Editor’s Note: Razan al-Najjar bought her own medical kit to volunteer as a medic at the fence separating besieged Gaza from Israel. She was one of the first medical workers offering help and saving lives, until her own life was taken on Friday, June 1. She was fatally shot by an Israeli sniper while wearing her white medical rope trying to help wounded protesters. This interview with Razan was conducted by Gaza-based reporter Abdullah Omar just days before she was killed.
By Abdullah Omar – Gaza
Only few knew who Razan Al-Najjar was before Gaza’s Great March of Return started on March 30. Today many here in Gaza know who she is. Though she is 20-years-old, she has become a symbol of the protests at the Gaza fence.
Even before the first medical tent was erected at the fence, Razan was already at the front lines helping the injured. Of that, she is particularly proud.
“There are those who resist with stones, and there are those who resist with cameras, and I am here to resist by aiding protesters and by doing my medical duty.”
To fulfill such a duty, Razan has taken on great risks. Only days into her work, she has already been wounded by a metal-coated rubber bullet in the foot and struck by a gas grenade in her hand while helping a wounded protester. But she quickly returned to the field.
“I know that being a paramedic is one of the most dangerous professions because it requires saving lives in places of conflict and war, and those who work in this filed put their lives at risk,” she said.
“In Palestine, no one is safe or protected. Everyone is a target, even medics, even though international law clearly prohibits targeting medics.”
“I was shot three times, but thank God I did not get seriously hurt. I am grateful for my family for not asking me to stop going to work at the fence. They are very supportive and proud of my mission.”
True, Razan was risking her life, but she saved the lives of many. On one occasion, she carried an injured in her arms after he was shot in the head, with blood pouring from his wound. Despite the continuous firing she managed to get him to the medical tent, where, by a miracle, his life was saved.
But she could not save Tahreer Abu Sibla, who was shot in the head by an Israeli sniper. That was an experience that filled her with grief.
“I realized when we reached him that he could not talk,” she said in a broken voice.
“He lost his life after being transferred to the hospital.”
When Razan first rushed to the border to help the wounded she had to buy her own medical kit, selling personal items to acquire the needed funds.
Throughout all of this, Razan’s parents supported her and proudly so. Her father had assigned his daughter’s number with a special ringtone as he waited anxiously to hear her news every day.
She made sure to call often and to report to her family that she is safe despite the mounting deaths at the fence.
(Translated by PalestineChronicle.com staff)
– Abdallah Omar is a Palestinian journalist and a community activist. He is a PhD Candidate in new media and works as a reporter for a number of Arab journals. He is the former reporter of the Qatar-based Raya and UAE-based Dar Alsada Newspapers. He contributed this article to the Palestine Chronicle.