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Jehad Saftawi Headshot

A Perspective From Gaza: Every Blast Reminds Me of the Injustice

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Getty Images
Getty Images

I write in bursts, between the blasts. The bombs fall, on average,
every four to five minutes, round the clock. We brace ourselves. The
rule, we know, is this: If you hear it, you're still alive.

Someone described the sound as like a heavy door slammed shut on a
cavernous room. I wonder if that someone was inside. I wonder if the
door stayed shut, as it does for all of us here.

We can't leave. Even if we could, why bother? We're already refugees.

My grandparents taught me about the Palestinian villages in what is
now called Israel -- villages that four-fifths of Gaza still calls home.
More than 500 were leveled, renamed and stolen by Jewish terrorists
during Israel's creation.

I'm 21, and that was long ago. But every blast this week has reminded
me of the injustice. And I will never forget.

I record my own grandchildren's future memories between the blasts.
They come in intervals measured in steps. Steps to the bottom of this
five-story building. Steps sprinted by my mother, sisters and brother
in tow, to join the other families in a huddle.

Me, I stay behind. I'm a filmmaker. I want to see where the smoke
rises. I want to gauge the distance. I know the ones that leave your
ears ringing, they're maybe a quarter-mile away. But the ones that
make your ribs rattle, they're the ones that make you pray.

I pray that my friends in the next building over are safe. I want
desperately to check on them, but I can't go outside. No one can.
Still, we stay connected -- meters apart -- through phone or Twitter, in
simple messages that report what we're seeing and trying not to hear.

I hear people in the West Bank -- Palestinians like me -- are protesting.
But I don't know them. I have never been. The West Bank is a two-hour
drive, but Israel denied me a permit to go.

I want to know who issues permits for the F-16s that just shook the
earth, that have dropped a thousand bombs on my Gaza? Who gave the
order to slaughter eight members of the Al Dalou family and two neighbors this week,
leveling their home with U.S.-funded weapons -- weapons that tore through the
flesh of four children?

If I want to know, then surely the outside world does, too.

But no. Mere hours before the Al Dalou family massacre, I saw Barack
Obama lecture the world about Israel's right "to defend itself." He
seemed timid, almost embarrassed, as if he knew that in the four years
preceding this onslaught, 1,711 of my people had been killed by
American-funded weapons -- a figure representing nearly 99 percent of all
casualties on both sides.

That's right: We Palestinians are the 99 percent.

The most scary point in Gaza is when we are all waiting for the unknown.
When you come into your room and hear the loud massive bombing of the Israeli warships as they shake the field of vision around you and you don't know where they're bombing now. All you can hear is people screaming and ambulances' sirens around.
This scene has been videotaped from the window of my room in the north of Gaza City while I was facing death.