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April 29, 2024 22 mins

James and Shereen talk to Ahmed and Abdullah from Gaza Parkour about how it feels to be outside of Gaza watching the horrors unfold and how listeners can stand in solidarity with the people of Gaza.

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Speaker 1 (00:01):
Col Zon Media.

Speaker 2 (00:05):
Today, Srian and I are talking to our friends at
PK Gaza our Meednabdullah. You might remember them from an
episode we did last October, and I've interviewed them before
for Men's Health magazine in the UK. PK Gaza is
a group that teaches parkour and free running to young
people in the Gaza strip. They've been doing this for
a long time and they have some great videos you

can find all over social media and YouTube. Both our
Med n Abdullah had the opportunity to leave Gaza. Our
Meed now lives in Sweden. Abdullah lives in Italy. We
spoke a couple of weeks ago, but very little has
changed since then. And I just wanted to note that
Abdullah's audio is a little bit rough, but we thought
what he had to say was really important, so we
hope that you'll take the time to listen to it.

Speaker 3 (00:47):
My name is Ahmat Matar. I am at twenty eight
years old at the moment and Balestinian from Gaza. Currently.
I live in Sweden since eight years ago, and yeah
I live in Sweden. I work with parkour and I
lived from parkour and that's what I do here and
the last summer was my first time visiting Gaza since

eight years. And yeah, but I'm back in Sweden. I
was back in Sweden one month before the war started again.
And yeah, a lot of a lot of things to say,
a lot of things to express, and but yeah, that's

me Ahmed Matar, twenty years old from Gaza.

Speaker 4 (01:39):
Hello, guys, nice to meet you all. I'm Augatop and
I'm twenty seven years old. I'm also Palestinian. I'm proud
of that. In the city originally, and they live in
Italy right now. For almost three years, we.

Speaker 5 (01:54):
Wanted to talk to them about how it feels to
be outside of Gaza and wake up every day wondering
if a bomb has killed your family or if your
family is getting enough to eat.

Speaker 2 (02:05):
How have you been coping with like dealing with It's
bad enough for those of us who don't have family,
watching the horrible things that happen every day, and like
every morning you look on your phone and it's something worse.
How has it been for you, guys? Just to give
people an insight into how you're coping.

Speaker 3 (02:21):
From my side, I can say, yeah, life is a
stop since the day that the war started, six months
since this war and every day just watching the news.
I go to work and then I come back while
while I'm at work, I'm just watching the news. I'm

listening to the news, and that was my life since
six months at the moment, and I don't feel to
do anything else. I cannot feel like to train, I
cannot feel like to enjoy or to for what's going
on there, because it's my family there, my friends, my people.

If I feel like I want to forget about it,
it feel like I'm I'm like betraying my poble my family.
So I prefer to just watch the news, feel the
same as them, and just do my best to help

them with what I can. But it's actually like I
just feel helpless at the moment that I cannot do
anything to them in a situation like this.

Speaker 5 (03:39):
At the moment, oh Dula said that when he chose
to leave Gaza, it was one of the most difficult
moments of his entire life. He knew that if he stayed,
there wasn't much hope for his future, and he'd have
to give up on so many of his dreams that
would be achievable if he hadn't been born in an
open air prison. Now that he's left, he can pursue

his dreams in Italy, but he struggles to express how
difficult he has been finding being so isolated and distant
from his friends and family.

Speaker 4 (04:08):
I mean, one of the most important things in all
life is it's not really the most important is family.
Since I really left Italy, it was not really easy
for me because I knew that I would be alone
and I would be away from my family. But I
took that decision because I knew that somehow I have to,
let's say, somehow to sacrifice, and because you know, I

was focusing somehow on my future, my goals, which was
not really almost impossible. It's impossible to do it where
I was, which is going to say, it was the
hardest decision I've made ever in my life that even
before anything really started, I'm going to explain how I
feel since months back. I'm sure that everybody knows right

now if he's going to put himself in my place,
that he wouldn't have the right words to express his feelings.
And I'm sure, and I'm someone right now who doesn't
really have the right to a supplicitent to tell you
what I feel and how I feel because it's not
something that's easy for anyone to experience in his life.

So that's how I feel.

Speaker 2 (05:17):
We wanted to ask him how they were able to
keep in touch with their families. I remember I was
talking to up mad in October and like we were
talking about how hard it was just to find out
if your families were okay every day, right, like just
to contact them and check. Is that still the case,
Like how has it been just trying to contact your
families over the last six months?

