  Why?  My Mamoun was kind to all people and animals.  He never harmed anyone.  He used to feed a stray cat, and even now it
comes outside the house to wait for him.  I remember how he used to kiss my feet and
tell me ‘you are my darling, I want to keep you locked inside my heart.’  I just want to know why they took him from us.”

The trauma has not been borne only by the Aldam family.  The children in the neighborhood have also
been affected by Mamoun’s death: “Every time the children hear planes passing
overhead, they run to their houses shouting and crying.  Why do they kill children?  What wrong have they done?  Why the huge number of drones in the sky
attacking innocent people?  I held my
Mamoun in my arms when he died and everything felt destroyed for me.  I hope that is the last child to be killed in

In the month of June 2012, 16 children were injured and 3 were killed,
including Mamoun, during Israel’s various attacks on the Gaza Strip.  The targeting and killing of a child, a
protected civilian, is a war crime, as codified in Articles 8(2)(a)(i) and
8(2)(b)(i) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

To see a video narrative given by Amna Aldam please click here.

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