The last two nights have been terrible. So many explosions have occurred close by that there is now a constant ringing in my ears.
But I can’t complain too much, especially when entire families around me are being killed. We have become refugees in our own country.
Many families have left their homes in the north seeking refuge in UNRWA schools (not that it’s safer or anything, Israel bombed them during Operation Cast Lead). An estimated 4,000 people left everything behind to seek peace, but that is nowhere to be found in Gaza.
No place is safe for us anymore.
A multi-storey house was bombed. Nineteen people were killed and more than 50 others injured. Imagine suddenly losing your entire family one day. Imagine losing your mom, and your dad, and your siblings. And your relatives, and your neighbours…
A week into Operation ‘Protective Edge’ – or persistent Israeli aggression in Gaza – I can feel a shift. It turns out you can adapt to even something like being under siege.
In Palestine: Fighting a biased narrative.
At first we were in a state of denial, but we have begun adjusting. Now we are practically used to it. Yesterday, people were leading a nearly-normal life in broad daylight, which sort-of confused me. I was sad, happy, frightened, bewildered, all at the same time. I feel on edge, disjointed.
Here is a list of the types of explosions I have categorized during this war:
1- Sudden blast. Just a huge big “kaboom” out of nowhere.
2- Hearing a missile cutting through the air, and again the “kaboom”.
3- Hearing a missile falling and then the ground shakes.
4- Tank shelling.
5- Warships shelling.
6- Apaches missiles.
7- And finally, the gigantic F-16 rocket. That is, if you’re lucky enough to just hear it without being killed.
This might sound crazy, but we all favour type ‘2’.
We prefer to anticipate death instead of getting blown up without warning. It is safer, though not actually safe. If you hear a missile falling, you’re considered lucky – it’s near you but not targeting you. Every time the phone rings, you assume you’ll get a call from the Israeli army to evacuate your house (again, if you’re lucky). Otherwise, they may also utilise their new brand of “warning missiles”. That’s right, they’ll bomb your house with a warning missile, giving you 1-3 minutes or less to leave. Many houses got bombed with no warning missiles, resulting in a huge number of causalities.
There’s nothing the bombing has spared: houses, mosques, medics, hospitals, ambulance centers, cemeteries, farmlands, coastline, boats, cars, motorbikes, buses, residential areas, banks, schools, colleges, universities, you name it. According to UNRWA, about 70 per cent of the fatalities are civilians, of which 30 per cent are children.
It is depressing, but this is my life now.
I still can’t get over the bombing of our three cemeteries in Gaza. And also the handicap association. Even handicaps aren’t spared. Three handicapped females have been killed in the assault so far. I have been holed up inside the house for a week now. I miss the outside.
Every morning when I hear the birds chirping and see the sun slowly filling the streets, I miss being out there. I miss the beach, the freedom of movement and of choosing whether to go out or stay in. I miss my favourite places here, and my friends. I miss the streets and how I feel when I walk on them. I miss walking around.
Life was never normal here, ever, by any means. But whatever ‘normal’ did mean before the current spate of Israeli attacks has changed now.
It hurts when you see children die; living, breathing people turning into dead bodies, into numbers…people I have known.
Every day, you live through the fear of losing a loved one. It is nerve-wracking.
The house is actually shaking as I write this.
Explosions continue in the background, literally like in a movie, except I’m not watching this, I’m actually living it.
On that note, I end, but not without a huge shout out to all the protesters around the world supporting Gaza.
We love you.
And a big thank you to medics, nurses, doctors, and journalists on-ground. And everyone who risks their lives for the sake of others.
‘Hero’ is too clichéd a word, you all deserve a much better definition.
Until next time.
Let’s see what the eighth day brings to us. I hope I live to see it.
From Gaza with hope,