Football Dreamer Ascends Heaven on Wings of Ball


In the camp alleys, between the grocery and the market, from his home along to the school way back, a refugee child named “Milad Al-Ra’i” usually runs behind his ball from one place to another, as if chasing his dreams one by one, with every kick on the ball once harder and once slighter, playing with it left and right as Israeli official do with the Palestinian Authority since ages.

With every kick on the ball’s head, a flash of memory ignites through his own head, opening his eyes wide on a dream behind the farthest horizons, prompting him to tell his ball every morning that “One day, I will become a global football Champion”.

On a night coincided September 10th, 2023, the stars which were adorned the sky disappeared behind the fog as soon as Israeli soldiers stepped into the entrance of Hebron. The rushing movement of the well-armed soldiers storming into the camp foreshadowed their intention to carry out bloody atrocities via which they satisfy their appetite for murder.

The Israeli army often shoots at Palestinians with the intention to kill even though there is sometimes no need for killing. It is in line with their duty to kill the dreams of youths and youngsters and to bury the jubilation of mothers before it even exists.

As much as military reinforcement pushed into the camp, the smell of heavy breaths was lingering all over the place.

A Treacherous Bullet

Suddenly, a bereaved mother’s scream darted into the space as a spark of thunder towards the trees, proclaiming a new state of grief and agony that still aching in every heart of Mild’s loved ones.

Milad who grew up on the stories and spoken tales of his ancestors displaced by Israeli gangs in 1948, Milad who grew up on dreams of return, on wishes of a peaceful life accompanied by his ball which stands as a faithful friend, has become a memory resonating in the empty streets of his camp. This camp which staged a general strike in grief of Milad’s brutal murder has also witnessed several defeats of the Israeli army under the influence of steadfastness and resilience of its people.

A treacherous bullet came out from an Israeli sniper that night and led its way directly to Milad’s abdomen, bringing to him a new life, which is the meaning of his name, but in heaven and ended another on earth. The camp’s football star has become a shiny star in the sky of the camp.

This tragedy was dreadfully anticipated by the star himself because, in his last days, he was affected by those Palestinians who were assassinated or killed by the Israeli army. On his Facebook account, he wrote a post imagining himself a martyr, saying “A martyr after a martyr.. perhaps our turn is coming.”

Football Dreamer Ascends Heaven on Wings of Ball
Football Dreamer Ascends Heaven on Wings of Ball

The Football Dreamer

Every day under the weather regardless of its coolness or heat, the football dreamer Milad hugs his ball, puts on his shirt of Real-Madrid, his favourite football team; and goes out to the alleys of Al-Aroub camp north of Hebron, professionally playing his game and patiently waiting for a special day to come as he wished: to visit the Real Madrid Stadium either as a champion or a viewer.

Alas, none of his dreams was admired by the Israeli apartheid regime. This is the nature of apartheid regimes to kill elusive dreams before they even get closer.

The talented 15-year-old Milda was dreaming of becoming a rapper as well. Just some days before his murder, he appeared in a video signing a rap song briefing his life in the camp and his wish to take a road to glory.

“I live in the camp enduring a lot of suffering. I dream to flying. I dream to sing and to compete,” the lyrics of his rap song read.

Milad will never see any of his dreams coming true because ..

Rest in Peace Milad, the football dreamer.

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