‘Meet the Workers’ Profile – Mustafa Abu Oda

Mustafa Abu OdaMustafa Abu Oda is 24 years old and is a fisherman who lives in al-Shati refugee camp in the north west of Gaza Strip.

He left school during 4th grade so he could help his family with fishing.

Mustafa has been married since 2009 and has a 2-year-old and a 1-year-old daughter.

He shares a home with his 4 brothers and 2 sisters.

Mustafa said: “I wouldn’t keep fishing if there were other work opportunities, because it is not safe. Every day, fishermen get injured, captured and killed by the Israeli Navy. When they stop us, they humiliate the crew. Once, in the middle of winter they stopped us by force and at gunpoint demanded that we take off our clothes and get into the cold water, whilst they were laughing.” Where possible, we refuse to stop, because we know that we will be humiliated, injured or killed – they don’t respect us as humans.”

In 2008, one of Mustafa’s brothers was killed when an Israeli F16 warplane targeted a neighbouring house. He too had been a fisherman and he had been injured and captured many times. Mustafa recounted what happened that day with tears in his eyes: "We heard many explosions, but one was very huge and close to my house. I rushed out to make sure that my brothers who were on the street were alright. I was totally shocked when I found my brother on the ground. I saw him take his last breaths as he died in front of my eyes.”

Mustafa said "I am afraid of the future, it looks like a dark bad dream, but I am pleased to be working on Gaza’s Ark and to have the solidarity of so many people around the world who care about us and will not abandon us."

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