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Palestinian-American among theater shooting victims
Published Tuesday 24/07/2012 (updated) 26/07/2012 12:00
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Jessica Ghawi, also known as Jessica Redfield, is pictured in this
photo from her Twitter account, on July 20, 2012.

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A young woman who was killed in a mass shooting at a US movie theater had family ties to Jerusalem, relatives and Palestinian officials said Tuesday.

Jessica Ghawi, a Palestinian-American, and 11 others died early Friday after an armed man opened fire at moviegoers in a crowded Colorado cinema. The 24-year-old aspiring journalist suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the head, according to a witness.

Media in Lebanon had misidentified Ghawi as an American of Lebanese descent after police included her on a list of victims. The name is not uncommon in Lebanon, but her brother Jordan Ghawi says his family is Palestinian.

“My father is an Arab Christian from Palestine,” he told Ma’an late Tuesday.

Jessica’s family “has huge ties” to Jerusalem, and particularly to its historic YMCA, Jordan says. He was last in the country in 2004 to attend his grandmother’s funeral.

Their dad, Nick Ghawi, is a Jerusalem native who settled in Texas, where Jessica grew up. She lived in San Antonio most of her life until moving a year ago to the Denver area to pursue a career in broadcast sports journalism. She started going by her other grandmother’s name, Redfield, after concluding that her Palestinian last name might be tough for American audiences to pronounce.

Redfield is also the name she used on Twitter, where she joked with friends hours ahead of the midnight screening of a new Batman film. “Never thought I'd have to coerce a guy into seeing the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises with me,” she wrote.

That guy, Brent Lowak, would witness Jessica’s death but not before being shot himself while trying to administer first aid for a gunshot to her leg.

Lowak “attempted to calm Jessica. It was at this time that Brent took a round to his lower extremities,” Jordan said in an initial statement. “While still administering first aid, Brent noticed that Jessica was no longer screaming. … he looked over to Jessica and saw what appeared to be an entry wound to her head.”

Lowak is expected to make a full recovery after a series of surgeries. His actions that night, according to Jordan, were “nothing but heroic.”

The Palestinian mission in Washington, meanwhile, says it is mourning all the victims.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to Aurora. We mourn the loss of all of the lives, including Palestinian Jessica Ghawi," the general delegation of the PLO to the US wrote on Twitter and Facebook.

Spokesman Dorgham Abusalim told Ma’an that Palestinian diplomats were in contact with Ghawi’s relatives and in the process of drafting a letter to the family.

Due to her presence online, and Jordan’s continuously updated blog, Jessica was identified before the police had released the other victims’ names.

Over her brother’s protests, she became the public face of the victims.

“You have all brought Jessica’s story forward,” he said in a note thanking several US broadcasters, but adding, “We can only hope that we can do the same with the rest of the victims.”

The spotlight on Ghawi is also the result of her surviving another terrifying ordeal only a month earlier. While visiting her hockey player boyfriend in Toronto, a gunman at a mall food court shot five people; Ghawi escaped moments before the shooter opened fire. Two people died.

On her blog, she recalled experiencing an “odd feeling which led me to go outside and unknowingly out of harm‘s way. It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around how a weird feeling saved me from being in the middle of a deadly shooting.”

After watching some of the injured, including a young boy, being carried into ambulances, Ghawi felt nauseous. “Who would go into a mall full of thousands of innocent people and open fire? Is this really the world we live in?”

She added: “I was reminded that we don’t know when or where our time on Earth will end. When or where we will breathe our last breath.”

Ghawi is to be buried in her hometown on Saturday.

On Monday the suspected Colorado shooter, James Holmes, made an initial court appearance. He is expected to be formally charged with Friday’s killings on July 30.

More than a dozen of the victims remain hospitalized.
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1 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
25/07/2012 04:36
Of course I offer my deepest sympathies and condolences to all the victims' families and friends. Everyone is Israel does. In describing her as a Palestinian-American, as no doubt many if not all other Americans of Palestinian heritage (and other Americans in general do), as well, for themselves, MNA is apparently adopting the erroneous standard as I've heard in the American media itself over and over: Designating their own citizens in hyphenated (national) format, based on their (cont.)

2 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
25/07/2012 04:55
nation of origin, heritage, ancestry or ethnic background. The most prominent example I'm aware of is the Americans' use of African-American that they themselves--and all other Americans, as well--frequently use. Now it's spread to other groups; hence, the term Palestinian-American. In Israel, we DON'T do this and NEVER WILL. Yes, we (currently) have Arab (and other ethnic) citizens (which in my view should not be) but we otherwise DON'T do this. It's divisive and segregationist. (cont.)

3 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
25/07/2012 05:07
The Americans will deal with this issue as they see fit and it's completely up to them. I would only say that America, for a nation that prides itself on the contributions from all its citizens no matter where they're from, continued use of this hyphenated designation for its people to me only adds to the disunity that it (and every nation) must avoid for the ultimate equality and well-being of ALL its citizens.

4 ) Rhonda T / USA
25/07/2012 06:51
Oh, you don't hyphenate, but you throw your 'Black-Jews' out of the country. Shame on you! You continue to be disgrace to humanity, 'European-Jews'!!!

