After my loss, I added on a new family member and I sponsored a child's education in Palestine in secret. None of my family members knew. Aries did not know. She was mine, a child I gained from a loss that I went through. A girl, bright, types perfect English. Sometimes, she would email me and update me on her progress. She wanted to be a lawyer like me.
This morning I found out that she was killed four days ago along with her father in Gaza while walking home from school. She was 12.
I struggle to understand the world she lived in, how she grew up. I even promised her that I would visit her one day and come to her high school graduation which would be about 5-6 years from now.
She would tell me a lot about how she was so used to bomb attacks and air strikes that she no longer feared it. That she would walk to and from school everyday anyway. That the Israeli soldiers would point guns at her and mock her while she walked.
Some kids would urinate in fear. She would just walk away. She said her goal was to get an education and help out in ways other than force i.e. military manner in the West Bank. She said that was why she wanted to be a lawyer and that was why I was such a blessing to her.
I would tell her about life in Malaysia. How the traffic jams were bad. How Airiel was doing in playschool. How online shopping is the bomb. How we have the best islands and beaches in the world. How in Malaysia different races of different religions live together and tolerate each other. She was really wowed by that, because it was a concept foreign to her. I told her that once she graduated she should visit and stay with me.
She was my child to me as Airiel was, only a million miles and a lifetime away. We talked of the future but also talked about death. I told her, you are bright, leave Gaza and study elsewhere. Come back after your studies and help, what is important is that you and your family survive. But she told me that people in Gaza do not look at life that way. This is her home, her land and she will never have the heart to leave it. They do not fear death, although when it happens, it is always sad for them. Whatever life they have, no matter how short it is, they cherish it to the fullest.
She has seen more death and destruction in her 12 short years than I know I will ever see in a lifetime. But she was bright, full of life and cherished it to the very end. I always ask her, what can I do to help, what else can I do for the people there and she will say, 'Pray for us, remember us' and that is enough for her.
I did pray for her, for Gaza everyday but that was not enough to save her. She died anyway. Collateral damage as the US and Israelis and the Western World would say. I failed. I didn't do enough. I didn't pray hard enough. My grief I cannot even begin to describe. She was just a child.
I vow from today, to never again touch any product even remotely related to Israel. I will adopt more children from Palestine. I will try to promote awareness about the conflict, at least among my friends. This is the least I can do in HER memory. It may take a massive overhaul and major changes in my life, but I am going to do this and dear Allah, please help me be consistent in this change. Please never let me forget this day.
I will do this for you Aisha.
May you be blessed up there. You say that I was the miracle in your life, but you were wrong, you are MY miracle. Thank you for being present in my life even for a short time to make me realise what is really important in life.
Guys, this is the updated list of products to boycott for 2012. You can get the list from here. Donate, do what you can to make a change.
Have a good rest of the week everyone.