We are living through a catastrophe

Children are being robbed of basic rights. 

Omar Ashtawy APA images

Every major Israeli attack on Gaza that I have experienced had a negative impact. But the current genocidal war has completely changed my life.

Every single day of this war, I have witnessed a scene of martyrdom.

I am constantly afraid.

Almost 170 days have passed since the war began. They feel like a lifetime.

Life changed on 7 October.

My family started to buy things that we needed.

It was not long before the supply of food, water and fuel were cut.

Soon canned goods were the main items available in the markets. There was a shortage of fresh food.

It became necessary to light fires so that we could cook. That means we have to search for wood.

In the absence of alternatives, some neighbors burn clothes and plastic material so that they can prepare food and heat themselves.

Finding water has become a huge challenge. It is very rare that we can take showers.

As we do not have electricity, I struggle to charge my laptop and phone.

My father spends hours every day charging my devices so that I can continue my work. He goes to the hospital near us for that purpose.

Sometimes charging is impossible because there is a power outage at the hospital.

Losing strength

Having food is the most basic of human rights. Israel is denying us that basic right.

Food is far more expensive than it used to be.

We eat just one meal a day so that we can keep going.

All the stress, fear and anxiety we are experiencing is making us lose strength.

The internet and communications blackouts imposed on us were the worst things about this war. They made us isolated.

I felt like we might die without the world knowing.

I was very worried about my sister.

Before the war, I could get to where she lived within 15 minutes. But when the Israeli army invaded our city, they in effect separated us from her.

What if something bad happened to her? How would we communicate with her and find out if she was okay?

My work was greatly affected by the blackouts.

I had prepared a number of articles and videos. But I could not submit them to the media outlets which publish my work.

I have lost many relatives and friends in this war.

As well as being a journalist, I am a teacher. A number of my students have been martyred.

And I am very worried about those who are still alive. I have met some of them in places they are sheltering, others in tents.

The students I taught before the war are from a privileged background. They are not accustomed to the level of humiliation, hunger, displacement and oppression they are now enduring.

Every moment I pray for this war to stop.

I was hoping that the world’s powerful governments would save us from this torment. But more than five months have passed since this war began.

It has still not stopped.

We are living through a catastrophe.

The war has robbed us of safety, warmth and the right to life. It has robbed us of the trust we placed in international law and institutions that supposedly uphold human rights.

It has made us no longer believe the slogans that leading Europeans chant about human rights and freedom.

Ruwaida Amer is a journalist based in Gaza.