Speaker 3 (05:39):
It is actually still the same that they have to
try calling and calling and calling the whole day until
they catch up, like the connection is cut off or
it's almost like impossible to get connected with them. So
I have to try the whole day until like I
get someone answering, because it's like I guess it's because

it's a small place where they are, like in Rapa
and there's more than one and a half million people
and everyone is trying to call to Gaza and to
check with everybody in there, so it's make it hard
to get connected easily with them. So I try like

every day for sure. I in the end, it's better
than before. At the moment when they were in canyunits.
It was like that. I had to ask my friends
who leave it close to my area, and then they
tell me if my family are okay or not. And
sometimes I I'm having no information about them for a

whole week and just worry to if everything is okay
with them. At the moment, I just wish for the best.
That's what I am at home, wishing everything is okay
with them, but without knowing if it's them or another
family who got boned, because the TV is not showing

a name or a family anymore, because it's you know,
you're talking about more than thirty five thousand people gotting killed,
and to mention the names of every person getting killed,
it's something impossible in the media.

Speaker 4 (07:24):
I guess I just want to mention, how does it
feel for anyone who's really listening right now? How does
it feel if you know that you know someone who's
really the most important in your life, and you know
that he in danger somehow, and you're trying to call
one day to day, through three days or even four weeks.

Sometimes sometimes they'ven it happened two weeks and a few weeks,
and you know that people they are dying every day
and it might be someone from your family that you know,
might something you know, and you cannot reach them because
of the signal, because of the collection of whatever it is.

How would you feel.

Speaker 2 (08:09):
Abed said he hadn't actually seen his family for nearly
a month because they hadn't had good enough signal for
a call. Abdullah, on the other hand, hasn't even seen
a picture of his family's its bombs begin to fall
on the place where he grew up six months ago.

Speaker 3 (08:23):
Like I have not seen my family like face to
face on a camera or for more than three weeks
at the moment the moment I saw them. They have
to go somewhere really high building too, so they can
have internet, that's if they get this internet. And in
the same time, it's very dangerous for them to go

on a high buildings. So yeah, you know, sometimes when
my father sent me a picture of him on messenger
more than a month ago, and then I was like
just choked out to see his white hair, like oh,
gray hair everywhere, and he just changed in these six

months totally, like I would not recognize the same person
like he was before the war, because I was there
seven months ago in Gaza and he was totally young,
like you know he's he's just fifty years but it's
not that he had gray hair everywhere like how I

saw in his picture. And then I see how suffering
they are facing, how tough life they are having at
the moment, just through his face, his yeah, his picture
that he sent to me, which is really just for
sure hair. To see that how they are growing too

fast because of this genocide.

Speaker 4 (09:54):
The honest come, I just want to that. I'm happy
you ask me to be the chance to to see
your father. I still for the last six months I
didn't see a picture or talkably to pull my father.

Speaker 3 (10:14):
Just understand I they really risk their life to to
go and talk to me. And then I always I
also tell them to not do that when I when
I see them going to that building or where they
go to get the internet, I was just telling them

go home, be at a safe area. But still like
they tell me there's no safe area. There is no
safe area, and there is. It's the same anywhere. But
then still like yeah, it's it gave more fear that
when you are on a high building, any any high
building getting targeted in Gaza.

Speaker 5 (11:19):
I have been having an extremely hard time looking at
what's happening through my phone, witnessing the suffering of people
who might as well be my family. They all look
and sound like my cousins, my aunts, my uncles, my parents,
my siblings. I can't even imagine experiencing this if it
was my actual family. I genuinely do not know how

I could cope with not being able to reach them
for months, or not even knowing if they're okay. I
wanted to know if ahmadna Bellah have found ways to
cope or at least ways to get through each day.
Do you guys have a community that you can reach
out to. Do you guys talk to each other a lot?
How do you guys stay sane?

Speaker 4 (12:00):

Speaker 5 (12:00):
How do you not lose your mind? Just as everyone
else goes about their life.

Speaker 3 (12:04):
We talk to each other, mean almost every day in
the evening, we spend like more than four hours at
least in a call. And besides that, yeah, while we
are sitting and calling each other, we are watching the news,
and yeah, we have to be informed about everything is happening.
That's how it makes us feel better, at least to

know what's going on and to follow the newsthing else
can help it I think I would not feel happy
to go and enjoy while my family is not enjoying.
And yeah, I don't feel good about it. It's not
that I I should enjoy, it's I feel like I'm

not going to enjoy until my family is safe. Until
my family is enjoying, and it's gonna take years, a guess.
You know, the aroma tromas that affected them from this
genocide is gonna take a while to hear to recover.

They will take long time to recover from this. And
I don't know if I am affected by it or not.
But you know, my life, as I told you, has
been just watching news for six months and nothing else.
I don't know how is that affecting me in the
long run, like after the war ends. But for me,

Parker has always been a way to recover, and I'm
sure Parker will help me later.

Speaker 4 (13:43):
I'm always trying to say to talk to myself because
I guess it's really important. Everybody has to talk to
himself because it's the most important thing. Yeah, while your
proud people believe, try not to lose your mind, tryers
to normal because of the end. Anyway, you don't have
anything that you can do in your hand. You know

that you cannot change something like I al really helpen
of mind. I really told have I'm really proud of
myself that at least I'm trying to stay normal and
I'm trying to keep myself and act as a normal person.
But the mainly Pusson is I don't know where I

would be able to. I'm afraid that once it's going
to happen, that I'm going to lose everything and I'm
going to destroy everything. And of course you know, sometimes
I'm trying to get out. I'm not trying to be alone,
just trying to keep my mind and my life a
little bit more busy as much seek.

