The scared girl in the picture is my sister

Opinion: 'I can't sleep in my bed, how can I be comfortable when I don't know where my sister is sleeping?'; 'We got used to waking up with 136 hostages still in Gaza'

Shai Albag|
In recent days, a picture of a shocked, helpless woman has been released by Hamas terrorists. She appears everywhere - on global newspaper covers, and shared across social media platforms. This is not just a random someone; it's not some post being circulated. It's my little sister, Liri Albag.
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Three months have passed since the last time I heard her voice and knew how she feels now. It feels like an eternity, but it also feels like October 7 happened just yesterday, and this is all one long, nightmarish day.
2 View gallery
שי ולירי אלבג
שי ולירי אלבג
Liri Albag, Shai with her sister Liri
(Photo: Courtesy)
I don't know what's happening with her, and I’m scared. What is she thinking about? Is she alone? Is she injured? These are questions that don’t let go of me. Or any of us. Every possible scenario plays in my mind. I keep hearing more about the horrors they endure there, and lately, also about the sexual abuse.
Women recounting that this is what happened to them, and I get to thinking - maybe it happened to her too? Maybe my sister was hurt, and I'm not there to help her? Perhaps she's pregnant? She is the youngest woman in captivity; other than her, only girls are still there. Is there any responsible adult there looking after them? Is someone protecting them from these monsters?
It's a daily fear, and it’s paralyzing. I can't sleep in my bed, how can I be comfortable when I don't know where my sister is sleeping?
2 View gallery
לירי אלבג נעדרת
לירי אלבג נעדרת
Liri Albag
Fifty-one days ago, family members returned from captivity in Gaza and told us they saw her there. They couldn't tell us too much, so as not to bring her or us to harm. But they said they saw her alive, and that's how we demand she comes back. We'll take care of her physical injuries and her mental well-being; just bring her back whole. Nearly 50 more days have passed since their return, and what’s her situation now?
I say this, and I can't believe it's my story, our story. Everything has become routine. We got used to waking up to the news of casualties. We got used to waking up with 136 hostages still in Gaza. The new images published in the "Daily Mail" shocked the public because we got used to pictures, videos, and horrors published a long time ago, on October 7. Getting used to it doesn’t make sense.
שי אלבגShai AlbagPhoto: Abigail Uzi
I don't know if we're doing enough to bring her back. I feel like I'm not doing enough because my sister still isn’t home, and she has such a bright future ahead of her, dreams and aspirations to fulfill - she wants to fly to Japan, she wants to study interior design or architecture and live in Paris for a year. She may be my sister, but her story is your story and everyone's in Israel. It has to have a happy ending.
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