The gates of Hell, the window to Heaven

I have a routine of sorts. I monitor the situation back home in Gaza all day — I keep Al Jazeera English on continuously as long as I am home, despite my son’s Yousuf’s nagging to switch to cartoons. He stopped asking several days ago, when, tearful and angry, I told him Gaza is being bombed, that Seedo and Tete (Grandma and Grandpa) are in danger. Laila El-Haddad writes from the US

We talk in silence, we stand together

I receive the dreaded 9pm call from my father. My heart skipped a beat — late night calls always bear bad news. “More bombings, I can’t sleep. Israeli navy gunships are bombarding Gaza City’s Tel al-Hawa neighborhood, you know where Amo Musab lives, where he built his new house,” he says, referring to his cousin. Laila El-Haddad writes from the US

Nowhere to hide from the bombing

“You don’t know anymore; you don’t know who is alive, you feel you are in a trap, you don’t know who is a target,” said my friend and neighbor in Gaza City, journalist Taghreed El-Khodary. The fear resonated in her voice while she was on the phone to Al-Jazeera. Taghreed lives on a street near my parents. “Where to? Where can I go seek refuge to?” she continued. 

Trapped, traumatized and terrorized

My father and I made simultaneous back to back appearances on domestic CNN and CNN International last night. My father spoke calmly, eloquently, in the pitch dark of besieged Gaza, with only the the fire of Israeli bombs illuminating his world. “They are destroying everything that is beautiful and living,” he told the anchor. His hands were trembling, he confessed, as my mother and he lay on the floor of their home, where they moved their mattress far away from the windows. Laila El-Haddad writes from the US

Bloodied in Gaza as the world silently watches

“There is a complete blackout in Gaza now. The streets are as still as death.” I am speaking to my father, Moussa el-Haddad, a retired physician who lives in Gaza City, on Skype, from Durham, North Carolina in the United States, where I have been since mid 2006 — the month Gaza’s borders were hermetically sealed by Israel, and the blockade of the occupied territory further enforced. Laila El-Haddad writes from the US