By Palestine Chronicle Staff
A Palestinian child, Mohammed Ayash invented his own anti-teargas mask as he protested, alongside his family at the Gaza border, demanding an end to the siege and Right of Return for Palestinian refugees.
The following is the exchange between Mohammed and Al Jazeera TV presenter, translated below from Arabic by Palestine Chronicle staff, Yousef Aljamal.
Aljazeera Journalist: Like fire in straw, the footage of Palestinian child Mohammed Ayash spread, becoming a new icon for the Palestinian struggle against the (Israeli) occupation. He made his own mask to protect himself and reduce the impact of gas canisters fired by the Israeli occupation forces against Palestinian protesters taking part in the Great March of Return. Ayash appears in the footage sitting near the border fence wearing his hand-made mask and placing a piece of onion inside it, to reduce the impact of tear-gas.
From Gaza, Palestinian child Mohamemd Ayash, who I just told his story, joins us. Welcome Mohammed. How did this idea of making a mask and putting an onion inside it come to your mind?
Mohammed Ayash: Frankly, my father got injured during the First Palestinian Intifada, and he told me about it. I tried to make it myself, and I made it. I didn’t expect that my footage will spread like this.
Aljazeera Journalist: Your footage has spread, and you become very famous among people as a brave child, defending your rights. Did your family back home know you were going to this risky place?
Mohammed Ayash: Yes, yes.
Aljazeera Journalist: What did they tell you?
Mohammed Ayash: They were happy when they saw my picture.
Aljazeera Journalist: Laughs. Did you know that in the place where you went, Israeli occupation soldiers would fire bullets at you. Were not you scared?
Mohammed Ayash: No. I don’t feel scared of them. They feel scared of us.
Aljazeera Journalist: Laughs. How come they feel scared of you? You don’t have a weapon, they do.
Mohammed Ayash: They are cowards. When you approach them, they get scared.
Aljazeera Journalist: They get scared of a little child like you? How?
Mohammed Ayash: They are cowards. They don’t have any land in our country. They came from another land. They want to take Jerusalem. As for mad Trump, who authorized him to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel? It is the eternal capital of Palestine.
Aljazeera Journalist: What was your goal behind going to the march?
Mohammed Ayash: My goal was to reclaim my land, the land of my ancestors and the memories of my family.
Aljazeera Journalist: Can you do this with all these Israeli weapons and snipers?
Mohammed Ayash: I can. Even if I get killed, there are other people to continue the struggle.
Aljazeera Journalist: Thank you Mohammed Ayash.