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Hani Almadhoun Headshot

Medieval Times Are Alive and Well in Gaza

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I called my older brother Mazin the other day, but he was not at home. I learned that due to the power shortage in our town, he has been spending more time at his workplace. They have a generator, and thus he can utilize actual electric light bulbs there. Most people do not have this luxury. Power supplies have been eliminated. Candles and other antiquated light sources are used widely.

My younger brother Mahmoud also did not come home that night because he was camping out at a gas station 30 minutes away from home. He was hoping to score some gas to run his tok tok, which he uses to transport boxes.

Indeed, Gaza is out of fuel and more and more people are using horses and donkeys for everyday transportation.

My sister has told me that it has been two days since she showered last. I know she is keen on showers, so this came as a surprise to me. It turns out the water to our block has been shut off for several days now, even though our town has traditionally had abundant supplies of water. These days, people have to look at their calendar before they can take a shower. Fortunately, it has not been too hot in Gaza -- not yet.

My mom told me last week that the local cooking gas truck has not being making its rounds, so she has not be able to bake bread in more than a week. With irregular water supply and no fuel or power, keeping our home running is increasingly difficult. My mom is now baking using a clay oven and burning wood. This technology has been around for ages.

Our next door neighbor called me and asked me if I could buy him some prograf -- a medication used by people who have had a kidney transplant. He was unable to score some in Gaza due to limited availability and skyrocketing prices. The abject conditions in Gaza have left many people unable to access medicine and led them to seek alternative medicine and bogus treatments for very real ailments.

No power, no fuel, and little water: darkness is everywhere, the public is deeply distrustful, and the only people making a living are those who walk around town flaunting big guns often accompanied by a huge entourage. Which also reminds us of Lords, Dukes and courts' jesters.

This is why my sister-in-law and her husband are coming to visit us here in the States this month. They are fleeing the siege, the lack of power and water, and the abundance of weapons to be with us for three weeks. We are really thrilled about their visit, but because life is so hard in Gaza right now -- and many other places too -- I want to take them somewhere that will make them feel better about life in Gaza.

It took me some time, but I have finally figured it out: I will take them to Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament. Think about it... everyone at the show is bearded and scary-looking, and look like they might really hurt you. There is little food, everyone is armed, and there's no power, just candles. There is no fuel and no cars, so people use horses. Plus they don't bathe as often. And yes, wars and disease surround you. Perhaps being part of this show will allow them to see some of the good things about Gaza. Or maybe they'll just feel at home...

Joking aside, this senseless suffering induced by the Israeli siege and political gridlock in both Palestine and Israel is completely preventable. The people of Gaza set free. There is no reason why three little children -conceived after a difficult in vitro procedure -- should have to burn alive in Gaza when their bed sheet catches fire from the light of the candle left by their mother to ward off their fear of the dark.

[Hat Tip: Benyamin]