You know why I love Washington, I feel at home because it is summer and everyone is at the beach.
It is like me growing up in Gaza, it is all beach. I was born on the beach. If you had taken a camera 20 years ago, you would have seen me with 8 other kids. Doing what kids do on the beach. Playing football or soccer to you. Beach is the only space we have. I was lucky enough to learn my skills and eventually be good enough to play for Palestine.
Can you begin to imagine, how proud a young person like me to wear the jersey of Palestine and Present my country and people. Not many people get the chance.
If you had taken the camera 8 years ago in the same Beach, you would see the same scene. 8 kids like me kicking a ball and even journalists were filming it and offered to play along. There were the Bakr Kid. A fisher family like my family. It was during the war of 2014
They have been confined for weeks because of War, their mother told them.
أوعى تطلع برا البيت، الدنيا برا قصف
“Do not dare you go”!!!
But the kids never listen. What was there to be scared of in the open, they are kids, the international press. No long after they got there, a shell exploded near them from an Israeli Gun boat, who could obviously see that they are children, and so they ran and ran, and a second shell exploded, right in their midst, and 4 of them were blown to piece, the other FOUR were injured but escaped.
I will remember that day JULY 16th till the day I die, because that was my beach, and those kids they were me. I could have been one of them torn to shreds, and even more tragic, they could have one-day be me playing for Palestine, Barcelona or Real Madrid.
Walking on that same beach weeks later, when the war over. I could not get it out of my head, all these questions.
- What was their crime?
- Was kicking a football as lethal as firing a rocket?
- Why was their innocence such a threat? ******
That is when I decided that something had to be done
That is when I decided to start a program called Gaza Plays Peace, a program to help the surviving Bakr kids, reclaim the beach for children. along with that, to invite every kid in Gaza to experience the innocence of play and the safety that should go with being a child.
I ask you to stand with me as I stand with the million+ children of Gaza to swear to them, that we will work tirelessly
For children – and their right to play.
For children – and their right to be innocent.
For children – – – – whether they are in Gaza, or Chicago, Ukraine or Uvaldae.
Their right to be safe.
GAZA PLAYS PEACE