In this roundup of Gaza's blogs we hear about living without electricity, ways of getting the latest news, and white phosphorus shells. And an 11-year-old girl jokes: “It's like we are a scary movie. I'm sure people eat popcorn as they watch.”
The situation is not improving inside the strip, due to the constant bombing by the Israeli Army in the northern and middle areas of the strip. A battle started today between Hamas’ Marine forces and the Israeli Naval forces. The situation here is like a cage burning from the inside. […] My cousin has a Satellite TV system that works by a car battery, and what I see now in the news has nothing to do with reality, the loss of life must be more than 800. It’s very difficult to have even one hour without sounds of explosions, and this what I have to post for now. I will try to send you more information as soon as I have another chance. I have to go back and help my sister with getting milk for her baby. I hope I can make it alive back home tonight, I'll keep you posted.
أما إبراهيم 22 سنة وهو صحفي لإحدى الوكالات الأنباء العالمية في قطاع غزة والذي يتنقل بعجالة بين بيت لآخر باحثا عن كهرباء ليشحن بها هاتفه الخلوي كي يستطيع التواصل مع طاقم وكاله الأنباء التى يعمل معها فيقول على عجالة :” في الفترة الأخيرة اشعر كأنني كنغر انتقل من مكان الى مكان بحثا عن رائحة الكهرباء , فبطارية هاتفي الخلوي قد نفذت ويجب على ان اشحنها لأتواصل مع وكاله الأنباء التى اعمل معها في الخارج “.
As for Ibrahim, who is a 22 year old journalist for one of the international news agencies in Gaza, and who hurries from one house to the next, in search of electricity to charge his cell phone in order to be able to communicate with the agency's crew, he quickly says: “Lately I have been feeling as if I were a kangaroo, jumping from one place to the next, in search of a whiff of electricity. My cell phone battery has run out and I have to charge it in order to communicate with the news agency I work with abroad.”
Freelance journalist Safa Joudeh writes at the group blog Lamentations-Gaza:
Our entire lives is now one long chaotic stream of existence: waiting in line each morning to fill up containers with water from the only working tap on the ground floor of our building, baking homemade bread from the depleting supply of flour we managed to obtain a few days into the offensive, turning on the power generator for 30 to 50 minutes in the evening to charge phones and watch the news. Meanwhile, the constant in our lives has become the voice of the reporter on the small transistor radio giving reports every few seconds of the location and resulting losses from the explosion we just heard, or other attacks farther off on the Strip. This is not to mention the relentless sound of one or more of the Israeli Apache helicopters, F-16's or drones flying overhead. […] We are now unable to distinguish joy from fear. My 11-year old sister laughs as she imagines how people all over the world watch the horrific events taking place in the Gaza Strip. “It's like we are a scary movie. I'm sure people eat popcorn as they watch,” she says. My 12- and 14-year old brothers act out scenes from our reality while quoting Metal Gear Solid 4 and Guns of Patriots, their favorite video game, and we laugh hysterically at their performance. Moments later we tense up at the sound of a violent, close by earthquake-like explosion, and resume our laughter when the building stops shaking. Before returning to our building, I couldn't help but stare at it for a moment and think that our homes might not always be safe places. But, still, they give us a sense of warmth, security and protection that are worth fighting for till the very end. I also couldn't help staring at the sky. The stars were beautiful and seemed to shine brighter than ever. I could make out several constellations and I counted five Israeli warplanes.
Canadian activist, Eva Bartlett, blogs at In Gaza:
Some mornings I wake up from a new explosion and realize I’ve somehow managed to fall into a sleep despite the blasts. Other mornings, I wake up disoriented, first wondering where I am, as I’m sleeping in some hospital waiting room or ambulance office, or the house of a driver since the Red Crescent office in eastern Jabaliya was first shelled and then made off-limits by the invading Israeli forces in the eastern Jabaliya region…and the north, the northwest, the east, the south…
3:20 am: I’ve left the bed and given up on feigning sleep. Am watching the darkness explode with the political hatred that not only kills but silences truth. Hatred in every blast pounding Gaza.
