Palestine: “I do not want my kids to see me torn into pieces”

How does it feel to be unable to protect your children? In this roundup of blogs from Gaza we hear from a mother who is wracked with guilt at seeing her children's terror: “Was I mistaken to have kids in the first place? Do I not have the right to be a mother?”

Palestinian photojournalist Sameh Habeeb blogs at Gaza Strip, The Untold Story:

Most of the Gaza Strip plunges into deep darkness since the start of this war. I find several hardships to send out this report due to power problem. Today, a rocket targeted my uncle's house. My house got several splinters and rocket shrapnel. Thanks to God, we all safe but I don't know what will happen next. I live east of Gaza, Toffah area, were artillery shells rained down every single moment.

Natalie Abou Shakra, a Lebanese activist, writes at the group blog Moments of Gaza. In her post she translates two leaflets dropped by the Israeli military asking the citizens of Gaza to provide information on the whereabouts of Hamas fighters. Natalie comments:

What really shocked me is the username they chose for their email. “Helpgaza2008″ ?!

I think this e-mail of theirs deserves to be bombed with the right kind of messages!

Nirmeen Kharma Elsarraj writes at the group blog Lamentations-Gaza:

There are things that are not well reported in the news, feelings!! I have three children, a daughter Nour who is 14, a son Adam who is 9 and another son Ali who is 3. We live in an area in Gaza city that used to be described ‘safe’. Nowhere is safe anymore. My children cannot sleep and I cannot help them. The feelings of helplessness and guilt (which always accompanies your inability to protect or at least comfort your children) are stronger than those of fear and horror. My daughter was telling a journalist on the phone yesterday that she had never got the real support she sought from me whenever there was a shelling. I was shocked!! I felt so guilty because my daughter felt my fears. But is it not normal to be scared after all?! Adam is asthmatic and he uses a ventilator. Due to the stress and the pollution resulting from rubbles, he is getting more frequent asthma attacks and there is no electricity for his ventilator. Each time he has an attack, we have to put the generator on for him and then put it off. There is no enough fuel to keep the generator on and we have no idea till when this is going to continue. Ali has no idea what this is all about. All what he does is scream in fear whenever there is a bombing and when it is over, he uses his imagination to tell stories about ‘qasef – bombing’. The kids do not sleep. We spend our days and nights in one single room with my sister in law and her daughter. You feel the stress and fear. You can see it on everyone's face.
Last night I was thinking about all this. I do not want anyone of my family to get hurt and I thought if anything should happen, I pray it happens to me and not my kids. Then I thought I do not want my kids to see me torn into pieces. The scenes on tv of people killed are so terrifying and I know what it means for children to see such thing. What I really want is for all this to end and for me and my kids to live just like anyone else in the world. I want to get rid of the feeling of guilt towards my kids. Was I mistaken to have kids in the first place? Do I not have the right to be a mother? But am I really doing a good mother's ‘job’ in being the source of comfort for my kids. I know it is not my fault but I knew also that I live in Gaza and Gaza has never been a healthy environment to raise children. Was I that selfish to think about my own feeling to want to be a mother and ignoring my expected failure to protect my kids?

Australian activist Sharyn Lock writes at Tales to Tell:

So, Thursday: the Red Cross co-ordinated evacuation into Zaytoun. Doctor Said would look good on a Red Cross poster – black sweater, shaved head, muscles enough to keep that Red Cross flag held above his head for the two hours we were behind army lines. You’d definitely invite him in for coffee to ask for his opinion on the state of the world. His colleague has more of an accountant look about him, but his job is to keep us alive – he is armed with a walkie-talkie and is negotiating our path constantly with the army as we move. With May, a small, quick woman who is the Engineer for the Red Crescent, supervising all the vehicles etc, I carry a stretcher and water. About 8 intrepid Red Crescent paramedics join us, wearing weighty bullet proof vests or not dependent on their preference for possible death or certain backache.
When I was a kid, I was very aware of war zones, but I always understood they happened in places different from my home. I would like to tell you about what I am seeing right now as I walk. I am seeing flowering vines. Bright curtains in windows. Chickens running about. This is your home, you know. This is the garden where your children play. This is your house with obscene holes blown in it, with Israeli snipers lurking in the shadows of its roof, with a dead resistance fighter sitting with his back to your wall.

Across the Arab world bloggers have been posting a song called We will not go down (Song for Gaza) by Michael Heart. Adham Khalil from Jabaliya Camp, who blogs at Free Free Palestine, is one of them:


  • With each new paroxysm of hideous violence between Israelis and Palestinians, I become more convinced that the rest of the world will not put up with this insanity forever. At some point, supporters of each side will say, it’s just not worth it.

    The arrogance and presumption of Israelis and Palestinians is that they don’t comprehend that their supporters eventually will turn away from them. It never dawns on them that the world will get fed up with their act. Through their actions, Israelis and Palestinians show that they don’t care about the rest of the world. Why should the rest of the world care about them?

  • […] Why is N.Y. Times Reporting Now Bush Stopped Israeli Attack on Iran? Telling the Truth About Gaza Palestine: “I do not want my kids to see me torn into pieces” Egypt: Civil disobedience and protests over […]

  • Hello Ayesha.

    Thanks for the articles about Gaza.

    You have a portuguese name… :-) Saldanha


  • Mira Salam

    This is one of the most importnat issues that we must speak about whether we were arabs or jews or what so ever we are alla humans after all. but what i want to say is a small message for isrealian mothers what would you feel if Gaza were Tal Abeb?what if all of these dead children were yours ? would you also been quiet?
    i don’t think so in 2006 we saw the terror and love that you hold for your kids, so how about you live at the same situation that the people of Gaza are living right now how about the terror you are causing ?
    i dont think that you will be able to sleep at night if you saw tv sets and i dont mean by that ur sets look around you and realize the truth you are murderers because you stay quit.

  • Dörte

    Mira, Israeli TV doesn’t show Gazan victims. They only show their soldiers going into Gaza, funerals of dead soldiers and videos from the cockpits of their air force making the war look like a computer game. That’s why they can’t understand our protests. They say the world is against them because it’s full of antisemites and can’t imagine that we are protesting against their war crimes.

  • […] Beitrag erschien zuerst auf Global Voices. Die Übersetzung erfolgte durch Katrin Zinoun, Teil des “Project Lingua“. Die […]

  • This is the real commentary on the events currently occuring in Gaza. The IDF says they are executing only ‘precision’ strikes against terrorist targets, and killing only terrorists. Another question may be, ‘how does a mother tell her children THEY may die because someone thinks that children are terrorists as well.

  • […] Mother There are things that are not well reported in the news, feelings!! I have three children, a daughter […]

  • Clara

    It´s all so sad:(
    Nice article Ayesha!

  • every day before i go to my job i hear the news more victims, more blood shed more and more. till when this drama will stop till the population of Gaza become 100 its something really depressionist i cant hear the news anymore its really killing me

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