Occupied Minds
Mental health

Occupied Minds: "My son is broken inside"

Raed is a 43 year-old father of six children living in the Beit Ummar neighbourhood of Hebron. He was shot in the hip by Israeli soldiers during clashes following the funeral of a Palestinian boy who was killed by Israeli forces. Raed is now unable to provide for his family and shows signs of depression.  


Occupied Minds

The Israeli Occupation has a daily impact on our patients, some of whom suffer from physical wounds as well as psychological ones.
Moises Saman/Magnum Photos

It was my cousin’s funeral and I was one of pallbearers. The funeral itself was at a mosque. After prayers, I was one of the people who carried the casket down the street.

The young people were so angry, they started throwing rocks at a military checkpoint. Then the military started shooting, with bullets flying in all directions. I didn’t feel the first hit, but I definitely felt the second. I fell down and my cousin’s casket fell on top of me.

There was no ambulance, so some friends put me in a car. At the hospital they treated me as an urgent case. One of the bullets hit my pelvic area. Eventually, surgeons operated, inserted screws into my body and fixed my bones. After the operation, I started to feel better, but I struggled. I spent 70 days using a walker.

Then, one night and out of nowhere, Israeli soldiers were pounding on my door. They said that if I refused to open the door, they would blow it up. I told them: ‘Do whatever you want, but my house is full of young children, so I advise you to calm down.’

When they came into my house, my children were screaming. They destroyed the closets, destroyed the house, destroyed everything. My son and I suffered the most during the raid. If he could have hidden inside my clothes, he would have done it.

At first, I felt that he was weak, but when I spoke to the MSF psychiatrist, he said my son was broken inside. Raed, Beit Ummar, Palestine

In the past, I used to send him to his uncle’s house or to the shop. Now he refuses to go. He stopped playing outside. I felt like I had lost him, like he wasn’t my son anymore. At first, I felt that he was weak, but when I spoke to the MSF psychiatrist, he said my son was broken inside. My son needed extended treatment.

Because of my injury I am no longer able to work. I used to have a good salary. Now we are struggling. I used to take my family on two trips every year, to Jordan or Turkey. We can no longer afford these luxuries.

Outside my house, I have a plot of land. I grow food there for my family and to sell. About three weeks before my injury, the land was planted with beans. After the injury, my friends and neighbours were so concerned about my health, nobody tended to the land and my health wasn’t good enough to do so. The land was gorgeous and green under my care and now there’s nothing.

This is my story, but my story is no different to that of others.

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Voices from the Field 10 October 2018