I am standing over the ruins of a house in Gaza City, peering at the horizon.
Most probably, the body of a martyr lies under the rubble. The body of someone who could not respond to an Israeli “warning.”
Such “warnings” are comprised of several artillery shells, missiles from a reconnaissance drone, followed by another missile from an F-16, a warplane made in the United States. A gift to the Palestinian people from a superpower.
Israel used to call some warnings a “knock on the roof” – firing at a home to announce a larger attack was imminent. The “knock on the roof” policy seems to have been stopped.
In this house, a woman lived with her husband and three sons and three daughters. They had also provided refuge to relatives from northern Gaza who had been displaced.
Now the house and the families who lived and took shelter in it are gone forever.
The adjacent house is “luckier.” Its owner inspects it with a sense of astonishment.
His neighbor screams when she sees all that she once owned turned into rubble because the US president believes that “Israel has the right to defend itself.”
Defend itself against whom? Terrorists!
If Israel keeps killing at the rate it has been, the official death toll will reach 10,000 very soon. About 40 percent of the dead are children.
Make me be Superman
I imagine that my ghost is standing beside the ruins of another house in al-Rimal. Al-Rimal used to be a docile and peaceful neighborhood in Gaza City.
My ghost pats one of my university students – a brilliant student – on the shoulder, offering her a tissue to wipe her tears. It embraces her father and carries her little sister, who weeps as she searches for their mother under the rubble.
Ghosts do not cry. My ghost is an exception.
This incident must be recorded as that of “the first weeping ghost in history.”
My ghost sings to the pretty woman sitting on a rock in the middle of what was once a home. A home that contained dreams, hopes and desires.
My ghost wipes her tears and weeps along with her.
My ghost reflects on the pain of birth.
My ghost goes to Nuseirat refugee camp.
In Nuseirat, my ghost hears the cooing of a dove coming from the south, from Khan Younis. The dove bears the story of another home.
The home is a lover. A woman who has feelings for you and for whom you have feelings.
She is you and you are her. There are no boundaries. No separation.
When the home is demolished, something within you dies.
“Where is my mom?” a little girl screams.
“Where is my dad?”
The girl is beside the rubble of yet another house. The rubble where the cooing dove had landed.
I try to pull myself together and fail.
My shadow refuses to return to my body. My ghost rebels against its master.
On Laylat-al-Qadr – the Night of Destiny – my prayer was: “Oh God, make me be Superman during these massacres. I ask for nothing else, oh merciful God.”
Make me be Superman and I will not attack any Israeli, either soldier or civilian. I will not be aggressive towards either Benjamin Netanyahu or Itamar Ben-Gvir.
I will not even be aggressive towards Benny Gantz, who has boasted of sending Gaza back to “stone age” with all the slaughter he ordered in 2014.
And I will not be any threat to Joe Biden or Rishi Sunak.
The only thing I will do will be to intercept the shells before they kill the children of Gaza.
My ghost decides to take leave. It is gone forever.
Haidar Eid is an educator and independent commentator from Gaza. Twitter: @haidareid