An open letter to the President & U.S. Congress


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Naifa Rizq al-Sawada was a 92 year old disabled grandmother with Alzheimer's that left her without the ability to walk or speak. She requires total care. On 3/21, her family was forced to leave her behind when Israeli forces stormed the area after midnight and forced people to leave at gunpoint near the Al-Shifa Hospital. Her daughter, Maha al-Nawati, provided her the 24/7 care she required - she had to be rotated on her sides so that she did not develop bed sores. Naifa's remains were found on her bed in her home where she had been burned alive. In prior times the family had been forced to leave their home by Israeli forces, they were allowed to take her with them. This time, however, they had to make an impossible decision to leave her, hoping beyond hope they would be able to return to her soon. Maha said that her brother's wife pleaded with an Israeli officer "This is my mother, I will take her with me," to which he replied "No, leave now and we will take care of her." Even with the prior, recent events of Israeli forces reneging on promises like this, who would think they would stoop to such lows? Since the end of that brutal siege where people were tortured, murdered and abducted by Israeli forces, ad-hoc mass graves have been uncovered. At least 400 people were murdered and buried at Al-Shifa hospital. Remains are still being uncovered for identification and a proper, respectful burial. Some that have been recovered were clearly patients - with catheters placed, and other medical equipment attached. The aerial images comparing the area prior to and after Israel's total annihilation are unspeakable. It's easy to verify the photos. They were released by Maxar Technologies, a space technology company in Westminster, Colorado. The only reason I bring it up is because I have seen how quick this administration is to dismiss all credible evidence of Israel's genocide as "Iranian propaganda" - or China, or Russia, or whatever country you decide to scapegoat for the day. Naifa was murdered in one of the most horrific ways I can imagine. I can't stop thinking - did she die quickly or slowly? Many die quickly from suffocation because the fire fully damages their lungs. Some, however, live a few days in utter agony, slowly dying from suffocation. The very few who survive, like Brent Runyon who attempted suicide by fire in 1991, have described the excruciating pain of recovery. It takes decades and survivors are left with permanent disability, disfigurement, and health complications. Naifa never had a chance to possibly survive - the hospital next door was being destroyed, also burned, with medical staff executed or abducted, and the entirety of Gaza's medical system having collapsed without supplies needed to care patients. Naifa and her family deserve justice. I demand that you hold Israel accountable to a permanent, immediate ceasefire, their violations of the Genocide Convention, and gross human rights violations by any means necessary.

▶ Created on April 18 by Sarah

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