Speaker 2 (14:48):
I've known Abdollah and Ahmed and several other members of
PK Gaza since twenty twenty. I worked on a story
about them in twenty twenty one, which was about the
last time I could sell stories on GADS because the
most part you only get to write about people in
Gaza when they're dying. I asked him about the well
being of some of the other members of the team.

Speaker 3 (15:08):
Side, Yeah, he's in our thoughts all the time and
we will never forget. And for sure for Side was
like the last person I saw in Gaza when I
left Gaza, and he was with me helping me with everything,

like so I can live from Gaza to Egypt. So
he was helping me with all the process I need
in the crossing area because it's very busy and you
need to know people in the crossing area so they
can fix you and help you and to carry my
stuff with me. And I know Said since I was born.

I can say Said's father and my father are very
close friends. And since I I grew up, like since
I started to be aware on this life. I met
Said and we were friends, neighbors. We were always playing

together and then we decided to go for a kung
fu club and we started to train kung fu and
martial arts together. And at the age of nine years
me and Said also met Abdullah and met the other
guys who does also martial arts, so we started to

do martial arts together. And then we met the Barkur
guys Mohammed Jahpiir and Abdullah Chassi, which made us turn
into Barkour after and everything I was doing like in
my sports life and outside of my sports life, I
was always meeting side as a friend, as a brother,

and we were at each other's houses and eating together.
And yeah, Side was really meaning a lot to me
because I have always known him as the good guy
who help everyone who need help, and lately said was

like the manager of the Barker Academy that we created there,
and he was taking care and teaching kids for free
and volunteering and putting from his time so more kids
can go there and learn parkour. And my brother was
one of them, and he was helping him. And during

this war, Side was the only one that informs me
about my family about how they are because he was
the only one. He was connected to the internet at
that time, so I was going through him about my
family and we were talking every day during this war.

Suddenly I just saw new it's about that he got
killed together with his brothers while trying to rescue some
people from under the rabbit and then another rocket upon
them and killed them all. I could not understand it

and still cannot believe that Side is gone. It's something
that I would not believe that I go to gather
and say it is not there. I cannot imagine how
it feels to his father, to his mother, and that
they lost the three of their sons at once. Yeah,
but Side will always be in our memory, in our

heart that we will never forget.

Speaker 4 (18:49):
But Astinias, they are really different than anybody else. When
the bombs really happening, everybody just trying to scape. Everybody's
just trying to run away. What Side and his brothers did.
They just went after that building was pumped. They just
went to help others, to take others from Landodoropo, you know,
to help them to see if they are injuries that

they are. You know, they can't help others and that
was their fault that they were trying just to help
others and then they could bomb three of them. That's
that's what happened to them, and that's what most of
the blasting on durance. But they were really prayed, and yeah,

it's it's such a ross that nobody can telling mine.

Speaker 2 (19:38):
It's hard enough losing a friend, so suddenly it's even
harder when you have been able to see them for
months and never got to say goodbye. We asked about
the last time they spoke to their friend, and we
asked him to share some of their memories of him.

Speaker 3 (19:51):
So he was, as said, was telling me, listen to
this sound. And then while listening, I was just hearing shooting.
And then he was telling me, this is a quad Captor.
The quad chapter is like a drone that is developed
to shoot at the same time, so it can film
and see everything moving and shooting it at the same time,

so it can kill people which is moving. And he
tells me that everything is moving in this area, everything
is moving around us is getting shot. And he was
at his home and together with his family, and I
was telling him, just saying, leave the area, go somewhere

that is better, safer or something that you don't have
to hear this sound that you maybe can get killed
inside your home because you know, this quad Captures is
a drone that can go inside windows, anything that it
can go from the roof and enter your home. Yeah,

that's what he told me. What he told me was like, yeah,
but if I home, I will get killed. And if
I if I leave another place, I will also get killed.
Because it's not safe anywhere. It's the same. So if
I die at our home or outside our home, it's
the same. And in the end, I go to the heaven.

It's directly it's better for me. And that's what he
was saying. And that's what he received. He wanted the heaven,
I guess. And but we we wanted him back in
our life. We did not want him to go. But yeah,
that's life. Take the good people from us always.

Speaker 2 (21:42):
That's the end of part one, but we'll be back
tomorrow with the second part of our interview without med
An Abdollah Gaza Pakour.

Speaker 1 (21:53):
It could Happen Here as a production of cool Zone Media.
For more podcasting cool Zone Media, visit our website cools
one Media, or check us out on the iHeartRadio app,
Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts. You can
find sources for It Could Happen Here, updated monthly at
Coolzonemedia dot com slash sources. Thanks for listening.

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