Waking up to news of death

Al-Zaytoun, a neighborhood in Gaza City, has witnessed repeated Israeli assaults. 

Khaled Daoud APA images

Life feels like a never-ending nightmare in the north of Gaza.

Every day we wake up and face the same hardship.

Every house bears witness to the scars of conflict.

Within its walls – or what remains of its walls – the silent echoes of lost loved ones mingle with the relentless struggle for survival.

Even the simplest things – food and water – are hard to come by.

We are all exhausted. For months, we have been waiting for this war to end.

Yet the war rages on, still claiming lives, still tearing families apart.

There is no sense of safety in Gaza. Israeli soldiers roam freely.

They come and go as they please, leaving destruction in their wake.

Homes are reduced to rubble, dreams are shattered like glass.

The siege on and massacre in al-Shifa hospital saw Israel turning a sanctuary of healing into a battleground.

Al-Zaytoun, a neighborhood of Gaza City, has witnessed repeated Israeli assaults.

Gaza has been attacked repeatedly by Israel before the current war.

Every time we have been attacked, we have tried to rebuild, to cope, to bring back a sense of normality. Israel has returned and destroyed everything all over again.

No time to grieve

We have no time to grieve amid all the chaos of the current war.

We bury our martyrs with heavy hearts. Their names are etched into our memories.

But we cannot afford to dwell on our losses. We have to stay strong for ourselves and for others.

That is the only way we can move forward.

Hani, my uncle, was shot dead by Israeli soldiers as he tried to get food from aid trucks. His sudden departure broke our hearts.

We are lost in sorrow.

All my family knew nonetheless that we must endure the pain. We must try to overcome our depression.

But it is hard. So hard.

Every day, we wake up to news of more deaths. More tragedy.

And we have to keep going, to keep fighting, even when it feels like there’s no hope left.

In Gaza, resilience is born out of necessity. In the end, it is all we have.

And even in the darkest of times, it’s enough to keep us going.

Nowadays, I don’t react with much shock or fear when I hear bombing or gunfire. That shows a profound sense of desensitization to violence and destruction.

It is a coping mechanism, born out of sheer exhaustion and frustration. A way to rationalize the incomprehensible scale of devastation that has become a grim reality.

This kind of thinking comes from a deep-seated belief that the lives and homes of our people hold little to no value for Israeli soldiers. Still, the constant threat of bombings and destruction exacts a heavy psychological toll for Palestinians.

Despair is widespread. We feel dehumanized, reduced to mere statistics in the eyes of soldiers who carry out bombings without a second thought.

Every time there is an explosion, we feel a sense of powerlessness and resignation, as we come to accept that our lives are at the mercy of forces beyond our control.

Water is a precious commodity that we can’t afford to waste. The simple act of fetching water has become a heavy burden, both physically and mentally.

Every trip drains our energy, leaving little room for productivity. I yearn for the ease of normal days, where water flowed effortlessly and our minds were free from the weight of constant worry.

The exhaustion seeps into our bones, sapping our strength and leaving us feeling defeated.

Each step carries the weight of a thousand struggles, reminding us of the barriers that stand between us and a better life.

For a little while, we could find food in markets at prices that were not too steep. But now food has become extremely expensive again.

People are no longer able to pay for food and other needs.

As if there weren’t enough threats to our health, we now have a new problem.

With little access to waste management services, many people are burning trash. Doing so releases toxic smoke.

The resulting pollution of our air causes respiratory problems, cardiovascular diseases, even cancer.

Children and older people are especially vulnerable to these health hazards.

The lack of medical services further aggravates the solution. People do not have the care they need to address the consequences of breathing polluted air.

Ahmed Sbaih is a writer based in Gaza.