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Palestine: Gaza's Bloggers Remember The War

It is one year since Israel launched its 22-day offensive on the Gaza Strip. In this post, Gaza's bloggers remember the war.

Lina Al Sharif, blogging at 360 km2 of Chaos, writes:

We didn’t expect it. Saturday, the 27th of December, Israel attacked several police stations killing more than 225 people and injuring thousands. The timing was very significant as the raids were at 11:25-11:35 am. People of Gaza at the time would be at work, schools, and universities. When the attacks first happened, we thought it was just the regular sonic booms which would leave us annoyed and shocked for couple of minutes then life would move on like nothing had happened. I remember on that day, we didn’t have electricity at home. [November, Israel tightened the siege that the very basics were scarce, on the top of it the electricity.] I ran to check the window of my room, and then, I knew it was not a sonic boom, it was bombs with smokes. The Second hypothesis that came to my mind after I saw the smoke was “the regular attacks”, the F16s and helicopters do their dirty jobs and leave. However, I was wrong again; the news coming from the radio was shocking. Several police stations were attacked all at once, they were not empty.

Seconds after the raids calmed down, frenzy took over the streets, people were running extremely shocked. The mobiles’ network almost collapsed, as everyone was calling one’s family and friends, who might have been close to the sites. My mum rushed to call my father as he was at work, and my other brother. I started to absorb what happened when I saw the footage of that police station; how men were scattered dead and injured. People were crying, screaming and praying. I remember my friend called me late that day saying:”next week we have final exams, but I don’t feel like studying today.” I replied:”me too!”

This is some footage taken by Lina with her cellphone at 11:33am that day:

Abu el Sharif writes at Shajar El ba6a6a:

الحرب على غزة…الرصاص المسكوب…(…) فش منتصرين بأي حرب…بس يمكن حد خسر أقل من التاني… (…)الذكريات لسة موجودة كأنها كانت اليوم (شايفين الصدفة اليوم 27) بحاول ألاقي أشياء أضحك عليها مع كل اللي صار…
The war on Gaza…Cast Lead… […] There are no victors in any war…but maybe one side suffers less loss than the other… […] The memories are still present as if it were today (see the coincidence that today is 27 Dec?). I am trying to find things to laugh about despite all that happened…

Abu el Sharif then gives an example:

أول يوم لما صارت أول خبطة…كنت نازل على الشغل…أكم من صاروخ نزل هنا و هناك و أنا كنت بنص الشارع…يميني كان فيه المجلس التشريعي…و شمالي مركز أمني إسمو السرايا (التنين إنقصفوا في الحرب بس مش يومها)…مش هون الحبكة…يومها الكل كان متوتر و الكل ما كان عارف يفكر…بس مش لدرجة إنو واحد يجري بالشارع رافع إيديه زي الرسوم…و بصرخ بكامل قدرتوا الصوتية…حنموووت قصف عشوائي…
On the first day, when the first strike occurred, I was on my way to work… A number of rockets landed here and there as I was halfway across the road… To my right was the Legislative Council, and to my left the security compound known as the Saraya [Serail] (both were bombed in the war but not that day)… This is not the story… On that day everyone was tense and no one knew what to think… But not to the extent of one man who ran down the street with his hands in the air, like in the cartoons, screaming as loud as he could, “We're going to die…random strikes!”

Samaher Al Khazandar writes at her blog Tales:

في ذكرى سبت أسود محاصر بالأيام السوداء من قبل وبعد،
في ذكرى أيام ما زال سوادها يحاصر ذاكرتنا، لكنه لم يغطي أبداً الحق في قلوبنا..
On the anniversary of the Black Saturday, surrounded by black days both before and after
On the anniversary of days whose blackness still encompass our memories, but which will never cover the truth in our hearts

Hayat El Alam remembers going back home on the first day of the war:

أذكر جيدا أنني عدت إلى الجنة لأجد أن شباك غرفتي فيها قد كُسر وانهالت قطع الزجاج المتناثرة على شرشف مكتبي الذي كان يقبع تحته وقد كانت شجرة الياسمين (المتشعبطة) على حديد النافذة قد وجدت فرصتها أخيرا لتغزو غرفتي ,,
I remember well that I returned to heaven [her family home] to find that the window of my room had been broken and shards of glass were scattered all over the sheet on my desk which was under it. And a jasmine tree curled up against the iron bars of the window had finally found its chance to invade my room…

The family home was actually destroyed during the war:

