by Mohammed Abdel Fattah, Al-Akhbar English
A feeling of deep loss mitigated only by their pride in their son’s martyrdom, that is how one can describe the state of martyr Abdel Rahman Shaloudi’s family. They believe happiness is a duty following their son’s martyrdom in defense of holy sites, even if the price they have to pay is Israel blowing up their family home.
Jerusalem – “Only losing our beloved son matters… losing the house means nothing in comparison.” Their son’s body was riddled with a hail of bullets that hurled him flat on the ground except for his forefinger, which remained upright as he recited the testimony (the creed declaring belief in the oneness of God and acceptance of Mohammad as His prophet) before he drew his last breath. For this reason, it would be incomprehensible for the family to cry over their house that was blown up by the Israeli occupation.
Shaloudi’s family heard the news about Israel’s intention to blow up their home a few hours after receiving news of their son’s martyrdom. The impact of Israeli internal security minister, Yitzhak Aharonovich’s decision therefore paled in comparison to the initial news.
The mother’s joy in Abdel Rahman’s martyrdom is not concealed by her tears, which she grew accustomed to a long time ago. She has been crying because of the oppression her son endured at the hands of the Israeli occupation forces for a long time. The Israeli authorities always summoned her eldest son to be interrogated for no reason, sometimes they even imprisoned him. One time, he spent three days in jail because he went to the Israeli police station to report his car had been stolen. The policeman accused him of stealing it then released him from prison without a trial.
The Israelis wanted Abdel Rahman to be their spy in the Silwan neighborhood, considered one of the most sensitive neighborhoods in the area because Israeli settlers believe it was “the birthplace of Judaism more than 3,000 years ago” and aim to displace its residents. The Israelis tried to recruit Abdel Rahman because he is esteemed and loved by the neighborhood’s residents. He, however, refused and chose to do what the occupation fears the most, he veered his car and ran over settlers.
The Shaloudi family remained strong despite all the measures that the Israelis took to demoralize and discourage them. They returned Abdel Rahman’s body at night in violation of the customs in the holy city where martyrs and dead people are not buried at night (the latest they are buried is after the afternoon daily prayer), limited the number of mourners and demolished the Shaloudi residence. But what worried and embarrassed the family the most was the Israeli decision to evacuate the entire building where they lived, raid all the homes and destroy their furniture. Some soldiers even urinated on the children’s beds.
Abdel Rahman’s mother did not care about the demolition of her own house or worry about where her family is going to live. All she cared about was asking for the forgiveness of her neighbors who “paid the price” with her. She was relentless in her visits to one neighbor after the other to apologize to them as they patted her on her back assuring her that they are all “one family” and that her son is a hero and a martyr for all of Jerusalem.
After their house was blown up, the father moved his family temporarily to his brother’s home, while they search for a house they can afford seeing that the father’s income is limited.
The Israeli occupation resorted to vengeful and malicious measures to break the will of the Shaloudi family and to make them an example for anyone thinking about carrying out a martyrdom operation. But the words uttered by martyr Abdel Rahman’s mother dispel all their hopes.
She said, addressing her martyred son, “Thank God you died a martyr and don’t worry about what happens to us, it’s all for the sake of Jerusalem and al-Aqsa Mosque.”