When will Gaza’s schools be safe?

Those schools which have not been destroyed are serving as shelters to Gaza’s displaced people. 

Omar Ashtawy APA images

Israel’s war against Gaza is a war against education.

Numerous universities and schools have been attacked.

Everyone is affected in some way.

I have lost all hope of graduating from college this year.

Before the war began, I decided to take the maximum number of classes. That would mean I could complete my degree within three and a half years of enrolling at college.

I wanted to complete my degree as soon as possible. I have other aspirations for my life and I wanted to focus on them.

For the first few weeks of the war, I was consumed with fear about my future. What would happen to the dreams I had worked so hard to achieve?

Now, however, my only hope is that I, my family and friends will emerge from the war safely.

Before the war began, I was studying English at al-Aqsa University in Gaza City. Its campus has now been destroyed.

During the early stages of the war, I tried to study on my own. But as time went on, my hope of being able to resume my studies dwindled.

At the moment, I should be preparing for my final semester at university.

Young people around the world are able to attend college. Education is a fundamental right.

In Gaza, we are denied that right.

I consider myself fortunate.

Many of my friends and peers at university were killed. Many teachers have been killed, too.

No time limit to war

When the war began, I had been teaching students at a secondary school for less than a month.

A supervisor had visited me and expressed satisfaction with my style of teaching.

Because of that visit, I was asked to give a presentation to a group of supervisors.

I eagerly accepted this opportunity and spent hours preparing the presentation. The topic chosen was Israel’s previous wars on Gaza.

I would speak about how they had caused devastation to places of beauty.

The presentation was scheduled to take place on 9 October.

The current war began two days before that. So the presentation had to be canceled.

Together with my students, I had prepared a play as part of the presentation. We had collected pictures of the destruction from previous wars.

That destruction was terrible.

But the devastation caused by the current war is beyond anything we could have imagined.

Some of my students were martyred and the school itself was destroyed.

Education is on hold in Gaza. Nobody knows for how long.

This war seems to have no time limit.

Our future has become blurry. All we are thinking about is survival.

Those schools which haven’t been destroyed or badly damaged have been turned into shelters for displaced people. It is impossible to imagine what things will be like once this war finishes.

Donya Ahmad Abu Sitta is a writer in Gaza.