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A group in Gaza writes about Palestinian lives lost since Oct. 7 Hamas attack

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Daily bombardments of Gaza by Israel in the wake of the October Hamas attack have wiped out entire families. The Hamas attack on October 7 resulted in the deaths of more than 1,200 people in Israel, and roughly 240 people were taken hostage. But since then, Israel's aggressive military response has resulted in the deaths of more than 12,000 Palestinians. And advocates for the Palestinians say their stories are not reaching the world.

AHMED ALNAOUQ: Three of our writers have been killed already. Some of our writers lost their loved ones.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Ahmed Alnaouq is a 29-year-old journalist in London and the founder of the group We Are Not Numbers. It's a nonprofit acting in the Gaza Strip that posts online about the lives that were lost.

ALNAOUQ: We wanted to show the world that the Palestinians who lose their lives in Gaza are not just mere statistics. They have stories. They have dreams.

MARTIN: Alnaouq lost more than 20 members of his own family on October 22 when a missile hit his home in southern Gaza. That's where Israel told people in northern Gaza to go but then stepped up its attacks on the south.

ALNAOUQ: No one wants to have their kids killed. If they had received a warning, they would have evacuated immediately. They were sleeping, and they were bombed without any warning. I lost my father. I lost my two brothers, three sisters, 14 nieces and nephews. Only one of the kids survived.

MARTIN: His nephew and sister-in-law were the only survivors.

INSKEEP: He told us about his father.

ALNAOUQ: He was a very, very gentle man, very kind person, very simple man who just wanted to live with his children in his home, in his safe home. My older brother is a lawyer, and he was a civil servant. My younger brother worked at a human rights organization. He was a translator and a researcher. My younger brother got a scholarship to do his master's degree in Australia. Just a few months ago, he was very, very happy. And then he was killed. He did not survive to go to Australia.

MARTIN: Alnaouq's brother Ayman was also killed by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza in 2014.

ALNAOUQ: I felt that we are unheard, that people don't care about us, that our suffering is not noticed from anyone in the world, especially the West.

MARTIN: He says We Are Not Numbers is meant to change that using the internet.

ALNAOUQ: The public perception has changed because of social media. The Palestinians are now serving as citizen journalists who are taking videos and pictures and talking about their experiences. And they made a huge difference.

INSKEEP: While also giving the writers a way to remember and pay tribute.

ALNAOUQ: Because I believe the Palestinians - we don't have the luxury right now to grieve. We have the responsibility to speak. So please, when you have the choice to give the Palestinians a voice, please do that.

MARTIN: For more perspectives and stories of the human impact of this war on both Palestinians and Israelis, go to npr.org/middleeast.

(SOUNDBITE OF ZOE KEATING'S "THE LAST BIRD") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.