13-year-old Awni Eldous was trying to build a following on his YouTube channel before he was killed in an Israeli air attack in Gaza. After his death, people have helped to achieve his dream of reaching 1 million subscribers on YouTube. His channel currently has 1.49 million subscribers.
In August last year, Eldous who was known for his love of computers and gaming posted a video thanking his fans for helping his channel reach 1,000 subscribers and explained his ultimate goal. “I am Awni Eldous, a Palestinian from Gaza. I am 12 years old,” he said in the video. “The goal of this channel is to reach 100,000 subscribers. And 500,000, then 1 million, and – God willing – to reach 10 million subscribers with your support and love.”
He ended the short video saying “peace out” to his 1,000 subscribers before walking out of view.
In the comments section, numerous users have shared heartfelt condolences and sought forgiveness for not assisting Eldous in achieving his goal while he was still alive.
BBC reported that Awni’s family home was hit in an Israeli strike on October 7.
Awni’s aunt told the media outlet that he was a happy, confident and helpful boy who would hold the door open for her. Another family member called him “engineer Awni” because of his love of computers.
To others, this 13-year-old gamer has become a kind of symbol, representing the loss of children in the Gaza Strip.
“Two bombs fell suddenly on top of the building and destroyed it. My wife and I were lucky to survive because we were staying on the top floor,” Awni’s uncle Mohammed said.
Both he and a neighbour said they had received no warning. “It was sudden, boom,” the neighbour said.
Narrating the incident, Eldous’s aunt said she did not want to believe the messages she was receiving. She shared that after connecting to the wi-fi, she saw that a close friend of the family had shared a photo of her brother on social media with the caption: “Rest in peace.” She ran to the hospital.
“They asked me to see the bodies but my husband refused… he wanted me to remember their beautiful faces when they were alive,” she says in a Facebook message, sent from the south of Gaza, where she is now displaced.
Ala’a says 15 members of her family were killed that night, among them Awni.
She describes him as being a calm, helpful boy. His dad was a computer engineer and Ala’a says that for as long as she can remember, Awni would copy his father, pulling laptops apart and then trying to piece them back together, BBC reported.
Since the onset of the Israel-Hamas war in early October, over 10,000 people have lost their lives in Gaza. Among them, at least 4,000 were children.