“We can’t sleep, either.” I was just chatting with my cousin, who has just finished his studies in Jordan, and can’t go back to Palestine because of the closure. Tawfiq hasn’t seen his family for three years, and his parents did not even get to attend his graduation, for the same reason. I haven’t seen my family for a year and a half now. Tawfiq and I are awake at 3:00 am because we can’t sleep, just like the people in Gaza. There, they can’t sleep because it’s too cold, because they’re feeling too sick, because the planes are too scary, because the bombs are too loud, because the glass just shattered, because it smells like smoke, because a piece of shrapnel just hit the bedroom window. Outside Gaza, we can’t sleep because of the fear we’re living in, because we have families inside Gaza.
I wish I could call my mother now and see how she’s doing. But I won’t. She could be awake now, sleepless, without my phone call, but I would never forgive myself if she gets a phone call thinking that it’s an order from the IDF to evacuate the house before bombing it. God forbid.
Tawfiq’s family had to sleep in the basement of their house yesterday. Late at night, they got a call from the Red Cross saying that the mosque next to them is under threat from the IDF and that it might get bombed any minute.
I can’t bring myself to sleep now. For the past two days, I have been watching TV nonstop, changing from one channel to another, trying to keep up to date with the horrific events taking place in my beloved hometown. From one breaking news to another, from one report to another, it keeps getting more depressing, but I can’t get enough of it.
Luckily enough, my father is in Cairo at the moment. He has been here for over a month now, mainly because he can’t go back to Gaza. A few days ago, right before the massacre in Gaza, my father, sister and I were planning on going to Luxor & Aswan for a five day retreat from the stress of Cairo. On Saturday, gloom took over our conversations and we didn’t even think about going on the trip. My father wanted to be in Cairo, in case, God forbids, anything urgent happens and he would have to go to Gaza. He can’t, however. He would go to Ramallah and wait there until he gets permission to reunite with the rest of our family.
Talking to my mother in Gaza, I realized how different her tone has become. Only last week, she was funny and cheerful, and eager to tell us stories from back home. Today, however, she’s angry and not as talkative. In one of the rare hours during which Gaza was blessed with electricity, I got to Skype with my younger brother today. I got to hear one of the bombings and witness, live, my young brother looking up at the roof and crying. My mother also told me that when she called my aunt to check up on her and asked to talk to my three-year old cousin, he told her that he doesn’t feel scared when he hears the bombs because his mother simply taught him to close his ears when the planes draw nearer.
My friend, who lives in the central part of Gaza, was telling me that she’s now hoping that one of the strikes will kill her and relieve her of the tenseness that she constantly feels. Truly, this is a psychological warfare as much as anything else.
While my sister and I were watching Al Jazeera, she said that Al Jazeera would probably go bankrupt if peace ever happens in Palestine.
Congratulations to Barak, Livni, and the peace-doves of Israeli politics. Congratulations on winning the Who-Can-Kill-Most-Palestinians race. If this is what it takes to win an Israeli election, then I hope that you lose. God bless the souls of our martyrs.
Finally, No. Don’t start a discussion by blaming the barbaric massacres committed in Gaza on the Palestinians. If that’s what you believe then I urge you to read a different newspaper and watch a different news channel, maybe also talk to different people. Today, Palestinians are the only real victims, and I can confidently say that these attacks were not only aimed at a certain faction, but that this is what defines mass, indiscriminate killing at its best. The problem is it’s happening in front of a deaf world. Palestinians today have no one to resort to but God, may God stand with us and protect us, inshalla.