Palestinians invent innovative methods, to protect their innocent children from air, sea, and land missile attacks, some families suggest that their members sleep in the living room. My mother always insists that I sleep in the living room ; thinking that it is the safest place, I explain my rejection to her suggestion by saying, I like to sleep on my bed alone, and l want to die and be resurrected alone without being disturbed.
The truth is that safety is a deception, but mothers invent their own tricks to protect their children, In the land of death and misery, missiles penetrate walls, disintegrate buildings, break windows and demolish homes on the heads of the residents.Other families decide to send their members into different rooms; in order to secure survival for the lucky ones among them, while others believe that survival lies in sitting in the stairs, suggesting that it is the most immune place from missiles! All of these methods do not prevent God’s decree, nor do they mean providing protection to those who do them, as the barbaric war machine crushes everyone in the homes, blows up the floors, smashes the windows and topples the buildings over the heads of their residents, and only those who are able to strike the awls with their hands remain alive.
I cannot determine whether he had good luck in becoming a survival of the massacre , or whether his misery will be eternal when he/she emerges as a survivor, witnessing the loss of his/her family members, and alone with out his/her family , his/her home and memories . At first, these attempts makes me laugh; but I realized too late that it was a way of humans to preserve their lives and their species, it is a survival instinct.
One of the strange attempts of a human being to preserve his survival is to transform sadness and pain into something else, at these moments, I am a professional at making laughter, laughing from nothing, instead of crying from everything.
Do not be surprised; we create comedy from the heart of tragedy ; we cry and fear, and yet we eat and laugh! And when we are under fire, we wonder how the world applies double standards, and how countries deal with us for the world accuses us of terrorism; just because Gaza thought once about breaking a wall erected on its territory for more than 70 years? and because they once thought to take the step of attacking, not being content with defending and receiving shocks?
What made us laugh the most was the lie slandered about Gaza, including rape, murder and burning, as if Gaza were a group of Nazis, against whom the civilized world must not only refrain from demanding a ceasefire, but rather that they stand with the occupier to burn and exterminate people of Gaza.
How Feelings form under bombardment?
While we are under bombardment receiving bombs and missiles; cut off from the rest of the world, our feelings become mixed; if we have lost the count of days and dates, and all that remains is for us to count our victims and wounded. I hope that my feelings will not be mixed to the point where the distinction between right or wrong is lost. Despite the echoes that of solidarity that reach us, l hope that I am wrong, when I feel that the issue of Palestine has become – whether for the Arabs or for the world – the issue of the Palestinians alone , and they are a source of worry and inconvenience to the region, and they should find a way to surrender that guarantees the Arabs peaceful sleep, not interrupted by the screaming of a child underneath the rubble, nor the wailing of a mother over the corpse of her son/daughter nor the lamentation of a father for his son or daughter, nor the wailing of a little girl for her brother… just thinking about this increases the pain exponentially.
The on going aggression against the Gaza Strip would not be stopped by statements from countries or reports of human rights organizations despite our appreciation for the good intentions. It is increasing in violence, ferocity. In our homes, we do not get a single minute without artillery, air or sea bombardment. Even the air we breathe has become polluted, suffocating and full of dust due to the continuous bombardment of homes and agricultural land; and the air is filled with deadly gases and gunpowder, and the burning white phosphorus that we smell and see.
Everyone is watching the play being presented with tears and sadness, enjoying its heroes, the puppet women in Gaza. Others think of the tragedy of Gaza and catastrophe as a bloody series of action movie with which they interact while enjoying themselves with all kinds of moisturizers and nuts in their hands.The truth is this hateful and blatant aggression on the innocent Palestinians in Gaza escalating day after day; and the Palestinians are paying the price for it in their blood, their children, their loved ones, their homes and everything they possess.
Everyone – peoples and governments – must stand up to their moral obligations and force this occupier to ceasefire, than hold the criminals accountable for the crimes committed out of mercy for more than two million civilians Palestinians under the flames of fire, massacres of extermination, and attempt to starve, subjugate, and uproot them from their homes.
Under Fire: escaping from fear
Amidst the fire, the men remain silent, carrying their rosaries and waiting, overwhelmed with anxiety. At night they raise their hands in prayers and supplication.
