‘We Create Hope From Pain’ – Amputee Journalist From Gaza

Hazem Sulieman is a determined journalist in Gaza. He is a man with a mission despite the genocide and deadly destruction taking place on a daily basis.

‘We create hope from pain,’ he starts by saying as to emphasize what Gazans are going through at the moment.

Sulieman has been covering the destruction of Gaza in his own way and according to his abilities, moving around the debris and wreckage meted out by the Israelis warplanes and missiles for the past five months or so.

Sulieman is an amputee. His lower leg had to be amputated after 31 surgical operations he underwent between Gaza and Egypt in the three years after 2018 when he covered the right of return protests held on the border periphery of the Strip. Then the people of Gaza, mostly refugees, held weekly demonstrations demanding their return to what become Israeli in 1948 and resulted in their expulsions.

In one video the man with a clearly marked ‘press vest’ is seen on top of a pile of rubble taking pictures from his cell phone. “How did you get up here,” someone asks in a surprised tone?

Vibrant man with a smile

“As you can see on my crutches, he replies in a vibrant, not intimidated voice. From him, it’s relatively steep but he gets up there after some effort surrounded by debris, chunks of mortar, bricks, sooted cement and iron rods sticking out in the air.

From where he is standing Sulieman, 33, can see a gorged square of utter destruction of wreckage in between houses waiting to fall down, the handiwork of Israelis who are swearing to leave no stone unturned.

“I need to send the message and document to the world what is happening to our people by this evil enemy” he points out. 

Ever since his left leg was amputated from just above the knee, he continued to practice his profession full-time, covering stories from the city of Rafah in the southern tip of Gaza and posting on the social media.

Today, he has become a household name on the trendy websites. But he is practicing a profession that is increasing deadly and dangerous. More than 120 journalists have been killed in Gaza since 7 October. More than 75 percent of the killed journalists in the world in 2023 were in Gaza.

(12) TooFan on X: “@AJA_Palestine هذا الرجل الصحفي هو أحد رموز صمود الغزاويين الذين مازالو يسطرون أروع الملاحم البطولية في الاباء والفداء. ساقه الواحدة هذه تساوي تعدل تيجان واوسمة ونياشين ملوك وزعماء العالم كله. تحية له ولكل أهل غزة الصامدون رغم كل المآسي والدمار والجراح. https://t.co/M89hBHmyp0” / X (twitter.com)

The stories here are bountiful after 1.3 million displaced people have come to assemble in the city from all over the Gaza Strip. They are leaving in tents, UNRWA schools and on the streets.

Presently, Rafah stands on a powder keg with Israel threatening to turn its big guns on the city while many fearing, including the international community, an impending bloodbath waiting to happen, a repeat of the daily massacres over the past months.

On a bicycle

Now Sulieman moves around Rafah with his bicycle going to different areas and documenting the worsening situation of the Palestinians through his mobile.

When he is not with his crutches, he is talking to people, both those who live in Rafah, the city on the border with Egypt, and the displaced men, women, children and old forced to came down here.

The demography of Rafah has been altered overnight and who better to document and image that change than this young man who despite his hardships, is always on the move with his camera.

Hazem Sulieman is passionate about what he is doing. Ever since he was a boy, he wanted to hold a camera and document what is happening and today what better way to do it than using his smartphone. 

“Now, I focus on the war and the Israeli slaughter but before, I used to document the beautiful things in Gaza that have all been destroyed,” he concludes.

The writer is a journalist based in Amman, Jordan.


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