Mohanned Younis and the Fishes

By Tamara Nassar

In the days leading up to Mohanned’s suicide, a friend posted a live video of thousands of fishes shoring up on the Gaza beach as merchants and fishermen gathered up to take their share. Blood was everywhere. He said that the whole world can forget about Gaza because there is a God above who does not.


Mohanned was a Gazan short story writer, and recently graduated from pharmaceutical school when he took his life about a month ago. In one of his stories he wrote:

“I feel a loss of all emotional connection with even the closest people around me. Perhaps I’m even ashamed of my feelings, as if they’re nothing but some sort of defect or damned illness that must be hidden from people’s eyes. Is this normal? Please don’t tell me with your quiet, infuriating voice that everything is gonna be all right. Because it’s not.”

Someone once told me that dying is a politically powerful act. That it is drastically more powerful than killing. That it is sometimes more powerful than going on living. This is perhaps what it means to practice the right to die when there is nothing left to be lived through.

Blood from thousands of fishes shored up on the Gaza beach… it is oddly reminiscent of the four children playing soccer on the Gaza beach when they were murdered by an Israeli missile during operation protective edge in 2014. It felt like a reincarnated tribute, one that is difficult to understand.

When a person dies in our society, we eat a huge meal and drink coffee on the soul of the dead. But when four children playing soccer on the Gaza beach are murdered by an Israeli missile, and fifteen hundred others all in the same summer, is there anyone left to eat and drink on anyone’s soul?

Mohanned’s suicide is a murder—a slow murder, aged within an open air prison and the slowest genocide in the world. A concentration camp of dead and yet to be.

Allow me, then, to correct myself: thousands of fishes shoring up on the Gaza beach might have been a tribute, a meal on the soul of the dead for those who never have time to mourn.

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