Wael Dahdouh, the reporter from Gaza whose family was killed by Israel, speaks

Wael Dahdouh, the reporter from Gaza whose family was killed by Israel, speaks

ValenciaWael Dahdouh is a legendary journalist in the Arab world. The head of Al Jazeera's Gaza bureau predicted a new war seven months ago and told his wife, Amna. He didn't think it would take this long – on April 7th, it had been seven months since he started – let alone that fate would open a hellhole in his life. Al-Dahdouh lost half his family, dozens of his colleagues, and his health. Everyone wonders how he can move forward with this personal ordeal.

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He is now injured in his right hand, as a result of the same bombing on a school in Khan Yunis, in which photographer Samer Abu Daqqa was martyred. Taking advantage of his two-day visit to Valencia, he received treatment from a physiotherapist. And also recognition: last Wednesday he received an award from the Union of Journalists of the Valencian State and another from the Coordinator of NGOs in Valencia. Two days earlier, in Cordoba, he received the Julio Anguita Parrado Award, in memory of a journalist.the world He was killed in 2003 by an Iraqi missile during the invasion promoted by George W. Bush and Tony Blair, and supported by José María Aznar.

On October 25, he was in the news almost everywhere in the world as he received the news that a bomb had fallen on his home. “My family was not in our house in Gaza, I took them to Nuseirat, an area that Israel said it would not attack. They gave me a phone, my daughter was in Jaloud and I forgot that she was alive and that she was in front of thousands of people,” the journalist recalls.

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Dahdouh is 53 years old and already a grandfather. Sixteen-month-old Adam was the first body found: “I took him to an ambulance hoping to revive him, but there was nothing that could be done. I arrived in the area at night, he was in shock. The house was in shock. Ruin and everything was dark.” I asked and no one answered. Then I found my wife and Mahmoud, who wanted to become a journalist and was posting videos in English on social media. Then I saw Sham, my youngest daughter. It was very difficult.”

Abdul Salam Farah, the Arabic language news presenter on the Qatari channel, cried when he had to read the news of the reporter’s tragedy. Al-Dahdouh presided over the funeral of the four victims, wearing a press jacket. Next to him, his head covered in bandages from his serious injuries, was 12-year-old Yahya. “For me, it was inconceivable that I would stop working when my family was martyred. They were attacked because of my profession, and because they were my wife and children. They were always sacrificing; I was a journalist suffering from a long absence from home. But, “For me, journalism is a humanitarian mission.” . And commitment. You should always keep reporting.”

The bloodiest war for whistleblowers

Al-Dahdouh buried his loved ones and stood in front of the camera immediately afterward, even though journalists are still dying every day. Gaza has become the bloodiest war for whistleblowers. Just two months after the first tragedy, camera operator Samer Abu Daqqa was killed in the same attack in which his hand was broken.

On January 7, Dahdouh's eldest son, Hamza Dahdouh, also a journalist, 27 years old, was killed when an Israeli drone attacked the car in which he was traveling with another reporter, Mustafa Thuraya, who was also killed. A third passenger in the car, named Hazem Rajab, was injured. A day before the disaster occurred, Hamza Dahdouh had written X in a eulogy for the father: “Do not despair, you are patient.” This new blow overthrew Dahdouh. It was the son who inherited the call, and his great pride. He says: “I did not want to talk about my sadness, and I tried to convey the news in a professional manner.”

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The mutilated hand full of bandages was still moving to caress his dead son. Thus he bid farewell to one of his daughters, without giving up his journalistic jacket. And again, after the funeral, he stood at the microphone; This time he had to hold it with his left hand. In early January, his condition did not improve and Al Jazeera transferred him to Doha to receive treatment. “I underwent a very complex surgery that took nine hours. The nerve was cut and the surgeons also removed the leg for the grafts. I will not regain full mobility. I have already been told I have had it for a year, but I want to get back to work on the ground immediately. ” While he was accepted, his mother died.

In Valencia, they presented him with a huge cake, in the middle of which was a picture of him wearing his helmet and a blue bulletproof vest with letters in English on it.He presses” (Journalism). Everything surrounded by meringue and cream. It was small details to sweeten his life. But the journalist refused to eat. He justified himself by saying: “My boss does not eat.” A lot of pain had accumulated.

Seven years in prison

Dahdouh is a committed Muslim. Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the month of Ramadan, coincided with the second day of his visit to Valencia. He went to the mosque. Faith helps him be strong. His story, like that of most Palestinians, is a process of suffering. Born in Gaza, he spent seven years in Israeli prisons for his participation in the Intifada (1987-1993), the Palestinian popular rebellion. For a while, he hoped to study medicine, but Israel did not grant him permission to travel and study abroad, so he turned to the profession of journalism.

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After praying in the mosque, Al-Dahdouh headed to the beach in Valencia. And the other shore of the same sea that he sees from Gaza. He also visited Albufeira. The curious journalist Dahdouh was born again: he interrogated the boatman navigating the waters with a coat hanger.

The Journalists' Syndicate Awards Ceremony was held last Wednesday at the La Benevicencia Cultural Center. The event had to be moved to a larger space than originally planned. But despite this, there were people who remained in the street. Al-Dahdouh was received with great enthusiasm. Some of those present cried when they saw him. His story makes Palestinian suffering visible. He received the award and, as he did in Cordoba, dedicated it to his colleagues who remained in Gaza. In the last hours in Valencia, representatives of social organizations also received the Valencian NGO Coordinator Award. With a broken heart and a shattered right hand, Dahdouh will return to action when the hand gives him the chance. He has a long year of recovery.

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