This crisp October night hit differently as I delved into the news of the ongoing Palestinian Genocide. For a moment, no problem in my quite problematic life seemed huge anymore. Because WHAT ABOUT THEM?
As I turn off my mobile and put aside my glasses to sleep, it’s 12:30 a.m., 5 hours before the new day begins. The air is chilly – winters are coming. The cold breeze gives me goosebumps so I reach out for my fleece. “But what about the Gazan man carrying body parts of his children in a shopper? How bitterly cold will the night be for him? “I reflect.
Words from Hosseini’s Sea Prayer echo in my mind :
I said to you,
Hold my hand.
Nothing bad will happen
These are only words.
A father’s tricks.
It slays your father,
your faith in him.
Because all I can think tonight is
how deep the sea,
and how vast, how indifferent.
How powerless I am to protect you from it.
4650 Palestinians were massacred, and 1870 were children among them, according to the Media. Few people, some, some more and then many people dead! How painful will the night be for those still alive as the flashbacks of terror and constant reminders of loss will haunt them?
If only we could fill pain in jars for the world to know how pain looks, for it cannot feel. A husband who just lost his newlywed wife: his beloved.. and then many split couples. The guilt of sleeping in the comfort of my home–safe, along with my parents, who are thankfully still alive. I watch my brother sleeping and remember when we smiled at each other in the evening, after a day of being upset. At this moment, all I can remember is the luxury of still having my family.
It is Monday: I wake up and rush to prepare before the van horn beeps. As I prepare my breakfast, I make my father’s but stop for my own. I rather have this pack of biscuits with a cup of Chai because time is flying. Mom has made Halwa, early on, for the rest of the family. The sugary aroma fills the air. Images of hungry kids and adults in Gaza and the West Bank rush through my mind. The guilt of getting to eat this tasty food.. ah. The horn beeps. I leave my breakfast and dash outside.
I pensively gaze at this girl in the van saying, “Many classes today.. I will stay till 4.. look at my schedule.” I recall that on the other side, people prepare every day to lose their lives or their loved ones. Evacuation of homes, sorrow of losing their property, fear building inside.. will they die too? The guilt of having a normal scheduled day in a world where my Falasteeni can only dream of normal conditions.
As though a transparent barrier separates our world from theirs. We see them, but cannot feel their pain. Do we live in a different time zone or another historical era?
The psychological effects of the violence will long linger among the children. Panic, confusion, anxiety, depression, and aggression. An Al Jazeera article dating back to 2021 reported Hala Shehada, a 28-year-old mother from northern Gaza saying:
“Living in Gaza means having to relive trauma time and time again. War is the ugliest thing in the world. And the real war is the one, you have to live with your memories of it.”
She talked about her daughter as:
“It’s very hard to be a mum in Gaza. I was terrified myself. My daughter’s mental state deteriorated severely during the offensive. She was crying hysterically when she heard the bombs,” said Shehada.
“Even now with the ceasefire, Toleen suffers from nightmares. She wakes up screaming in the middle of the night. I try my best to comfort her, but it kills me to see her like this,” she added, sobbing.
The Nakba, which happened in 1948 during the establishment of Israel, was a traumatic event for Palestinians. The conflict has seen multiple wars and countless acts of violence, leading to a staggering number of casualties. Many Palestinian families have lost their loved ones and witnessed the destruction of their homes and communities. The restrictions have caused economic difficulties, restricted access to essential services, and denied basic human rights and freedom.
Eventually, this led to a surprise attack on Israel from Hamas on October 7th, 2023, which responded with the commencement of the Palestinian genocide. Israel is bombing Gaza every day!
History will not be forgotten. From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free. 💕