Saturday, February 18, 2012

Gaza's Multifaceted Winter: Unprecedented cold, Unavailable heat, and Unrelenting souls.

I saved this post as a draft on 23/1/2012, about a week after I posted a picture of hail covering Gaza as a result of an unusual winter this year. It was a really cold night, but we were all thrilled about the heavy rain and the beautiful hail that was storming through the region.

That day, a friend of mine posted the following prayer on Facebook: اللھُم ابسط دفئ رحمتك على من لا مأوى لهُ من هذا البرد
which translates into something along the lines of: "God, please lay the warmth of your mercy on those who have no shelter from this cold."

Here in Gaza, we were (and today, are) THRILLED about the beautiful rain that has a way of making everything extra beautiful- the people, the sea, the trees, the spirits. This year, however (not unlike past years)- this beautiful winter is accompanied by a very political electricity shortage. Heavy rain usually means that people are going to stay at home, huddling in front of some source of heat- an electric heater (only when there's electricity- 6/24 hours per day), or maybe a gasoline heater (only when Israel/Egypt/the skies pump enough gasoline into the Gaza Strip).

Imagine? You're sitting at home, the weather is 6 Celsius degrees of winter, no source of heat, no electricity = a lot of time wasted, a lot of curses uttered, and a lot of contemplation happening.

So amid chilly contemplation I remembered a story that I read a long time ago. It was a story of a homeless single mother and her son. Their house consisted of a single roofless room, protected by a door. One day, it started raining like crazy. The mother, feeling helpless towards her shivering child being soaked in rain, broke the door away from the wall and placed it on the roof, stopping the rain from soaking her and her child. Her son looked at her and said, "I wonder what the poor people who have no door do at times like this!"

Here I recall a more personal story. I was talking to someone (the caretaker of a large family in Gaza) about the ongoing rainy weather. He said that he didn't like rain, to which I answered, shocked, "how can anyone not LOVE rain! Its a beautiful gift from the sky!" He simply told me: "Before I built my current cement house, we used to live in a house covered with iron sheets. Rain reminds me of the difficult times when my family would get washed and soaked from the heavy leaking rain in our small house."

I remember how bad I felt more than I remember the details of the story. The moral of the story/blogpost is- YES, its too cold, YES, we're suffering from a terrible electricity situation, but there are people who are now SHIVERING- not far away from where we are, in Gaza. I don't have numbers or statistics, but what I know for sure is when we run to the roof/garden to "dance in the rain" or try to capture the most beautiful photographs with our fancy cameras, others -only a few kilometers away- are praying to God to stop the rain, or are trying to find a door to protect their heads from the rain while we worry about electricity. 


  1. this winter is exceptionally cold and hard, with the electricity shortage, new curses are invented, more people are suffering and the current news isn't helping a bit...
    it's a winter to remember for sure !

  2. Hard winter? Blame the... jooooozzz.

  3. thank you for calling our attention to those who, as a result of a 63 year occupation, harsh siege, and illegal blockade, do not have the resources to shield themselves from the forceful winter they must endure. thank you for reminding us how the fuel shortage and electricity outages impact the daily lives of people. THANK YOU for not being as ignorant as Kafir Harby (above) and understanding that one injustice leads to further injustices and that religion is not what divides us, it's the side we choose in the battle of truth, justice, and equality that does.

  4. That's a beautiful prayer, thanks for sharing.