On Friday morning, a fragile truce came into effect in Gaza.
After nearly 50 days under constant attack, the truce gives us a little break. But in this war-torn territory, relief remains elusive.
An eerie quiet prevails on the first day of the truce.
We may not hear the deafening roars of Israel’s bombardment. But the noise of missiles continues to haunt us.
The truce may shield us from witnessing the immediate destruction of homes and buildings. But the indelible images of martyrs linger, refusing to be erased.
For those who have lost their homes, the truce offers no solace. Families grappling with the void left by lost children find no respite in this pause.
People searching in the ruins of buildings for their loved ones know no truce.
The lack of electricity and water fit for drinking adds to the misery as people perform basic tasks like bake bread or venture out on the streets to attend funerals and check on relatives.
For me, the absence of joy is palpable.
I am exhausted and my body aches after all the sleepless nights I have endured.
Every day, I have been checking the phone – when it is charged – for heart-wrenching news.
Calm amid the wreckage
While the world may perceive otherwise, Gaza does not forget its pain. In Maghazi refugee camp – where I live – scenes of devastation persist.
The truce is a period of collective effort. People are working to clear rubble and search for bodies of those killed, though not yet found.
The air in Gaza is heavy with sadness. Families shattered, lives lost, landmarks erased.
A visit to the streets in Maghazi camp reduces me to tears at the sight of leveled homes and other buildings that have been destroyed.
We have very little electricity and fuel. Cooking is done on open fires.
The sky of Gaza once was vibrant. Now it is painted with the hues of depression, mirroring the despair of Gaza’s people.
This truce is not a reprieve for those forced to evacuate from the northern half of Gaza. Nor is it a reprieve for those sheltering in schools, battling the cold without adequate clothing.
It is not a solution. It is a painful reminder of the urgency for a lasting ceasefire.
We yearn for the right to live peacefully on our land, to cherish moments, celebrate birthdays, and pursue education without the borders that strangle our aspirations.
In our plea for peace, we ask if it is really a crime to be born Palestinian in Gaza?
We deserve the chance to rebuild, dream and live free from the constant specter of war.
A lasting ceasefire is not just a necessity. It is a human right.
We implore the world to recognize our right.
Can we be content with fleeting moments of calm amid the wreckage?
The scars of our suffering run deep. They are not confined to the physical destruction but etched into the collective psyche of our people.
Beyond the immediate needs for electricity, water and shelter lies a fundamental yearning – the right to live peacefully in our homeland.
Our aspirations are no different to that of any other nation.
The ongoing tragedy in Gaza is not just a regional concern; it is a stark reminder of the urgency for a comprehensive and lasting solution.
The echoes of our plea resonate not only in the devastated streets of Maghazi but across borders and oceans.
We are not simply victims seeking temporary relief. We are a resilient people, yearning for a future unburdened by shackles.
We are asking the world to envision a Gaza that transcends despair.
A ceasefire would not be the destination. It would be the beginning of a journey toward a future where every child in Gaza can grow, learn and dream without the shadow of war looming overhead.
Eman Alhaj Ali is a journalist and translator based in Gaza.