A bride in the dress of
Seventeen year old Martyr, Aayaat al-Akhras
Ululation's were mixed with tears, for today is her
wedding day, even though she has not worn her white dress to be
wed to her husband-to-be who has been awaiting this day for over
a year and a half! Instead she wore a soldier's uniform and the
Palestinian scarf and beautified herself with her noble red blood
to transform her wedding into a Palestinian wedding that brings
happiness to the hearts of the mothers of the martyrs and the wounded.
In July, Aayaat was to hold her wedding like any other girl in
the world, yet she insisted on being a bride in the suit of blood
in which only the likes of her are wed, in order to bring pride
to her Palestinian people by succeeding to kill and injure tens
of Zionist occupiers in a successful heroic operation undertaken
by a girl in the heart of the Zionist entity.
A wedding, not a funeral
In a modest house in the Deheisheh refugee camp, the mourning for
martyr Aayaat al-Akhras took place. I was used to hearing wailing
and crying when a bride is prevented from completing her marriage,
but I was surprised to hear pleasant ululation's and singing near
the house, and to see the martyr's patient mother receiving women
coming to congratulate her. With great difficulty, I managed to
speak to her, and she described to me the last morning Aayaat left
home. She said:
"Aayaat woke up unusually early, or rather she did not sleep
at all that night. She prayed the morning prayer, then sat down
to read from the Qur'an. She wore her school uniform, and told me
she was going to school to revise the lessons she had missed. I
was surprised as the day was Friday, a public holiday for all the
country's schools! But she told me it was the most important day
of her life, so I prayed that Allah help her and grant her His pleasure.
The mother continued: As soon as I finished that sentence I noticed
a sparkle in her eyes as if I had given her hope, and given her
success through those words. She looked at me with her radiant smile,
and said: That is all I ask of you, Mother. And she went out quickly
with her sister Samaah to school.
Knowledge till the last breath..
Martyr Aayaat al-Akhras was born on 20 February 1985, a student
in the 3rd year of secondary school [sixth form], the fourth of
her 7 sisters and 3 brothers. She was known for her excellence in
her studies, as she achieved excellent results in the first term
of this year. Despite knowing the time for her operation, she continued
her revision, and spent long hours of the last night revising, and
went to school to attend the last lesson to emphasise to her colleagues
the importance of knowledge which she had always stressed.
Regarding that, her friend Hayfaa said that she had advised her
and her friends to remember the importance of their studies, and
to be determined to pursue their studies whatever the circumstances
and the dangers.
Hayfaa', who still refuses to believe the news of Aayaat's martyrdom
added: For a week, Aayaat had been keeping the pictures of all martyrs
in her school desk, on which she had written many slogans about
the excellence of martyrdom and martyrs. But I never imagined that
she intended to join them, for she had been collecting the pictures
of martyrs since the beginning of the Intifada, which made her more
determined to achieve the highest grades at school.
The martyr's mother continued, after a tear could not but flow
down her cheek: Then her sister Samaah came back at 10 without her,
and I felt worried and my heart beat began racing, for security
conditions were very severe, and the camp could be attacked at any
moment. And I felt the painful nightmare of worries and the interminable
torrent of questions: where had she gone? Was it conceivable that
she may have realized her dream in martyrdom? But how? And her fiancé?
And the wedding clothes she has prepared?
time I was about to leave, she asked me to stay, as if
she was saying good bye, or rather, wanted me to keep
her memory of the last meeting and her loving eyes so
that it would be the last thing I remembered of her."
Shadi's attempts to show patience and strength, he confessed
his dear wish: 'I wished to accompany her in her heroic
operation, and to become martyrs together. May she be
blessed, and I pray that Allah enables me to join her
And while the mother was struggling between the voice of reason
in denial and her heart indicating she had undertaken a martyrdom
operation, news came that a martyrdom operation had taken place
in Nataynya, and that the bomber was a girl. The mother added, tears
choking her voice, "Then I became certain that Aayaat would
not return, and that she had become the bride of Palestine. She
was determined to get revenge for 'Issa Farah and Saa'id 'Id Who
were martyred when helicopters shelled their house next to ours."
making of Death..
