This is the full message that Abdelrahman's brother, Ateya, sent me in August:
I want to share with you my injured brother's story, and I hope that it could be the second part of “Voices from Gaza.”
My younger brother, Abdelrahman Kahled Al-Qadi, is a 16-year-old Palestinian child. He lives in the Gaza Strip, in the city of Khan Younis. Like all Palestinian children, Abdelrahman grew up loving his homeland and dreaming of his freedom. He, like all of the people in Gaza, continues to suffer from the severe siege that has been imposed on Gaza by the Israeli Occupation Forces since 2006.
From the start of the peaceful Great Return March, Abdelrahman would go to the eastern border with the hopes of showing the world that the people in Gaza have the right to live like all people around the world, and that the Israeli occupation must end this oppressive siege against Gaza.
Abdelrahman is not just any ordinary child. He is a strong child with great determination to be a skillful soccer player and to graduate from high school with high marks. But his dreams could not be achieved. On the 14th of May, Abdelrahman was shot by Israeli Occupation soldiers in his chest, with the bullet going all the way through him and out his back. This caused two problems for him: first, the bullet damaged his right lung, which was able to be treated through surgery in the Gaza Strip. Second, as the bullet exited through his back, it cut his spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.
After a month spent painfully suffering in Gaza, Abdelrahman was granted a permit to exit Gaza to receive treatment in Egypt. However, in the Egyptian hospitals, he did not receive any medical attention or treatment, because since no surgery could be done to treat the paraplegia, the hospitals refused to admit Abdelrahman. He had no option but to stay in an apartment without any medical care, which resulted in many more wounds, infections and ulcers on his body - as he was paralyzed and could not move.
While in Egypt, Abdelrahman was granted another visa to travel to Turkey in order to receive treatment there. When he reached Turkey, he finally was given medical care. The neurosurgery doctors said that no operation could help him due to the severe damage of his spinal cord. Instead they transferred him to the physical therapy section, where he is now receiving his physical therapy and exercise.
He will stay in the hospital until he finishes his treatment, which may last more than 6 months. For now, he is using a wheelchair to move from one place to another. What makes Abdelrahman and his family very sad is that he may never walk on his legs again, and he will never play football or go swimming as he used to.
Abdelrahman is a child who has great dreams like all of the children around the world. However, now he is paralyzed and all of his dreams and ambitions will be destroyed by the burden of his disability. I am his brother Ateya, and I cannot forget his words when he said to me: "Bro, when will I walk on my feet again? The summer vacation has finished, and I did not go to the sea and swim like last year.”
It is something painful when you hear these words from your little brother.
I hope that you will rewrite this story and to publish it on your account. This will show the world the deeds of the Israeli occupation, and it will help Abdelrahman by supporting him to get through these hard times so that he will be a good, happy person in the future.
See part-2-a-day-with-abdelrahman.html for more details of Abdelrahman’s story, and to read about the time I spent with the brothers in Istanbul.