The war on Gaza continues into its seventeenth night. I find myself longing for the day when I don't feel I have an obligation to tell this story anymore. Life seems to have been put on hold; at work, at home, as I eat, as I write, I feel like I am just waiting for this to end, so that maybe I can allow myself to go out again, or just to sleep. It's such a selfish thought to have when in Gaza, they're also waiting for this to end but only so that they can maybe go back to living without the fear of death arriving before the next breath.
Thus Mohammad, the son and grandson of Palestinian refugees in Gaza but now based in Ramallah in the West Bank, begins his post entitled "Death is more common than sleep." For the past 17 days, since the first set of attacks on Gaza, Mohammad has been sharing his calls home to family on KABOBfest so that the world may hear their stories.
Reading each day's account is seeing life in Gaza go from bad to worse. In yesterday's post Mohammad reminded us that bad is worse than most of us realize:
Palestinian suffering comes into focus whenever Israel goes on a large-scale rampage. But as my cousin reminded me from Gaza last night, the suffering is always there, it has just become accepted by those who do not experience it on a continuous basis. Before this massacre, the people of Gaza were barely living due to the crippling siege that had closed off the land, sea and air, that had blocked the entry of raw materials and supplies, of food and medicines, and that had led 97% of businesses in Gaza to close.
And yet last night, Mohammad posted this from the relative safety of Ramallah, in the West Bank:
its just past 330 am here, i was woken up by a cold caller from libya. after he hung up i noticed a message from areej, my uncle mohammads wifes: the tanks have reached us, theres smoke in the house, please pray for us.
i called her. i could hear explosions just outside, and machine gun fire. just before 2 am, israeli tanks and special forces had entered an area just outside tal al-hawa, near the community college. they'd come up against surprisingly tough and violent resistance. tanks firing randomly into neighbrhoods. white phosphorous munitions used to cover an aparent retreat. the entire apartment is filled with white smoke, the kids are up, screaming. there seems to be a definite retreat, but they're expecting the worst. they say to please keep praying for their safety and for the resistance. they dont know if they will live.