Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Voices From Gaza

We are collecting stories from Palestinians whose lives are affected by the current conflict. We will continue to add more voices as our staff and partners in the region are able to collect and share more.

November 21, 2012

Amal Sabawi

Amal SabawiAFSC staff member, Gaza: “Every night is a nightmare. The deaths of very little children, just months old - just a few years old, are especially shocking. These are miserable times. I try to keep in touch with all the staff each day. Last night there was an airstrike against the neighborhood where my colleague Ibrahim lives. They were evacuated by the Red Cross in the middle of the night. I am worried about Rana with her four small children. Why should children pay such a heavy price?
When war is imposed upon us we have to continue, we have to stand regardless of what is happening around us. We have to tell the truth and be brave. I find it hard to talk, to express my feelings, this is not a time for crying, I know I must find my voice.”

Rana Joda

Rana JodaAFSC staff member, Gaza: “My children have become experts in distinguishing the sounds of the explosions whether the sound emanates from an F16, a rocket, or a missile. Abdullah - my 2-year-old - who still cannot talk properly automatically steers himself to the safe area in our house when he hears an explosion. It is so sad to see this behavior among my four children instead of being surrounded with their happy sounds. I am hopeful for a cease-fire, this shimmer of hope helps me move on another day”.

Mos’ab Abu Dagga

Mos'abAFSC staff member, 31 years old, Gaza: “It was a tough night, in the wake of a potential ceasefire agreement, with intensive shelling. I have high morale given that I have had similar experiences here upon my return from the Emirates in 1995. My wife though received a special kind of welcome upon her arrival to the Strip for our wedding ten days ago. She has lived abroad all her life and is finding it difficult, but with God’s will we will make it. God will help us through!”.

November 20, 2012

Samar al-Za’aneen

Former Palestinian Youth Program Coach, 19 years old, Gaza:  “I am still alive!, that was my answer to my 22-yeard old brother’s frantic knock on the bathroom door, just after a missile struck nearby, while I was taking a shower. We had to seek refuge at my grandfather’s. Our house, which sits in front of our large vineyard, was in the line of fire. Three missiles struck the vineyard, and we had to flee. Everybody is in danger, and I can no longer understand what is happening. I am the youngest in the household, my mother who is a psycho-social worker, tries to boost my morale, but I have already lost a brother in the past, and now everything seems so trivial to me.  I no longer care about the house, or the oranges, or the vegetables, I just want to be safe with my other brother, mother and father and live in peace”.

Islam Madhoun

IslamAFSC staff member, 27 years old, Gaza: “My eleven-month baby sprints and shivers every time he hears an explosion. My wife tries to put some cotton in his ears to minimize the impact of the sound, but he finds this uncomfortable. I stocked my house with baby supplies as soon as I heard about the Jafari attack on Wednesday, but the question is how long will this last? We are in a state of eternal waiting. We sit all together in one room in the middle of the house to protect ourselves in case of a missile, God forbid. We have no shelters, no bunkers and no safe protected area. It takes Israelis 90 seconds to seek shelter and takes us long hours to dig out the corpses from the rubble. This time there is no distinction between civilians and combatants, we are all targeted… there is no distinction”.

Ibrahem Shatali

IbrahemAFSC staff member, 32 years old, Gaza: “My father sought refuge in Gaza after being forced to leave Majdal in 1948.  He was only 12 years old when he accompanied his parents to what was thought to be a safer place. Today, we have to go to a funeral at my cousins’ who lost his twins and other members of his family. It is very sad. I live in my family’s home together with my five brothers, their wives, and offspring. You are talking about moving a human mass of 30 children towards the stairway every time an explosion is heard in the vicinity. The Islamic National Bank, targeted this morning is 500 meters away from our home, and 150 meters from the AFSC office. Every day the series of explosions begins at 6:00 pm and escalates until 6:00 am at which time we try to steal some hours of sleep. No one is exempt from this terrifying experience”.

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