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Palestine: “In Gaza our future is almost destroyed”

Categories: Middle East & North Africa, Israel, Palestine, Breaking News, Disaster, Humanitarian Response, International Relations, War & Conflict

In this roundup of blogposts from Gaza we hear from a teenager who just lost her friend and is scared for her own life, about a medical worker who was killed as he went to save someone, and from a man who asserts his lack of political affiliation: “I'm not Fatah, not Hamas. I like vodka.”

Two days ago, Australian activist Sharyn Lock mentioned the death of a particular teenager [1]:

Our local colleague Mo told us of a teenager from his youth group who died yesterday. 16-year-old Christian girl, Christine Wade'a al Turk, died of a heart attack brought on by a severe asthma attack, resulting from the stress of the ongoing strikes.

Now on Lamentations-Gaza we hear from Nour Kharma, a ninth-grade student, and friend of Christine [2]:

Today is the eighth day of this horrible war. To me yesterday was the worst day of all. When I woke up in the morning one of my friends called, his voice was very weird and when I asked how
was he. He was like “fine, but have you got any news about some of your friends?” I was really scared, and asked him what's wrong? He told me Christine died. I was in a big shock, and till now I don't
believe it. I threw the phone and started crying. I called some of my friends to make sure, and all of them were sad about her. She has been my friend for almost four years and we used to go to school and to the YMCA together. I'm sad, afraid, and worried at the same time, because she could've been my sister. I feel very sorry for her and her family.
Her parents did the best they can do, but it wasn't enough so the result was dying. What if my parents couldn't protect me and give me the support I need…will I die too?
What I can say now is that my future is almost destroyed. An Israeli rocket hit my school this morning, and the school was destroyed completely. I really can't imagine how come they're bombing religious and educational places such as mosques, schools, and universities (etc…) […] HELP US BECAUSE WE'RE ALL HUMAN BEINGS!!

Dina Hazem posts at the group blog Moments of Gaza [3]:

I have just got back from the hospital. I can only wish that I did not go there…i cannot describe to you what kind of scene it was: the wounded were everywhere…some are even being treated on the floor..in the corridors…it is way over capacity…and every minute another wounded comes in…and another and another…and the worst part is that most of them are children. The cries of children do not stop throughout the hospital not for one minute. And the wounds are not just any wounds…hands chopped, faces covered with blood and victims bleeding from different places. Around me were 3 mothers crying out loud at the loss of their sons and daughters…finding no one to ask for help but God and only God himself…the looks of their helpless but angry eyes…weak but traumatized faces…make me wonder what kind of life they will be living for the next days or months or
years…if they ever get to live. No one is being spared in Gaza.
Everyone and I mean everyone is a target. It is not a daily trauma. It is a trauma by the hours..and the minutes. The scene alone made me feel hopeless and desperate enough to wish to die, rather than live in constant frustration and trauma.

In his latest report, Palestinian photojournalist Sameh Habeeb says [4]:

Note: I might stop reporting either if I die or I flee my home. Shells rain down beside my house now. Pray for me…Pray for Me….

Canadian activist Eva Bartlett describes the killing of an emergency medical worker [5]:

A good, brave, and very funny man was killed yesterday as he loaded the body of a civilian twice-killed into an ambulance. Emergency medical workers, Arafa Hani Abd al Dayem, 35, and Alaa Ossama Sarhan, 21, had answered the call to retrieve Thaer Abed Hammad, 19, and his dead friend Ali, 19, who had been fleeing the shelling, when they were themselves hit by an Israeli tank's shell. […] A science teacher by profession, Arafa had volunteered as an emergency medic for 8 years.
He was delightful, warm, had a nice singing voice, and was not at all shy about being silly. I remember him stomping ridiculously around the now-vacated Jabaliya PRCS office (Israeli soldiers have taken over the area) saying he was hungry, very hungry, and chomping down on the bread and cheese that we had for a meal. I had the privilege of working one night with Arafa, of seeing his professionalism and his
humanity. “He wanted to die like that, helping our people,” Osama, a fellow medic told me. Not a martyr complex, so engineered by living with death, occupation, invasions, humiliation, and injustice for so
long, but a dedication to his work, to people. His killing has since been followed by those of 3 more emergency medics.

And in another post she tells

S. asks me the question every Palestinian is asking: “Why are they bombing us?” He adds the bit that many add: “I'm not Fatah, not Hamas. I like vodka.” He tells me he'll show me sometime, in the future. “If I have a future,” he adds with a grin.

Lebanese activist Natalie Abou Shakra writes at Moments of Gaza [6]:

I, the war expert now, discover that they are using new weaponry… yes, so…They (-Bomb!) are using another more destructive and penetrative type of shelling now… also, exceptionally deadly… and destructive (to the houses around it… so, people -(-bomb!) around the area of bombing… might fall dead to the bombing itself too…)(-Bomb! Damn it!) … so, all kinds of bombings are being used… I assure the US and the EU… and Egypt and KSA and Jordan and… and.. and.. oh, they haven't used stink bombs yet… (-Bomb!)… they already stink anyway… they stink of death and terror… Sitt Dalal told me stories of women who boiled oil and (-bomb!) water and threw them on the Zionists’ heads during previous invasions… (that is a great idea of-(bomb!)(-Bomb!) civil resistance… ) (by the way, the “Bomb!” idea is new… so, you might not see it in previous posts of mine…)(-Bomb!) (isn't this vexing… so, now you know how we feel?) I speak in an interview on(-Bomb!) on al mana-(-Bomb!-Bomb!)r….and Imad tells me that they want a report on us… I feel happy to have allowed for our message to break through screens… especially to the Arab world… (-bomb!)

Elena Qleibo works for Oxfam in Gaza, and posts at the Oxfam blog [7]:

Fifteen minutes ago Israeli helicopters dropped leaflets saying we should move to the centre of the city as they are going to start bombing the edge. They said they don't want to create an
inconvenience. That's a joke after the bombardment we have had in the last week. They have done this before, in the north and east of Gaza, to frighten people. Nobody in my building is moving.[…] Today I saw UN trucks coming from the Karni crossing. The problem is people are terrified of going out to the distribution point because the bombardment is so erratic. Also the trucks can't reach the areas where
the fighting is. […] I've been speaking to people in the refugee camps inside Gaza where the fighting has been heaviest and they are catatonic. They're paralysed. They don't know what's happening to them
and are just sitting waiting to see what's going to happen. It's all been very sudden and because it's so massive everybody is very shocked. Children are having a lot of problems – they are crying and
wetting the bed and not sleeping.

We end with a video from RafahKid, who says [8]:

after the bombs…video from Rafah but sorry no English subtitles but video speaks for itself. hard now to get video uploaded because of electricity. that is intentional perhaps.

The video, by YouTube user Adampal2008 [9], is here:

The video, by the International Solidarity Movement, features children rummaging through the rubble of what was once their house – along with testimonials from children and their parents on the horrors of experiencing the Israeli air strikes.