Witnessing a war waged against your people

Thick smoke rises after an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, 9 January 2009. (Wissam Nassar/MaanImages)

Sixteen days since it began, the war on Gaza rages on. It’s a war that does not exempt from its targets a child, a woman, or old man, or a school, a mosque or a house.

I am still following the news minute by minute to check on my family in Gaza; it is so hard to see a real war waged against your people, and you far away and can’t do anything to help them.

Western media present it as a war against Hamas, yet what is happening on the ground is a war against civilian people. So far, more than 800 persons have been killed and at least 3,500 injured. Thirty-five percent are children and women. Mosques, United Nations-administered schools and houses are attacked, which means that no place is safe in Gaza.

All of my family are staying in one room. Expecting that a missile could attack them any moment, they prefer to die all together. My little brothers and sisters are very scared and don’t sleep well and the bombing goes on day and night.

My pregnant sister, and she is due next week, and she is having a very hard time. My niece Basmala, three years old, is very scared as well, and when I talked to her she said: “I am afraid from the missile, it destroys our house, it killed my friends whom went with me to the kindergarten.” Her friends were four-year-old Deema and three-and-a-half year old Ahmad who were attacked by an F-16 rocket while they were staying with their family at home. The rocket killed three other brothers, 13-year-old Sudqi, 12-year-old Ahmed and 15-year-old Muhammad. Their sister Alaa is 11 years old and lost her arm and their mother is in trauma. This is an example of a family that lives not far from my house. In addition, eight houses in my neighborhood were completely destroyed. This is why I am so worried about my family.

The day Israel began bombarding Gaza, an acquaintance of mine, Ayman, a 23-year-old from Rafah city in the southern Gaza Strip, went to check on his fiance in Jabaliya refugee camp. He was having a cup of tea with his fiance when a rocket attacked the house and killed him.

I cannot express enough how dirty this war is, and the amount of destruction it has made. My family tells me that Gaza is completely different now. Israeli aircraft changed the whole Gaza Strip. This happens after a year and a half of closure, causing widespread shortages of basic commodities and fuel. My family has had no power or water for 15 days. Luckily, the telecommunication is still working, otherwise I would go crazy.

Hospitals in Gaza lack medical support; it reached a point where there injured are treated on the floor, as there are no more beds available. The morgues are filled to capacity with those who have been killed.

The UN Security Council called for ceasefire, but Israeli forces do not care. I wonder when the so-called international community will take real action to stop this war.

However, the people of Gaza are very pleased by all demonstrations going on in the world in solidarity with them, as they make them feel that they are not alone.

Palestinians are human beings, and they are asking for the protection and freedom enjoyed by other people in the world. They want to live peacefully, and move freely. Yet, they still need your prayers.

Originally from Gaza, Palestine, Mohammed Abu Asaker holds a BA in English from the Islamic University of Gaza and has attended leadership, management and peace trainings in the United States, Japan, Egypt and Palestine. He worked for three years with USAID sub-contractors in Gaza as a project coordinator and project manager. In 2002 Mohammed published a human rights report in The Palestinian Human Rights Monitor entitled, “Misfortunate Rafah: Destruction and Suffering Everywhere.”

Related Links