Sunday, January 04, 2009


From another New York Times article, this one reporting on the civilian casualties in Gaza:
... there were several children in another intensive care unit on Tuesday. Among them was Ismael Hamdan, 8, who had severe brain damage as well as two broken legs, according to a doctor there. Earlier that day, two of his sisters, Lama, 5, and Hayya, 12, were killed.

“I prepared them breakfast that day in the garden,” said their mother, Ayda, 36. “They had the tea, bread and thyme. Lama wanted a second pita, but we all teased her saying, ‘Keep it for lunch.’ She told us, ‘Don’t worry, God will provide us with bread.’

“She made all of us laugh,” the mother said. “I cleaned after them and collected the garbage. Ismael volunteered to dump the garbage, but Hayya and Lama joined him. The garbage can is in front of the house, a five-minute walk away. All of a sudden I heard the news from a neighbor, and I ran barefoot to the hospital. A relative collected the bodies of Lama and Hayya on a donkey cart.

“The neighbors ran trying to save Ismael, who was the only one breathing,” she said. “They say my kids flew 40 meters before hitting the ground.”

Ismael died Wednesday night.
It's my Judeo-centrism that calls my attention to the names of these kids; I have no idea what these names mean in Arabic or in the Islamic tradition. To Jews, Ismael, of course, was the son of Abraham who was exiled later to become the father of the Muslim people. Hayya with a hard "H" means "life" or "living being" in Hebrew. And "Lama" means "Why?"

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