Gaza man getting surgery in Vancouver 12 years after drone strike
Posted November 17, 2023 8:12 pm.
It’s been 12 years since Mohammed Al Zaza was injured at home in Gaza by an Israeli drone strike, now he’s on the road to recovery at the GF Strong Rehab Centre in Vancouver thanks to a partnership between the Muslim and Jewish communities that got him to Canada.
Al Zaza has been watching the news from his hospital bed and wondering if his family is still alive as the war rages on in the Middle East.
“I try all the time, to do anything. To ask, for example, to call anyone, I call. I see any number in Gaza, I call them. Just I need to ask them ‘Where is my family?’ When I see any video, any picture of the people die, I look [at] the picture, I zoom the picture, I zoom [in on] the video, I say ‘Who is this? Who is this?'” he said.
“When I wake up, I forget everything for a long time … but the bombs killed my cousin.”
The 27-year-old is now one month post knee replacement surgery. It’s one of dozens of procedures he’s had to undergo all over the world, like in Israel, Egypt, and Turkey.
The drone attack left him unrecognizable — with broken bones and third-degree burns, with areas of his body parts never expected to be the same. He says he’s grateful for the people that got him to medical treatment in Canada.
Neil Naiman — who first heard of Alzaza through an Israeli activist — was a driving force behind expediting his move, which was ultimately sponsored by the Muslim Association of Canada.
“He is like one little story of the thousands of stories that are going on every day now in Gaza. What is happening in Gaza is not new, as Mohammad can demonstrate this happened 12 years ago,” he said.
“We want to represent humanity and justice for Palestinians everywhere, so one small little thing that we could do was to try and help Mohammed.”
Al Zaza is set to be discharged from rehab next week when he’ll begin a new chapter in his own apartment in Kitsilano while he waits for more surgeries and practices his English.
“I’m very lucky,” he said. “I need to practice my English very good just to understand everything … I need the language just to connect with the people to connect with the doctors.”
And in a world currently riddled with division, Naiman hopes this story will shine a light on unity and the hope for a ceasefire.
“It’s a small thing, he’s only one person, but we hope that this is an example of how people can come together and work together towards peace and humanity,” he said.