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Gaza doctor speaks of hope and courage
2011-10-21

 
An emotional Dr Izzeldin Abuelaish talks about the loss of his three daughters 
Photo: Johan Roux

Listen to Dr Abuelaish's public lectures (audio)

In 2009 Israeli forces bombed the house of Palestinian doctor Izzeldin Abuelaish killing four people: three of his daughters and a niece. Speaking about this life-changing event, Dr Abuelaish delivered two public lectures at the University of the Free State (UFS) this week spreading the message of hope and peace.

Dr Abuelaish, who was introduced as the Nelson Mandela of Palestine by Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector, spoke emotionally about the loss of his daughters Bessan, Aya and Miyar.  He told the audience that there was no reason for them to be killed. His girls were armed with love, hope and education.

He urged people to have moral courage and encouraged them to strive for justice, truth and peace. When there is justice and truth, peace is a consequence. “As a medical doctor I never lose hope. By the end of this world we will forget what enemies did, but will never forget the silence of brothers.”

Dr Abuelaish spoke passionately about the role of women in society and said a country develops by how much it invests in women’s education. “We must realise the strongest members in a community are women. Women maintain the hope.”

Speaking about his life in the war, being born Palestinian, Dr Abuelaish said it was painful to hear that Palestinians are numbers and statistics. “When a soldier is killed in Iraq or another place, the screen speaks for days about what he ate and what he hoped for, others are figures and numbers.”

Dr Abuelaish, who wrote the book I shall not hate, A Gaza Doctor’s Transformational Journey of loss, Love and Change, said the death of his daughters made him stronger and more focused not to give up. “I swore to my daughters and God not to rest, I fully believe I will meet them one day. I will meet them with the big gift of justice.”  

Visit the website www.daughtersforlife.com to read more about Dr Izzeldin Abuelaish.

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