Goodnight My Love, See You in Heaven -- Diary From an Aid Worker in Gaza

Below is a blog from Mohammed Ali, colleague of mine with Oxfam in Gaza. He writes from him home in Gaza city.


Sunday, I met with people outside of Shifa Hospital, Gaza city. I could not believe the stories I was hearing. An old man told me he was going blind. His diabetic condition was deteriorating and he needed to be treated quickly so not to lose his sight. He was turned away; he was not in a severe enough state compared to the people filling the hospital corridors and there were not enough doctors to see to him.

Medical teams cannot cope; doctors are working twenty-four hour shifts, there are not enough beds, equipment or medicine to deal with this humanitarian crisis.

I am hearing more and more stories of people trapped under rubble - ambulance teams unable to reach them, so they wait, to die. While I was out, one man approached me and asked whether or not I would help him to clear up dead bodies, another asked if I worked for a humanitarian organisation, before waiting for my answer, he shouted out while looking up to the sky, " Where is humanity?"

The situation has now reached such a critical point that doctors frequently confront dilemmas such as these - to treat the child who is bleeding to death or the baby who has severe head injuries? While doctors ask themselves these tough questions, some politicians continue to debate whether or not we are facing a humanitarian crisis.

Since the Israeli military attacks started on Gaza, no salaries have been received and hardly any one has been able to work. Many people here depend on agricultural farming to make a living, and the Gazan population relies on these farmers to be able to eat vegetables; the blockade is allowing hardly anything in. No farmer will go to their farmlands these days, like all of us, they fear being killed if they move out of their homes or even if they stay put.

Prices of goods are increasing by the day as they become more and more scarce. Candles are no longer available; a much-needed item these days given the prolonged power cuts we have to endure. So we started to use our torches but the batteries soon ran out and there are no batteries to be found here any more.

Every hour, fleeting images from around the world are brought to our TV screens. When I have electricity, I watch these scenes of people enjoying themselves and ask myself, what is the difference between them and me? Why are our lives worlds apart in spite of living on the same planet?

I wonder, are these same people asking themselves the same question when they watch the horror unfold in Gaza?

The occupation has put Gaza on a drip feed; we have had just enough to keep us alive but not enough to make us feel as though we are really living... now this. If I make it to the end of this conflict, I want to leave the minute I am able to. I do not want my children to grow up in this environment, strangled by the occupation, familiar with the sounds of F16 fighter jets, unable to leave the country if they need life-saving treatment.

This is not a natural disaster like the Tsunami; this is a man made disaster that deepens while the world watches.

As the death toll continues to rise, my wife and I spend our waking hours waiting for our turn to come. Now, at night before trying to get to sleep I say to her, "goodnight my love, see you in heaven."