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Thursday, 13 November 2014

Memories of war..!! by Maisoon Bashir

It is the 10th of July 2014, the third day that I am writing in my diary about the war here in Gaza, and the stories that will forever live within me. Pain running through my stomach and abdominals, an emotional pain, constantly waiting for the future with fear and worry. Despite the fear and worry, people are still determined to live and fulfill their dreams, nothing will stop us ... apart from death. For me, this has become like a series of action, which returns every year. The only difference is that there are new heroes and, sadly, new victims. It seems that the productivity of this series is increasing year after year.
The first show starts suddenly with random shelling, the thunder of the bombs, the explosions, the sound of aircrafts, the sound of ambulances, the screams of children and the cries of the mothers. Once again, the breaking news of Gaza hits the headlines, with an updated number of martyrs. This is just the beginning of the story. In every story there are thousands of tales with eyes filled with tears of pain and anguish, and fear of what has happened around us, at the same time there remains hope, strength and the willpower to exist.
As usual, my family gathers in one room thinking it is safe, the safest room in our home. Only this time the war comes in the holy month of Ramadhan, this is something that was completely not expected. We all have that one 'safe' room yet we know that nowhere IS safe. We have to expect bombing and shelling anywhere at any time and any place. This war lives up to its name good and proper.
I need to write these notes just to record them in order to share with the rest of the world. However, I do not need to record this for myself because it will remain entrenched in my heart and memory and I will never forget them. How can a person forget the permanent pain of loss inside of him? But I write to share my horrific experience with the whole world, for them, to know. Perhaps my writing will be able to wake the world up who is in a deep sleep, whilst millions weep.
I remember the fear of my mother when hearing the sound of shelling and missiles approaching more and more from our house, here the role of my mother is starting as worry and fear are increasing . My mother starts reading verses from the Koran, and make us repeat them, perhaps it could save her children, surviving the brutality of the shells, as if something would protect their children from death .. !!. Here I stand saying "don't stress me with your worry mum the worse thing can happen is to die and we will all die one day."
My younger sister frequently says "Mom do not go out of the house, my mother do not sleep away from me, mom do not leave me alone. Since the beginning of the war my sister is constantly in the smallest room of the house, thinking it’s the safest room in the house, as previously stated.
In the morning the shelling intensified and it was violent and scary ,it lead to my little sister crying and crying and squeezing my hands tightly, in a way that scared me a lot; what makes me cry is her look while she saying these words "Maisoon, do not leave my hands Let's die together!" or when she says "mmm I'm not afraid of death but I do not like to be tortured by it or I do not like to to... to stay alone in this life!" .
Imagine with me , I don’t sleep the whole night fearing that if I close my eyes, I will wake up with something I don’t like. The worst case scenario, seeing my family dead. I realize that everything is possible in a war , but the feeling of losing someone close to you is so difficult, I know that very well, because I still suffer the loss of my father (May Allah bless his soul) and I always will. Nothing can ever bring him back.
A shortage of sleep has exhausted me, and my body is exhausted by thinking too much. I often have the desire to shout loudly and say "OH, PEOPLE PLEASE STOP , THAT’S ENOUGH ( KHaaalaaas , in Arabic ), I WOULD LIKE TO SLEEP JUST ONE HOUR ". Perhaps someone will hear or pay attention.
The clock struck 3:00 at dawn , it is time for the preparation of suhoor (breakfast in Ramadan). I do it, trying to kill the desire of sleep in my eyes after a scary night ..
"Mohammed wake up, come on. Zana wake up and drink a cup of water, mom, drink water, eat something." As I fulfill the role and responsibilities of a mother who takes care of her children, you can consider this a feature of my character.
I love my family very much, I am so proud of them and I miss my siblings, who are abroad, a lot. They remain very worried and they call, call us ten times within an hour to be assured that everything is fine.
The phone is ringing, it is my brother Dr. Yazid "Are you okay. If there's anything surrounding you, DON’T go out the house!"
Then another phone-call, it is my brother Eng. Yazan "What happens, I heard there is a shelling in our city Deir al-Balah reassure me, do you have electricity, do you need anything?" and the same thing from my brothers Yousef and Zaid.
The one worried the most and in a complete state of horror is my sister Amira. She is studying medicine in Germany. You will not believe, she calls every hour or at any moment she hears news that there is bombing in Deir al-Balah "I am following News and I heard that there was bombing, I am worried a lot, please assure me, don’t hide anything from me, Are you Okay?!”
Every time my siblings call, I can't pretend that everything is fine I can’t tell them, "Yes, we're fine, me, my mother, Zana and Mohammed, do not be afraid. It has became normal to us”. Whatever Allah has written, good or bad, will be. And they themselves know that.
14-7 is the date of my Birthday , today is my 22nd birthday. Now, I am a girl who is twenty-two years old. It’s a nice feeling to grow a year, whilst your dreams and ambitions grow with you. Twenty two years - a dream growing up with me since my childhood is to be a bright star in the sky, to raise the voice of truth, to be the voice of poor people, the voice of my beloved country Palestine. For Twenty-two years I have seen my people suffering from injustice.
