The wedding hall was packed with well-wishers. The air, thick and heady with the scent of perfume, seemed to vibrate with songs and ululations. Inside, the wedding guests waited for the bride to finish her preparations at the beauty salon. Waited for her to arrive and greet her guests. Waited for her to grant them a smile or some kind words to thank her friends and loved ones for having come, often from great distances, to be with her and attend the funeral.
In case you were wondering, you did not misread that last word: funeral. The bride’s brother, Ahmed Erekat, was killed while he was on his way to pick up his sister from the hairdresser’s and take her to her wedding. An Israeli soldier judged the look on Ahmed’s face, and followed his training. Moments later a hail of bullets from a modern rifle tore through Ahmed’s chest, he collapsed and bled to death.
One moment is all it takes to turn a Palestinian wedding into a funeral.
Ahmed should have been driving his sister and her husband to their new home. He should have been preparing their dinner, as is the Palestinian tradition. I can imagine him roasting the ‘Zaghalil’ -meat from a young pigeon- and looking forward to the newlyweds sharing this meal.
However, the harsh reality is that Ahmed now rests on a cold slab in the morgue. Imagine the shock and anguish of his mother and sister, violently dragged from joy to sorrow in one moment. And if that is not enough to break your heart, think of his fiancée. I did not mention her till now, but there is one more cruel twist of fate. Ahmed’s own wedding is only a few days.
Ahmed Erekat, 27, beautiful young man. A son. A brother. Fiancée. My baby cousin. Israeli cowards shot him multiple times, left him to bleed for 1.5 hours and blamed him for his death. Tonight was his sister’s wedding, his was next month. We failed to protect him. I am so sorry. pic.twitter.com/3E341iE7sM— Noura Erakat (@4noura) June 23, 2020
Translated by Abdalrahim Alfarra
Edited by Marius Geesink