Oumayya Jahd sheds tears of blood

Palestinian journalist and cartoonist Oumayya Jahd uses her art to "express her pain and sorrows," having lived through the death of two husbands in Gaza, as a result of the Israeli occupation and siege imposed on the Palestinian territory.
oumayya protrait.jpg
Palestinian journalist and cartoonist Oumayya Jahd

GAZA, May 12, 2009 (MENASSAT) - There are moments when journalist and cartoonist Oumayya Jaha is only been able to speak of Gaza's bloody history through her art, having experienced two personal tragedies in the besieged Palestinian territory - the loss of her first husband - and then her second - as a result of the Israeli military occupation.

Oumayya works for a Palestinian newspaper, is a chairwoman of Jahatoon company, and was involved in the first cartoon movie about the Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe).

Her art is a reflection of the personal pains she has faced while living in Gaza.

Jaha's first husband Rami Saad, a poet and resistance fighter, was killed on May 1, 2003 at 27-years-old, in a battle between Palestinian militants and Israeli soldiers, when the Israeli army was trying to invade al-Shoujaiya district in eastern Gaza.

The Qassam Brigades said that Saad died after an Israeli incursion in Shoujaiya. He and his comrades opened fire at the soldiers who were coming down from Palestinian buildings and homes, when an Israeli tank fired a series of heavy-caliber rounds.

Saad was shot in his side, penetrating his liver and pancreas, and causing his immediate death.

Jaha and Saad had a daughter, Nour, who was nine months old when her father was killed in 2003.

Paintings express pain and sorrow

When Saad was killed, Oumayya was only able to express her pain through her paintings. She dedicated a sketch to his memory, one of herself shedding blood instead of tears, over her killed husband.

“My eyes didn’t shed tears for my husband, they shed blood. He was the only person I was seeing when I was informed of his death, so I drew him inside my eye,” Jaha told MENASSAT.

“This drawing is a translation of words I couldn’t write. I wanted to write an article during his funeral, but I couldn’t express the pain and sorrow. My brush was the only thing capable of expressing what I was feeling.”

She added, “All the background and colors I used expressed my state of mind and situation. I was living a 'black' period. This is why I used the black eye shadows.”

“I only used light colors to draw my husband which was swimming in tears of blood that gave the picture of a heart.”

Jaha described the painting as a gesture of loyalty to her husband who helped her with many of her cartoons. She said that Saad wasn’t only a military leader and famous speaker, but also a poet and an intellect.

The second tragedy

Six years later Jaha lost her second husband, Wael Ouqaylan.

Ouqaylan wasn't killed under the fire of the Israeli army, but was a victim of the occupation nonetheless.  On the night of May 3, 2009,  Wael Ouqaylan, a fighter in the Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, died at the age of 32. Ouqaylan had an incurable disease and was unable to travel outside of the Strip to get the proper treatment, due to the siege Israel imposed years ago, and intensified in June 2007.

A few days before her husband’s death, the cartoonist wrote an article entitled, “When men cry” in which she spoke about her husband’s suffering.

“He held my hand strongly and he shed one tear. During my fourth years of marriage, I only saw him cry twice - when his little brother, Mohammad, died about a year and half ago, and again when he was telling me the names of his comrades killed in Gaza. He said 'I miss my weapons Oumayya, I miss being on the frontline as always.'"