Martyr al-Akhras was keen on collecting all the names and pictures
of martyrs, particularly martyrdom bombers, and dreamt of becoming,
like them. But her gender was the main obstacle, and she spent her
days dreaming of martyrdom, until martyr Wafaa` Idris succeeded
in undertaking the first martyrdom operation by a Palestinian girl,
and Aayaat's desire to follow in their footsteps strengthened. She
broke all security barriers, and was able to get to the leaders
of military work, to become a member of al-Aqsa Martyr Brigades
despite her previous refusal to follow any political group or participate
in student activities.
Aayaat's mother affirmed that Aayaat was struggling hard to cover
her real wish for martyrdom which she never stopped talking about.
She used to say: "What is the point in living when death is
surrounding us? We will go to it before it comes to us, and get
our revenge before we die."
As for her sister Samaah a year 10 student and her close friend
and confidante, she lost consciousness when she heard the news of
her sister's martyrdom, despite knowing her intention to undertake
her heroic operation. She described to us the last farewell, in
her tear-choked voice. I saw light in her face and a happiness I
had never seen, as she gave me some chocolate sweets and told me
in a loving voice: "Pray and ask Allah to grant me success."
And before I asked her: 'What for?" She said: "Today you
will hear the best news, today is the best day of my life, the day
I have been awaiting for so long. Do you want me to convey your
greetings to anyone?" I answered mockingly: "Give my salaam
to martyr Mahmoud and martyr Saa'id" because I was certain
that she would not dare to undertake an operation, and that no-one
would help her, and that she refused to belong to the student organization...
She continued: "Blessed he her martyrdom, for she deserves
it for her bravery, and I pledge to her that I will take the path
of martyrdom, for we are all martyrs in the making."
As for Shaadi Abu Laan, Aayaat's husband-to-be, only a few hours
before her martyrdom, they had been dreaming of their marriage,
their house which they had not finished decorating and which was
to become their home in July after her Baccalaureate exams. They
had been engaged and awaiting their marriage for a year and a half,
and they had been dreaming of their first baby whom they agreed
to name 'Adiyy after long discussions, and how they would raise
him to become a hero who would liberate Al-Aqsa from occupation.
However, suddenly and unexpectedly, Shaadi fell from his dreamland
to the nightmare of occupation, to realise his bride had become
the bride of Palestine, after blowing herself up in the heart of
the Zionist entity.
As soon as I asked Shaadi about his fiancee Aayaat whom he fell
in love with through friendship with her brothers, and asked for
her hand in marriage early September 2000- a tear fell down his
cheek and he said in a tear-choked voice: "We were planning
to have our wedding when she finishes her exams this year, but it
seems Allah ta'aala planned something else. Perhaps we will meet
in Paradise, as she wrote to me in her last letter."
Shaadi was silent for a moment, to contemplate Aayaat whose image
was still present before his mind, then continued: "She was
dearer to me than my own soul. I knew her as a girl with a strong
character, strong determination, intelligent, she loved her country,
loved life, and dreamt of security for her children, that is why
Zionist occupation was a permanent disquiet." He added: "Every
time she dreamt of the future, martyrdom interrupted her dreams,
she would take me from our marriage dreams to dreams of martyrdom
operations, and the images of the enemy's losses, and our blood
with which we would be taken to paradise, and we would both promise
to become martyrs together."
Shaadi added - as a smile illuminated his face that was full of
pain: "During my last visit, she insisted on my staying longer.
Every time I was about to leave, she asked me to stay, as if she
was saying good bye, or rather, wanted me to keep her memory of
the last meeting and her loving eyes so that it would be the last
thing I remembered of her." Despite Shadi's attempts to show
patience and strength, he confessed his dear wish: 'I wished to
accompany her in her heroic operation, and to become martyrs together.
May she be blessed, and I pray that Allah enables me to join her
Palestine's bride Aayaat al-Akhras will remain an example for every
Palestinian woman and man looking for security among the rubble
of the massacres of murderer Sharon, and giving his blood and future
as a price for this security.
Article translated from Arabic,
english version appeared in
Student Re-Present - Palestine Edition.