A Personal Grief Amidst the Ongoing Crisis
Written And Drafted By Shafeek Ahmad, Published On 14-November-2023.
Rochester Hills, Mich. – Dr. Emad Shehada, a pulmonologist based in suburban Detroit, is grappling with an unimaginable personal tragedy as 20 of his relatives have lost their lives in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Heartbreak and Loss
With each incoming call, Dr. Shehada fears more devastating news from Gaza, where his extended family resides. The toll stands at 20, including his cousin Mohammad Khrais, three of Khrais’ children, and 19-year-old Mayar, who was pregnant at the time of her tragic death. The casualties occurred in the aftermath of Hamas’ incursion into southern Israel on Oct. 7, triggering the conflict.
Human Cost of the Conflict
The Health Ministry in Gaza reports that over 11,000 Palestinians have perished since the war’s onset, with a significant majority being women and minors. The distinction between civilian and militant deaths remains blurred. Additionally, around 2,700 people are reported missing. Israel has also suffered, with over 1,200 deaths, primarily stemming from the initial Hamas attack, and approximately 240 hostages taken into Gaza.
Personal Connection to the Crisis
Dr. Shehada, 47, originally from Kuwait and a Wayne State University graduate, moved to the United States two decades ago. His parents, born in a Gaza village, now reside in the U.S. While he has one sister in the country, another remains in Gaza, communicating with him through text messages to spare him the anguish of hearing her voice amidst the chaos.
Proximity of Tragedy
“The house next to my sister was struck by a missile where I had 12 relatives living there,” Dr. Shehada shared. “That house was only 10 meters (32 feet) from my sister’s house.” The devastation hits close to home, emphasizing the brutal reality faced by many in conflict zones.
An Unending Nightmare
In an interview with WXYZ-TV, Dr. Shehada expressed the profound impact of the conflict on a personal level, stating, “When you hear about these conflicts, your heart is broken for all these people that they die. But when it hits somebody you know, it’s totally different. It’s been horrible. A hell of a month. I mean, it’s a nightmare that does not want to end.”
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