I was planning to celebrate my twenty-second birthday , because I thought it would be special this time. Especially after I graduated from University. I finished one stage of my life and will take a new stage, and go out to realize my dreams. The first thing was a scholarship, I got it after three years of trying, without feeling bored or frustrated, a chance to travel to the United States in a scholarship to learn how to set up scientific research.
I was so happy
I was at the peak of my happiness, feeling proud that I achieved a goal or perhaps a dream. I believe that my dream is mine and I will get it. I learned this from Martin, Gandhi, my father and many great people who have played a role in shaping my character. What increased my joy, I knew that my Birthday this year will be in the same time that I'll be there. So, I'm going to see my brother, Yosef, who I have not seen for ten years and more, because of the situation in the Gaza Strip. For this reason, I thought it would be a special birthday, I was closing my eyes when I put my head on my pillow, dreaming how fantastic it will be. This is the subject, to live plunged in a fantasy world, a world in which every privacy and what I wished, exist.
Call me crazy, for it is my best feature, sometimes a person needs some madness to taste the sweetness of life. It will be the first time to be out of Gaza's boards, it is the first time to taste freedom. But the price is very expensive.
I started planning, moment by moment, how I will spend the time with my brother. And suddenly something stopped me ‘Oh! One Moment Maisoon, Do not forget that you are in Gaza, you have to realize that.’ Perhaps it is the cost of living in Gaza, to put something between a dream and reality and to expect anything to happen. But this disturbing cost does not stop me dreaming, never. I used to dream and be optimistic that the next will be better, no matter what the circumstances are; this was the sentence of executioner to hinder me to travel without knowing the reasons .. !!
And what made the thing became more complex is the war against Gaza. OH! What bad luck you have Maisoon…! All that I have planned has ended in a bad way, and nothing will happen! I lost my joy and happiness, but there’s one thing that happened, one thing didn’t change yet, it was to have a special birthday and yes I had it, but with a view of the Israeli occupation. Thanks to the Israeli occupation, particularly with these horrifying pictures of children and civilians killed and their homes destroyed. It's been made special by the sound of bombing everywhere and the electricity and water shortages. It's been made special by my younger sister who says “please let us die together!”
This was the equivalent to my birthday cake. So thank you for making my birthday so special. Thanks to the silent world, the so called callers of human rights and biggest thanks to the humanity of Israel.
Time of breakfast:
The time now is 4:00 pm, the time to start preparing the breakfast. These are the ritual of the holy month of Ramadhan, but in these circumstances, everything is different. My mother tries to choose easy meals that can be prepared quickly and we help her to make it in a short time!
Electricity is still cut off, the shelling is continuing and different voices in the area, with each hit we get out of the kitchen and wait for a bit, then we are back completing cooking the food, thus like playing a game. Now, everything is prepared and after ten minutes we will have our breakfast, but suddenly we hear heavy shelling near, close to the home. My home is near to UN school which has a huge number of families, and the parents who fear for their children’s lives. You hear the screaming of kids and the sounds of sirens from ambulances. Five people have been killed.
My mother says " hurry up, eat quickly, praying and don’t go out, OK?"
Indeed, we eat but we do not taste the food, the fear overpowers us in many ways, this is being one of them: what we eat just to give our bodies strength from exhaustion of this bad situation, and no one can bear it.
Now, the radio news station is starting in my home! Yes, don’t be surprised, every one of us is following the news. While the electricity continues to cut, the only window is by using our cell phones to be kept updated with what's happening outside. Imagine, twenty-four-seven we hear the news. It seems that my home turned completely into a news station, but in a different form.
I told you before, that everything is changing because of this the war, it doesn’t care about anything even the holy month, the religious rituals or at least the humanity! That they violated your inviolable Ramadan, sorry Ramadan!
My pen has stopped writing, because I can't bear what is happening and I can't bear the brutal war and the massacres have been committed one after the other, without any movement of the world. And also, because the stories and events, how much I tried to narrate is incomparable to what is actually happening. The events are indescriptibles. The ink from my pen has finished and I don’t have completed my story.
Will the war end? I do not know. But I know, that it has planted pain and pain in the hearts of people, especially in those children who have lost their families, their ties and their dreams but their eyes are still shining .. ! We are waiting and we are still waiting for the real victory, for freedom, shining it’s sun in the land of a long occupation. Maybe it is our destiny to die, if not in this war, it may be in the coming days or perhaps, will be like those who drowned in the sea, seeking to save their lives. Or luckier, to be the survivors on a beach, where we can find the new world.

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