5 ) Hadeel/ we the people / Arizona/USA
25/07/2012 07:55
We, Americans, will stand by each others sides no matter where originally we came from. Obviously, you, Yehuda, do not live in Israel 'cause if you really do, you'll notice how differently the non-Jews especially the Arabs are treated and how superiorly the Jews are treated by your very own government. Aparantly, Israel that you are talking about only exists in your imagination.I'm not anti-Semitic but I have a brain that actually thinks and distinguishes between good and evil.Together we thrive

6 ) Palestinian / American / Gaza, Palestine
25/07/2012 08:43
I offer my deepest sympathies and condolences to all the victims' families and friends including Ms. Jessica. All what I can say is that this is her destination......We say in Arabic (Qaddar or Naseeb). It is the will of Almighty God. May her body and the bodies of all victims rest in peace. I wish all the injured persons an urgent recovery. I will pray for them.

7 ) Rhonda T / Santa Cruz, USA
25/07/2012 08:58
Hadeel: European Jews are superiorly treated and the black ones were returned to Africa! Israel discriminated against its own people --imagine being a Palestinian living in Israel....! Rhonda

8 ) Shena / USA
25/07/2012 09:15
Yehuda You are an ignorant-Jew!

9 ) Yehuda / U.S.
25/07/2012 09:17
Shut up, you are a moron and should not comment at all. From a Palestinian-American

10 ) Waleed / Jordan
25/07/2012 09:22
Her Grandfather and Grandmother where among a handful of Palestinians that somehow stayed in West Jerusalem the part that was occupied in 1948 by Israel. They used to describe their ordeal as horrible. If it wasn't for the YMCA in West Jerusalem where they worked they would have never survived there. There children could not survive there and immigrated to the USA. May she rest in peace.

11 ) nancy / U.S.
25/07/2012 09:56
#9 comment : This was meant for Yehuda Shut up, you are a moron and should not comment at all. From a Palestinian-American

12 ) Palestinian / Palestine
25/07/2012 10:17
Stupid Israeli's, the shooter was a Jew and an Israeli terrorist who commited a terrorist act on innocent Americans and Palestinians on US Soil. ( wheres Goerge W when u need him )

13 ) dalma / USA
25/07/2012 10:33
Israel deceptive propaganda has lead many Jewish people to blindly support it. When the Palestinians return to their homes & peace is upon us; the Jewish citizens will take their place as they did before in all of Arabia (in 1939 there was more Jews in Baghdad alone than all of Palestine). The alternative is death & destruction to all.

14 ) Nabil / USA
25/07/2012 11:11
#1,2,3 - SHUT UP. Congratulations on politicizing the death of an innocent girl and trying to veil it with "I offer my deepest sympathies..." No you don't. For your information, Palestinians in the United States have ALWAYS been called Palestinian-Americans. It's not something new. I'm a Palestinian & I'm an American. I Guess that makes me a Palestinian-American. Rocket science, huh?

15 ) rmt / palestine
25/07/2012 11:59
zionists and zionist portraying themselves as arabs on this comment page are exceptional!

16 ) Omar / U.S
25/07/2012 12:38
My deepest condolences to the family of Jessica Ghawi. May her soul rest in peace. I have a very small favor to be said to the family of jessica, to pls try their best to burry their girl in JERUSALEM THE CAPITAL OF PALESTINE. Im sure it will be for Palestine 100% once again very soon. Israel is a non existing country in this world and they are supported by USA in were in few years USA will be nothing infront of CHINA or RUSSIA.

17 ) Soosh / United states
25/07/2012 19:06
Yehuda- please take the politics to another group. Shame on you and all other supports of Israel for talking ANY opportunity to push their agenda. If I didn't respect Jessica's family I would prove just how ignorant you are. Shame on the moderators of this board for posting this. RIP Jessica.

18 ) Chimo / USA
25/07/2012 19:58
Hey rhonda and all you other Israel haters, kiss my jewish ass!!!! The murders of 12 innocent people are a human tragedy, and not owned by any ethnic group! Why don't you geniuses ask all of the arabs who choose to stay citizens of Israel rather than being a part of "Palestine" why they do that? Israel is a democracy, the palestinian territories in the WEst Bank and in Gaza are neither democratic or free. At least israel has arabs, Palestine wont allow jews to live there.

19 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
25/07/2012 20:09
@ 4), 7) Rhonda T/USA, We deported those people because they were illegal MIGRANTS and FOREIGNERS (many from Ivory Coast and South Sudan). They WEREN'T Jewish citizens of Israel. GOT THAT ??? @ 5) Hadeel, 8) Shena and 11) Nancy/ALL of USA ...So you're all AMERICANS ??? ... then pay EXTRA attention because you don't know what the hell you're talking about !!! ... I LIVE IN TEL AVIV, moron. I'm well aware of the second-class status of non-Jews and Arabs in Israel. That has NOTHING (cont.)

