Peace does not come in the form of a loaded gun: Thoughts on Abir Aramin, age 10

Abir Aramin was shot and killed at the age of 10. Photo credit: Alex Kolomoisky

Whoever tells you that peace comes in the form of a loaded gun is lying to you. Abir Aramin is proof.

Ten-year-old Abir was holding her sister’s hand as she walked to school early one January afternoon when a stray bullet penetrated the back of her skull. She suffered immediate brain damage and died in a nearby hospital soon after. Witnesses, including her sister and fellow schoolmates, informed reporters that Israeli border guards followed the girls and eventually aimed a bullet at Abir’s small frame. This happened in 2007.

Classmates mourn over the death of Abir Aramin. Photo credit: Rina Castelnuovo

Today, three and a half years later, Israeli courts recognize the state’s responsibility in the murder of Abir Aramin. I fully agree with the court on this point.

Also, the Aramin family will be compensated for their loss. This is where I no longer agree.

The murder of a schoolchild cannot be settled by transferring 10,000 or more shekels to an impoverished Palestinian family in the West Bank. Money may solve some problems but it certainly doesn’t solve this one. No amount of money can ever bring warmth back to Abir’s buried body. In the words of Gilad Shalit’s mother, “You can’t put a price tag on a child’s life”.

I hope to one day become a father. I imagine my first child to be a beautiful little girl – just like Abir. But I pray that unlike Abir, she will never have to serve as proof of how different peace is from a loaded gun.

Sami Kishawi


There is one comment

  1. emilylhauser

    Sami, thank you so much for posting this. I feel a particular closeness to the story, and so much pain over the loss of Abir. As a mother, I can only begin to imagine what the family may be going through right now, and am certain that while this ruling may bring relief, it can bring no happiness. For Abir is still dead.

    I hope people will also read an essay that Abir’s father ran in The Forward soon after she was killed. It can be read either at The Forward or in full in a post at my own place:

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