I want to write about the suffering of my people and my family in these days of siege against the people of Gaza. At least 888 people have been killed and more than 3,700 injured. The International Committee of the Red Cross has accused the Israeli military of repeatedly refusing to allow ambulances to go to the al-Zeitoun area of Gaza City. As a result, those who are injured become those who die, a premeditated and willful violation of human rights.
In my house we can’t get basic needs. No food. No bread. No fuel. No future. Yesterday, my father went to the bakery at 5am. He waited 5 hours to get one loaf of bread, which is not enough for my family because there are 11 of us. So today it was my turn. I went to all the bakeries — all were closed.
There is no safe place we can go. We cannot communicate with our relatives and friends — networks are down as missiles rain on our homes, mosques and even hospitals.
Our life is centered around the burials of those who have died, our martyrs. At night our camp, Jabaliya refugee camp, is a ghost town, with no sounds other than those of Israeli military aircraft.
There is horror every minute and it is clear especially in the lives of children. For example, there were five sisters in one family killed in their home by the Israeli occupation forces. But there are 800,000 other children in Gaza, all afraid, all waiting for someone or something to help them. They are caught in a prison that is becoming a concentration camp. Every day we sleep and open our eyes to the Israeli crimes of killing children and women and destroying civilians’ homes. My words are unable to convey my feelings about this life in Gaza.
I have two messages to the world, to those who claim they love peace and seek freedom.
Imagine your life consisting of no electricity, destroyed homes, the sounds and strikes of missiles, day and night, and the only hunger as great as that for food is the hunger for an end to this occupation and siege. Imagine it is not just you but your children and your family who tell you through their eyes and cries: “We are afraid of the missiles.” “We cannot sleep.” “We may never sleep again.” Imagine you are the dam and the river of blood has turned into a flash flood. How long could you stand it?
We wouldn’t have to stand it any longer if the world stood with us. If they demanded an end to the siege and the killings and demolition of houses for our children. If they demanded assistance reach the people through rallies and sit-ins.
Finally, I invite you to come to Gaza and see the Holocaust. Because despite the siege, the barriers, the killing of my people and the destruction of their homes, and the total destruction of our lives by the Israeli occupation, they cannot and will not kill the will of our people for equality and justice.
Update: After taking this testimony, the Middle East Children’s Alliance received a message from Mohammed that all the homes in his neighborhood have been destroyed. He and his family are now staying at the United Nations-administered school in Jabaliya, where 43 people were killed in an Israeli attack on 6 January. He cannot reach his brother and does not know if he is alive.
Mohammed Fares Al Majdawali is a university student, member of al-Assria Children’s Library, and volunteer with Middle East Children’s Alliance, which is sending medical aid to Gazans under siege (www.mecaforpeace.org). He lives in Jabaliya Refugee Camp with his family and aspires to be a professional filmmaker.