بعد أشهر ,,
في شهر مايو تحديدا عدت إلى هناك (…) كانت تلك الوردة الجورية البيضاء وجدت أخرى قد نبتت من بين الحجارة معلنة أنها لازالت باقية لأن فتاة بعمر الزهور مرة سقتها بدموع ساخنة ,, شجرة الياسمين أيضا التي كان حديد نافذتي يمنعها من الولوج إلى عالمي الصغير داخل مملكتي الصغيرة في غرفتي , كانت قد نهضت من جديد لتعلن عن وجودها معلنة الولاء لأميرتها التي كانت قد هجرتها وهجرت تلك الحجارة الصامتة منذ شهور ,,
After some months, in the month of May to be specific, I went back there. […] That white damask rose was to be found again growing from between the stones, announcing that it still remained, because a blossoming girl once dropped hot tears on it… The jasmine tree, which the iron bars of the window had prevented from penetrating my small world inside the small empire in my room – it had risen again to announce its presence, its loyalty to its princess who had abandoned it and abandoned these silent stones for months…

At her blog Notes of the Night, in a post entitled “Lorca, who accompanied me during the war”, Kawther Abu Hani writes:

الآن أنا على رصيف من أرصفة غزة, من هنا بالضبط جاءت سيارة الهلال الأحمر و أنقذتنا, كانت الطائرات الحربية تقصف المنطقة, لم نصدق المناشير التي حذفتها علينا من الجو, كنا نبحث عن أي منقذ بسيط و تافه, كذّبنا المناشير التي أمرتنا باخلاء المنطقة, لكنهم رمونا بالنيران, صارت السماء تمطر رصاصا, و تحوّل البحر المقابل لبيتنا إلى نار جحيم القيامة.. التم أهل المنطقة عند دوار الأبراج و بدأت سيارات الاسعافات تهرّبنا, كنتُ خائفة و مرعوبة, ليس من الانفجار الذي دوى قربي, بل من كتابي الذي رأيته يقرأ شعرا.. لوركا لوركا لوركا, من الجندي الذي قتلتني نظرته آنذاكْ؟ كانت قبلة أو وردة أو نظرة تعمل عمل البندقية..
I am now on one of Gaza's pavements; from this point exactly the Red Crescent ambulance came and rescued us. The warplanes were striking the area. We hadn't believed the pamphlets that they had dropped on us from the air. We were looking for any simple, common saviour. We did not believe the pamphlets that had ordered us to evacuate the area, but they [the Israeli warplanes] fired at us. The sky was raining bullets, and the sea opposite our home had turned into the fire of hell on Judgment Day… The people of the area gathered at the Abraaj roundabout, and the cars and ambulances started to rescue us. I was afraid, terrified – but not because of the explosion which reverberated near me, but because of my book which I had seen recite poetry… Lorca, Lorca, Lorca…Who is the soldier whose glance killed me then? Was it a kiss, a rose, or a glance doing the work of a revolver?

6 comments

  • how can anyone support Israel when the IDF runs over babies with tanks

  • Dan

    “We didn’t expect it.” (from Lina Al-Sharif).
    Well, what did you expect would happen after people from your territory (Gaza), people you voted for in an election (Hamas), fired thousands upon thousands of rockets on Israeli civlians in South-Western Israel?
    I’m serious. What did you expect Israel to do? What would have been a “proportionate” response? Should Israel have randomly fired thousands of rockets on civilians as well?

  • MERC

    Danny Boy, You ethnically cleanse southern Palestine in 1948. You force the refugees to shelter in the Gaza Strip. You destroy/steal their lands, homes. property etc. You refuse to allow them to return. You occupy them in 1956, and then again in 1967. You blockade them since 2005. You raid them regularly. You invade them. You massacre them. You shower them with billions of dollars of state-of-the-art US ordnance, again and again and again, and you complain about a few tinpot rockets. You should be so lucky.

  • MERC, I don’t think it will matter if I tell you to get your facts straight, I think you will continue with your slogans. Never mind. It’s true that palestinians suffer the most from the conflict, nobody can deny that. I find that the question WHY is more interesting. I think you cannot awnser it with a straight face

  • jean kelly

    the palestinans were ethnically cleansed in 1948? when they attacked the jews?

    they were occupied in 67? they had west bank before then, they used it to attack israel.

    israel withdrew from gaza, what did it get them? rockets.

    Israel withdrew from siana, without the rockets, they left siani alone for 20 years.

  • MERC

    ‘Jean Kelly’ I’m moving into your house NOW. Resistance is futile – I’ll just scream terrorism if so much as raise an eyebrow, and drive you out. You got a problem with that? (And don’t they teach you how to spell at Hasbara Central?)

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