As for the women, they are busy with their housework; It seems that we women turn to household chores, to relieve the heavy feelings of fear, and to escape the feeling of anxiety and despair.After the work is finished, women in the neighborhood devote themselves to the non-stop recitation of the Qur’an until the late hours of the night, I hear their prayers for mercy and security and protection of their children, and safety at home and homelands.I wish that God will grant me their faith and contentment, which will enable them to be patient in these calamities that we have not experienced.
As for me, sometime ago, I became more like mothers in many things, including: constant worry and a sense of responsibility.I would wake up to check on the family, make breakfast and some tea, clean the house, complain about everything, about this war that does not stop, and about the dust of bombardment that cannot be removed despite the continuous cleansing campaign.I avoid sifting dough and igniting fire, and my excuse is ready: “I hate fire; and I suffer from headaches”.
I retreat to my kitchen to make lunch in silence, with my cup of coffee, while I hear the continuous bombing , without knowing any news after the internet and electricity have been cut off.
In this war, I have many tasks , including: waiting in line to charge my mobile phone, among the cell phone chargers in our neighborhood, and waiting for the batteries on the electric motor to charge, so that I can turn on the TV on, to watch the news broadcasts the scenes of blood and rubbles.
I also pass time by washing clothes by hand, for washing machines have become a luxury that only rich people in Gaza enjoy, and I go up on the roof on اthe fourth floor and hang the washing on the lines. My mother advises me to cover my hair, out of encouragement and fear of dying without a cover on my head, I tell her that since our men covered the females captives hair; they will definitely cover my hair if I am dead.
My mother and my sisters also try to intimidate me of the snipers stationed on the tall buildings in the Al-Tawam district to the west of Jabaliya , after the ground invasion, but I am not frightened, and I tell them jokingly: Snipers or no snipers, I will go back and let Hamas shoot me down, in a sarcastic reminder of Dahlan’s (Mohammed Dahlan, former security leader) famous video during the Gaza coup in 2007. I must say that getting on to the roof of the building means getting news from the rest of the neighborhood.
Our neighbors house across from ours was bombed, and it seems they have not returned to it until today; their laundry is still left on the lines. My neighbor in the building opposite was mending some wires on the roof. It seems he was trying to get the TV signals.My other neighbor hangs colorful laundry which is unusual and they are not removed , this means that some of her family members have joined them as refugees.
And my neighbor in the back building checking the water tanks; we hope that they have not been hit by shrapnel, because obtaining water in these circumstances has become more difficult than exploring for oil in the desert.My neighbor in the same building is still at home drinking her Coffee on the veranda, and her facial features indicate fear and sadness. We all share the same fear. My neighbor in the next building left heading South; I no longer hear their cursing and shouting at their children, nor their arguments with their husbands.Going up to the roof is also means I get fresh news about the bombing sites.
I look at the the neighborhoods like Wael Al-Dahduh ]Al Jazira TV correspondent in Gaza[ as my sister calls me, and I direct them to the site according to observation.My sister is amazed at my knowledge; and I explain that this is the talent of spatial intelligence; the talent which I should have exploited, as it was possible for me to become a journalist if it were not for my family’s opposition, and this is a mean from me to show of to my sisters, dig up the past and remind my family of the rest of the dream that left me in the midst of customs and traditions.
The truth is that Gaza, with its concrete mass that fills the country an inch and a half, can be known by anyone residing in it with all its news, the names of its inhabitants, and the families that live there.
I must admit that I have negative energy that must be released, otherwise I will spread it around in the neighborhood who will hear my screams and cries. So, I am like a hard lion, who is afraid of nothing only during the day; when night falls, I wrap my body around it, which becomes a hedgehog, curling up in fear, and silently lamenting the condition of Gaza, crying, anticipating, and anxious in fear.
We have never known a war like this one, and we have never been terrified as we have become terrified every day, but we are goblins who wake up again, and emerge in the morning from under the rubble and destruction, in the usual Gaza style of survival despite the oppression of the invaders. This war weighs down the heart, rusts the soul, and melts the body. This story does not end, if life is destined for us.
* Text by Haya Freij, a Palestinian researcher from Gaza.