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Video: In memory of Salem Shammaly

27th July 2014 | International Solidarity Movement | Gaza, Occupied Palestine

In honour of the memory of Salem Khalil Salem Shammaly, the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) has published all the raw footage, taken by Mohammed Abedullah, of Salem’s murder.

Yesterday during the ceasefire, Salem’s body was finally able to be recovered and buried after five long days. Salem’s cousin, Mohammed Al-Qattawi, Salem’s body was so badly decomposed that his mother, sisters, and friends couldn’t bare to see him to say goodbye. 

So many families are now trying to bury their children, their mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and friends. The first cemetery the family went to was full to capacity. The second cemetery was able to help them, but they were forced to open an already used grave, to place Salem in. In the last 20 days, over 1,058 Palestinians have been killed.

On the 20th of July, Salem and his family left the Shajiya neighbourhood at dawn after the Israeli military began shelling homes and destroying the area.

The ISM contacted Salem’s sister, Shireen, and asked her if she could tell us more about her brother, and what happened to him and their family.

“With the rest of the people, we headed towards the city center assuming that it would be a safe place. After the announcement of the truce, we heard a call through a local radio station from other family members who were stranded in the region; among them was our cousin.

Salem then disappeared for two days. We went daily to the al-Shifa Hospital to look at the records to check if they received any information about him, whether he was wounded in the hospital or a martyr, but we had no luck. My father kept asking relatives and neighbors and everyone he would meet to find out where his son could be.

On the 22nd of July in the morning, the power supply came back, which only lasts for three hours a day at my house. We connected the mobile phones and the laptop as well as the lamps so we could charge them in preparation for the night. My sister opened her Facebook account to read about the happenings of last night and to keep updated with news and pictures and about the invasion of Shajiya.

She found a video that drew her attention titled ‘Israeli sniper killing wounded civilian’. Once she opened the video, my other sister, who was sitting next to her, screamed and said, “this is Salem’s voice. I swear, its Salem’s voice.”

We waited until the video completed buffering and saw Salem walking, helping the paramedics to rescue the injured. Then, one of us screamed and called for our father, “Dad, Salem is alive, come!”

We got a chair for our father, sat down, and all concentrated on the laptop screen waiting for the end. Suddenly the camera was distorted and then it settled on Salem lying on the ground. We all became quiet and speechless. We sat calmly and our father said, “thank God, Salem was wounded. Maybe the foreigners took him to a hospital…” But before my father could finish his sentence, Salem was shot the third and fatal shot.

Salem was a young man in the prime of his youth. He had dreamt to live his life like any other at his age. He was handsome and affectionate and could never hide what was in his heart. He has been waiting to grow up and to marry and have a family. We were waiting for him to grow up in order to assist our sick father and to support our family. He did not like politics at all. He was only in interested in his family and football.

Why did they kill him in this brutal way? He was shot in broad daylight and, during the time of truce, the only thing in his hand was a cheap mobile phone. Was he shot by an Israeli sniper who discovered that he did not pose any threat or danger? Then why did they not leave him in order to regain consciousness or to be rescued? Why did they shoot a second and third bullet?!

God, if he was part of the resistance then we would have said that it was the path that he had chosen, but he had no relationship with them.

Is it not enough that they have deprived us from his joyful presence? Why are they also depriving us from the chance to say goodbye to him and to bury him? Where are the people who call and urge for human rights initiatives? Where is Switzerland, the backer of the Geneva Conventions, which provides for the protection of human rights?

Look at us, do we not look like humans? How are we so different from them? Where are your laws and your organizations and your promises? If you cannot enforce the laws promised, then why create them? We see that animal rights are applied in a more fair and equal manner than what you call “human rights”.