Nightmares all day long

Khan Younis has been turned into a ghost town. 

Bashar Taleb APA images

I live in Khan Younis, southern Gaza.

After the recent Israeli ground invasion, movement in more than 90 percent of our city became impossible.

Khan Younis is now a ghost city.

My father insists on staying home, which means all his life to him. Good and bad memories.

For me, our house is the place where I grew and learned. My bedroom and its various details mean the world to me.

My desk, where I spent many long nights studying and writing.

My wardrobe, which I tidy often.

I am afraid that the Israeli army could mess with it and our house. Or that they would simply bomb everything, so that nothing is left except our memories.

Every night at around the same time, the Israeli tanks start shelling Khan Younis. The shelling is so intense that it feels like it’s directly above my head.

I look at my limbs and I thank God that I still have them.

Once the night is over, the nightmare of a fast approaching death ends. And then the nightmare of a slow death begins.

When my brother comes home from a quick trip to the supermarket, I ask “What did you find?”

He is quiet and his hands are empty. I understand.

We try to silence our hungry stomachs with some of the canned food we have stored since the beginning of this war.

We ask how long the war will continue. The hardest thing is that we do not know when it will be over.

Does chocolate threaten Israel?

Every day that this war is extended we lose more of our health and our dreams.

Every day that this war is extended means that an idea or ambition we held is gone.

Every day that this war is extended, we ask the question: Why us?

I don’t want to die.

I want to live.

I want a ceasefire.


The “humanitarian pause” that the media made a big deal out of in November did not turn out as expected.

More aid will be allowed into Gaza, we were told.

We didn’t get anything.

My brother-in-law stood in line for two days in a row to fill half a gas cylinder during the “pause.”

My immediate family didn’t get to buy any gas. My father’s health condition doesn’t allow him to stand for a long time.

I searched for a chocolate bar in many supermarkets. It has been two months since I last ate some chocolate.

I was hoping that there would be a little chocolate in the aid provided. Alas, no.

Does a chocolate bar pose a threat to Israel’s security?

That is how we spent the days of the “pause” – searching for the unavailable.

Young women have their own struggle.

I am very particular when it comes to personal hygiene. Perhaps I care too much about it.

I care even more when I am menstruating.

I change the sanitary pads regularly. I check that my clothes are spotless.

This is no longer the case during the war. Sanitary pads are no longer available.

I have no idea how I will deal with my next period. I am already too anxious.

Alaa Abu Shammala is a dentist in Gaza.