20 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
25/07/2012 20:22
to do with my above point: The fostering of DISharmony and DISunity among a nation's society when a nation insists on using hyphenated designations for its citizens based upon their origin, heritage, ancestry, ethnic background, etc. Do you Palestinian-Americans have dual CITIZENSHIP in Jordan/Palestine (O.K., ... fine !!! ... I'll say PALESTINE, in general, if that makes you happy !!!) or other nation ??? ... Do African-Americans have dual CITIZENSHIP in other African nations ??? (cont.)

21 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
25/07/2012 20:42
If not, and you're Americans (by birth or acquisition) then you're all AMERICANS, PERIOD ... not Palestinian-, African-, European-, Asian- or any other TYPE of American ... GOT THAT ??? ... Yes, in Israel we have Ashkenazi (and don't make a dumb ass comment with the -nazi part of that) and Sephardic designations (and, of course, Arab Israelis), for example, but all JEWISH citizens are NOT to be called African-, European-, Asian-Israelites (Israelis) or other hyphenated CRAP. It's WRONG !!!

22 ) Joe Fattal / USA
25/07/2012 21:39
@1) Let me explain something to you. Judaism was the foundation of Christianity. As soon as Christianity evolved Judaism disappear. As a foundation of a house, when the house is built the foundation disappear, but who is going to look at it now that the house is built. Its the same with Judaism, its there but who is going to look at it. That young lady that died was an example of a good person and people looked at her as a prominent citizen from Palestinian descent.

23 ) Nazer / USA
25/07/2012 23:17
Why is everybody turning this tragedy in Colorado into a political event. Relax people. My condolences to Jessica & all the victims and their families. Leave it at that!

24 ) Ali / Amman
26/07/2012 00:42
The next US president needs to make fighting terrorism a number one priority so other American would be terrorists don't follow in the footsteps of the red headed terrorist killer.

25 ) Emile / Palestine
26/07/2012 00:57
Very sad. Condolences to the family of this lovely lady. Ma'an editors: You are a disgrace for allowing a racist hatemonger such as Yehuda to comment on this article. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

26 ) Johnny / US
26/07/2012 01:02
I'm afraid is going to take another 10-20 years worth of massacres before the Americans wise up and begin implementing gun control. It's almost funny how these folks forget their own atrocities so quickly.

27 ) DeeJ / USA
26/07/2012 11:51
The part that really shocks me most is how this story of how a girl survived a shooting once and has now been shot and killed, has turned into commentators arguing about the conflict. This article just mentions her heritage... just like everything else does--biographies, obituaries... it is normal. Clearly, if it's in a Pal newspaper, the purpose is to inform people she was Palestinian American. Get over yourselves. You're all ignorant in both the way you speak about her and to each other.

28 ) Yanal / Jerusalem
26/07/2012 13:18
Yehuda, Rhonda. I live in Jerusalem which in the meantime considered part of Israel,not according to International Law.After graduating from the university,I tried to find work in the so-called Jewish companies, the best I could get is working at a bakery, baking bread. So I say,I could find a job just like African Jews, show me any African-Jew who got a better work apart from being a security guard or cleaning personnel.
If you were living here, you'd get probably a Junior Managerial position

29 ) Emile / Palestine
26/07/2012 19:50
Unfortunately Ma'an news has proven itself time and again to have a hidden agenda. This is not an open forum for intelligent conversation. Ma'an, why don't you print comments critical of your site? Shame on your for printing the comments of the walking garbage named Yehuda, especially for an article such as this one.

30 ) Emile / Palestine
26/07/2012 19:52
Really Ma'an editors, you should be ashamed of yourselves. Totally unprofessional and no sense of common decency.

31 ) Texan / USA
27/07/2012 02:27
Mr. Solomon Read the book by President Jimmy Carter "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid" to know some facts you need to know. It is a starter, good luck man.

32 ) USAUSA / USA
27/07/2012 04:58
Whatever she was in the past, she became an American girl, a sports reporter, living with her boyfriend Jay Meloff. She was as far from Palestine as from the moon.

33 ) Colin Wright / USA
28/07/2012 06:35
I actually s'spicioned Ghawi was Palestinian as soon as I saw the name. It was remarkably well-covered up, though. If one has a morbid sense of humor, it's hard not to notice that the shooter worked at a Jewish 'summer camp.' Compared to Israel's accusations about Burgas, it's practically a smoking gun.

34 ) M. R. Oweis / USA
29/07/2012 06:01
The (Yehuda) Guy wants the world to forget the injustice committed against the American Indians; he sees the world from a colonialist perspective; America is the people and not the identity; he wishes that the Palestinian Arabs (the people) will stop saying they are Arabs so him and his likes will claim the Jewish identity for the land of Palestine from the river to the sea. DREM ON BOY DREAM ON

35 ) Semsem / USA
29/07/2012 11:06
Rhonda T: The Africans sent back to Sudan are not Jews. The only African Jews are Ethiopians and they are not being expelled.

36 ) ashraf / beirut
31/07/2012 08:08
R.I.P.

37 ) Robert / US
31/07/2012 18:37
#17 I agree 100%... to yehuda go away your soul is rotted
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