Eva Bartlett writing from the occupied Gaza Strip, Live from Palestine, 6 January 2009
(Eva Bartlett is a Canadian human rights advocate and freelancer who spent eight months in 2007 living in West Bank communities and four months in Cairo and at the Rafah crossing. She is currently based in the Gaza Strip after having arrived with the 3rd Free Gaza Movement boat in November. She has been working with the International Solidarity Movement in Gaza, accompanying ambulances while witnessing and documenting the ongoing Israeli air strikes and ground invasion of the Gaza Strip)
"A good, kind, brave and very funny man was killed on 4 January as he loaded the body of a young civilian killed by the Israeli occupation forces into an ambulance. Emergency medical workers, Arafa Hani Abed al-Dayem (35), and Alaa Ossama Sarhan (21), answered the call to retrieve two friends: Thaer Abed Hammad (19), who was wounded, and his friend Ali (19), who was killed while fleeing shelling by Israeli tanks.....
I had the privilege of working one night with Arafa, when I witnessed his professionalism and his humanity. Osama, a fellow medic, explained that "He wanted to die like that, helping our people." But it wasn't a martyr complex, engineered by living with death, occupation, invasions, humiliation and injustice for so long, but rather a dedication to his work and to his people.
His killing has since been followed by those of three more emergency medics."