Hours later, after the sun finally rises. Women are walking onto the hospital premises, large towel-covered platters on their heads. A small electric stove is plugged in, and they take turns baking bread for their families: no gas, no electricity at home. They are lucky to have the flour to bake with, and I guess that a trickle of that aid that only trickles in has reached them. But it’s never enough.
Prof. Said Abdelwahed, who teaches English at Al-Azhar University, writes at Moments of Gaza:
My family and I have been surprised by the electric power for the first time after 15 days of utter darkness! It was a moment of excitement for the children. Now they are not scared though aircrafts are over us! Also, we can watch some TV channels as others are jammed. Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya are among the jammed ones. Now, a blast in the distance! My family are okay; my mother, sister, brothers and their families are safer than me though it is not safe for anyone in Gaza those days, but everything in life is relative.
Lebanese activist Natalie Abou Shakra, who blogs at Moments of Gaza, is staying with a Palestinian family, and can't bear the thought of anything happening to the young son, Abdel Aziz:
If something happens to Abdel Aziz… I do not think I shall be able to go on…
Look into your child's eyes… what would happen if he was massacred the way the Israelis are massacring our children… look at them as they sleep at night… in their beds… would it be alright if you didn't know if they would make it till the next day? Would it?
As I left, Sitt Wafaa gave me some bread to take with me to eat… I go outside, and “BOMB”… I fly… they bombed the adjacent building… I shield myself from dust… the ringing in my ears is deafening… dust covers my hair… I hear Sitt Wafaa scream my name… am I dead, I ask myself? No, I can still smell my dirty clothes… I am alive… and the smell of dirt if wonderful… I am alive…
Xen Hasan from Manchester in the UK writes at the Electronic Intifada about calling her husband's family in Gaza:
My husband managed to get hold of his sister today in a short and crackly phone call. She is fine, they are all fine, thank God. They have rice still, and they've managed to get some candles. We'll phone again tomorrow. I pray that soon we'll be able to have normal conversations again — what did you do at school today? How was work? What are you making for dinner? I dream of being able to ask these ordinary questions. How many more days do we have to keep making that nerve-wracking phone call, and wondering who those statistics represent?
Mohammad is in Ramallah in the West Bank, and he too writes about the phone calls he has been making to his family in Gaza, at the Arab-American blog KABOBfest:
I called Khan Younis next. Jasim didn't pick up. I hoped he was sleeping. Mahmoud answered though, but he sounded distracted. I could hear the radio blaring. I asked him what was happening. He told me the Israelis had showered the village of Khuza'a in the east with white phosphorous and that many buildings there had been set alight. He had been calling friends there. People were running from house to house and from street to street, trying to avoid the chemicals. He was trying to find out who was being brought in to Naser Hospital, the hospital a few blocks away where I was born. He said there were a lot of injuries because people were inhaling the chemical and the smoke. Nobody is sure how to treat it, and nobody is sure how to avoid it when it rains down from the sky. […] The scary thing about Gaza these days is that even Israel doesn't seem to know what it is trying to do. As I said at the opening of this post, the goals seem to be ever changing, always getting smaller and less ambitious. It is using chemical weapons in heavily crowded neighborhoods, F-16 missiles on homes, mosques and schools. It has left many hundreds dead, many hundreds more so wounded that few will ever be able to live a normal life again.
Australian activist Sharyn Lock, who writes at Tales to Tell, also relays accounts that phosphorus shells are being used:
Mo has just been speaking to his sister, his family were receiving the phosphorous bombs all night last night, in Khuza’a, east of Khan Younis, she said the bombs smell like sewage. She said just in their area there were 110 injuries from the phosphorous. Today they fled their house and went to relatives. We called the Ministry of Health to ask if they have analysed the substances involved, but they said that unfortunately they simply don’t have the resources to do so and have to wait on outside confirmation.
We end with an impassioned statement by Natalie Abou Shakra:
Take note; our pens do sway, in every direction. They insist, persist and spit out the bullets of your oppression.
Take note; our journals are filled with the acts of your wretched intentions, of your day-to-day crimes against our existence, of your delirious threats and excruciating torture.
Take note; our tongues will live to narrate, tales of the history of your racism, your apartheid world, and your ignorant hatred.