“We Palestinians teach life to those who do not know what life is worth.”
I’ve heard this saying for as long as I can remember. However, I have not known the full meaning behind this saying until the last few months, months of sleeplessness, of wreckage and ruin. All of us who were living in Gaza since October have known a constant state of loss one way or another; if we are lucky enough to still be alive.
I spent seven days in my home in the north before having to flee the Israeli bombing, being displaced to the middle of Gaza where I stayed until recently. For much of this time, I have not been able to get in contact with most of my family, relatives, and friends. We had no electricity, water, mobile signal, internet, fuel, and I was so afraid I even lost the ability to sleep.
And now I have arrived in Egypt, after being forcibly displaced from my own home in Gaza City, one of the 2.2 million Palestinian people trapped and trying to survive. I managed to leave a few weeks ago after going through 43 days of constant bombings. Part of me feels like I am still there. Whenever a civilian aircraft passes by, I unintentionally and instinctually react, covering my head with my arms expecting the buildings around me to start falling.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians have been killed and we are still counting, when we are even able. Overcrowded areas are constantly bombarded and targeted, areas teeming with children with nowhere else to go. When will this madness end?
We kept asking ourselves the same questions every day: Will we be next? Or will it be our friends and relatives who were displaced and are staying far away from us? What about the children in our house? Are they already gone, have they disappeared under the rubble?
I still remember, every day before lying down unable to sleep, I would take a closer look at my father sleeping next to me because I knew he might never wake up, And when we would get up in the morning, I would try to cheer him up, ‘we have at least one more day to live, or even only seconds, but we are together.”.
Do you know how we used to reassure ourselves every day when we heard an F16 or an F35 pass by? We would say, “Do not worry, these missiles are not for us, if they were we would not have time to know it, we would already be gone.”
Two months have passed by since the beginning of these events, and I ask myself, how many people will be killed? How many children will lose their parents? How many families will be disappeared, not even given the dignity of being buried by families instead of by buildings?