Romantic moments under artillery

Palestinian mourns eight-year-old Hadil Ghaber during her funeral in Beit Lahia April 2006. Hadil was killed and 12 other people wounded yesterday when an Israeli shell struck a building in the northern Gaza Strip town. Seven family members were among the wounded from the artillery round, the sources added. (MaanImages/Wesam Saleh)


GAZA — The charming fragrance of lemon filled the area when my wife and I were on the roof enjoying the warm breeze last night in Jabalia Refugee Camp, north of Gaza.

My wife, Suha, was happy with the scene of the moon in the middle of the partially cloudy sky and the aura of sanctity.

Suha’s eyes were glittering and her beautiful smile was shining in the middle of darkness. We were chatting and exchanging jokes. The innocent laughs of my wife added a special taste to the romantic moment.

In my inner feeling I paved the way to spend a very warm night with my wife. Suddenly, the explosions literally rocked the ground of my apartment building. The Israeli artillery shot tens of rockets on “unoccupied areas!”

Suha was so terrified. Horror and fear replaced the brightness of her face. She asked me to go downstairs. I tried to calm her down by claiming that the bombs hit “unoccupied areas.”

“No, They (the Israeli artillery) target houses and buildings, two days ago they killed a child girl (Hadeel Ghaben) and all of her family were wounded,” she said while trembling.

We went downstairs to our apartment. Not to resume our romantic moments, but to follow up news through local radio stations. But the electric power was cut off.

Our apartment turned into a very horrible cottage. Very dark, the double- thuds of artillery increasing in number and intensity.

My wife wiped the curtain looking for more moonlight, but the window was strongly shaken when a shell exploded in the area. The cries of the horrified nephews and nieces were rising from the lower floor.

I went to a grocery for buying some candles, the grocer was so busy in selling candles as other people were before me.

My mother and brother, in the first floor, were also waiting for the candles. My Mother, Fatima 60-year-old, hates such circumstances. Such sounds forcibly oblige her to remember tens of her relatives and neighbors who were killed by Zionists in 1948.

“These sounds of explosions exactly like the sounds we heard when they (the Zionist gangs) attacked Brair (her village) in 1948,” she said, and prayed to God to protect us.

The lights of the candles come from different directions and some of the light moon attracted our feeling which is distorted by the sound of the bombs.

My wife and I were setting tightly. We were observing both the moon through the window, and waiting for ending the explosions.

I could not curb my deep sighing and anger. I was so upset as such daily Israeli practices not only hit our houses, but also touch and harm our warm feelings. They do strongly intervene into our life that we can not practice our very special life.

My wife put her head on my shoulder and let her lids down. That night seemed longer than usual. The dawn began knocking windows, and the sparrows were chirping when my wife woke up and asked: “Any body was killed?”

Sami Abu Salem lives in Jabalia Refugee Camp and works as an English news and features writer at the Palestine News Agency (WAFA). He has also worked at the International Press Center of the Palestinian Authority State Information Service, and works as a freelance writer for local newspapers, focusing on literature and arts.