Palestine: Retaining a sense of humanity in Gaza

As the situation in Gaza deteriorates from one day to the next, many are struggling not only with the enormous difficulties of daily life, but with the change in values they see around them, in a society that has become dominated by Islamist thinking. In this post, a blogger in Gaza writes a passionate cry of despair.

Averting Depression describes his state of mind:

ندما أحاول أن أعزي نفسي بوجودي في البقعة من الأرض ؛ و عندما أحاول أن أرفض هواجس الرحيل من هذا المكان الذي أنتميت له أربعين عاما بالتمام بحكم الميلاد , و من ثم بحكم االمعاناة و الإنحياز لها , و بحكم الأحلام و السجائر و العرق و الدم ؛ و عندما أتشبث بفكرة : ” تشاؤم العقل و تفاؤل الإرادة ” التي تلازمني منذ عشرين عاما؛ و عندما أختار أن أنحاز لإنسانيتي قبل أي شئ و كل شيء ؛ و عندما أحاول ألا أخوض في وحل غزة و مجاريها , فأن فكرة أن أكون مواطنا عالميا في غزة تداهمني إلى حد الجنون , محاولا التغلب على جنون الواقع الذي ظهرت تجلياته بجنون منقطع النظير عندما إنتصر السيف و البشاعة على كل أمل بالأفضل قبل عام في غزة .
Ruefully I try to console myself for my presence in this stain on the earth. When I try to dismiss thoughts of escaping this place to which I have belonged for an entire 40 years, by virtue of birth, and then by virtue of its troubles and isolation, and by virtue of dreams, cigarettes, sweat and blood; when I cling to [Gramsci’s] idea of ‘pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will’, which has been inseparable from me for 20 years; when I choose to favour my humanity before anything and everything; when I try to not to plunge into the mud and sewage of Gaza; then the idea that I am an international citizen in Gaza overwhelms me to the point of obsession, and I try to overcome the insanity of the reality whose revelations manifested themselves with an unparalleled madness, when a year ago in Gaza the sword and ugliness were victorious over every hope for something better.
هل لي أن أكون كوسموبوليتينيا في غزة وسط هذا القحط القاتل و الحصار الظالم و البشاعة التي تأبى أن يكون لها نظيرا. أحاول أن أحافظ على قيم ما و ألا أفعل ما يفعل الرومان عندما أكون في روما , و لكن هل أستطيع و غزة و هوائها المغموس بالماء يحاصرني من كل فج و ميل , و هل لي و قيمها الهلامية تلتف حولي من الأمام و الخلف و من فوق و من تحت .
هل لي ؟؟ ليس أمامي سوى ذلك لأعيش فيها و لها غير راكلاً أحلامي أو قاتلا لها بومضة فكرة جريئة أو بقرار متهور . ليس لي إلا أن أحافظ على إنسانيتي وسط هذا الركام من البشاعة.
Is it possible for me to be a cosmopolitan citizen in Gaza in the midst of this murderous scarcity and the oppressive siege and the ugliness that is determined to be unique? I try to retain some values, and to not do as the Romans do in Rome; however, is it possible while Gaza and its air saturated in water besiege me from every side and direction? Is it possible while its viscous values coil themselves around me, from in front and behind and above and below?

Is it possible? In front of me there is nothing except to live in Gaza, and Gaza can do nothing but kick my dreams or kill them with the spark of a foolhardy idea, or an irresponsible decision. It is only possible for me to retain my humanity amidst this mass of ugliness.

After writing this post, Averting Depression had a terrible nightmare which left him in tears, and he wondered whether the post caused it:

قد تكون كلمة كوسموبوليتي هي الذنب و هي الجريمة التي ارتكبته قبل الحلم / الكابوس بدقائق أو ساعات . تعرفت على الكلمة أول مرة عندما قرأت المانفيستو قبل أكثر من عشرين عاما , و كانت قرأتي السريعة للأيديولوجيا تسقط على هذه الكلمة بعدا سلبيا على ما أذكر . و أستخدام الكلمة هنا في واقعنا الذي نغوص فيه في الوحل/ المجاري هنا في غزة إلى درجة الغرق قد يوحي بالهروب من الواقع الذي طالما تفاخرت بالتشبث به و الانتماء له.
Maybe the word ‘cosmopolitan’ was the problem, the crime I committed just minutes or hours before the dream/nightmare. I first came across the word when I read the [Communist] Manifesto more than 20 years ago. In my quick reading of the ideology this word came to my attention, in a negative way as far as I remember. I use the word here referring to our reality in Gaza, in which we are submerged in mud/sewage to the point of drowning. Maybe it will create the impression of fleeing from the reality that I was often proud of clinging and belonging to.
هل استطيع هنا في غزة تسمية الاستشهاد بالانتحار؟ هل استطيع هنا أن نسمي البلادة باسمها أم أنها الدفاع عن الحياة في واقع تقطع فيه رؤوس كل من يتنحنح؟ هل نستطيع أن نسقط دراسات الغرب عن مجتمعات محددة و واضحة المعالم على مجتمع هلامي الشكل ؟ هل نستطيع أن نسقط قيم الثقافة الكونية على واقعنا المحلي؟

العقل و الفم مليئان بالأسئلة التي تتكاثر كما تتكاثر الأرانب, و العقل عقيم عندما أحتاج الاجابات .

Here in Gaza am I able to call martyrdom ‘suicide’? Can we call apathy what it is, or is it a defence against a life in which the heads of those who clear their throats are cut off? Can we abandon the writings of the West about defined societies with clear features, for a society that seems gelatinous? Can we abandon the values of universal culture for our local reality?

My mind and mouth are full of questions, which are multiplying like rabbits; my mind is unproductive when I need answers.


  • Ali

    The situation in Gaza was somehow to be expected, since the divide between the authorities. Israel on one side is interested in pushing up the West Bank authorities, and on the other side, will do whatever it takes to lower Gaza on the scale of importance and make it to a pain for everyone. The only way I can see is, to have Hamas president fly all over the place in the middle east. the situation requires action. He must fly to Saudi Arabia, to Egypt, to Tehran, to Syria and negotiate with them for help. He must draw attention to Gaza and open up the closed boundaries SOMEHOW. israel will always try to kill. Unfortunately, there is too much Zionism meanwhile in the world. It is legitimate to be Zionist (unfortunately) now days, in a similar way it is legitimate having same sex marriages in some states in this world. So wake up please. the world is changing. No one will help anyone because of Religion anymore. it is about interests. And one last comment. Gaza should look realling in having help from CHINA. perhaps chinese can offer protection, for some other benefits such as logistics, and that Gaza people will learn CHINESE as first second language. China would love to demonstrate power to USA, perhaps in Gaza!

  • michael

    the name the father the holy spirit amin
    human can not live with food only but by every word that came from the mouth of good and we are all here to stand with you people of gaza and be patient God will be with you and i am from here i would like to say to stope this guilty and an ufal firing and let God be with you

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