Wednesday, April 12, 2006

from Gaza

Pour ceux qui ne lisent pas l'anglais vous pouvez quand meme voir les photos sur le blog d'une journaliste palestinienne a:
les bombardements a gaza continuent. lundi une fille de 12 ans a ete tuee devant sa maison, 13 autres membres de sa famille ont ete blesses, un de ses freres a perdu la vue. les autorites israeliennes ont cependant affirme qu'ils allaient continuer et ils continuent.
pourquoi les sanctions ne sont-elles pas prises contre Israel et sont imposees aux Palestiniens? Je suis honteuse de la position de l'Union europeenne. non seulement cela est moralement injustifiable et les consequences humaines vont etre desastreuses mais c est aussi une terrible erreur politique. j'ai bien peur que le pire reste encore a venir.

Have a look to the blog of Leila at
i am sick really those days,
why the sanctions are imposed on the Palestinians and not on Israel?
i am ashamed of the position of Europe-it is not only morally wrong but a big political mistake.
i am afraid the worse is still to come.

The Earth is Closing in on Us
Leila el Haddad - Wednesday, 12 April 2006, 01:58

The shells keep falling. They’ve gotten inside my head, so that its not just my house shaking but but my brain throbbing. It’s like someone is banging a gong next to my ear every few minutes; sometimes 5 times a minute, like last night.

And just when I savor a few moments of silence, it starts again as if to say “you’re not going to get away that easily.”

We went to sleep to the rattling of our windows and invasive pounding and after-echo of the shells. We sleep as they fall. We pray fajir, and they fall again. We wake, and they are still falling. When they are closer, when they fall in Shija’iya east of Gaza City, they make my stomach drop. And I want to hide, but I don’t know where.

The Earth is Closing in on Us.

That’s the thing about occupation-it invades even your most private of spaces. And while the shells were falling inside my head, they also killed little Hadil Ghabin today.

A shell landed on her home in Beit Lahiya, shattering her helpless body and injuring 5 members of her family, including Hadil’s pregnant mother, Safia, and her 19-year-old sister.

My headeaches seem inconsequential when I think of little Hadil. Sometimes people here say they prefer death to this existence; you’ll frequently here at funerals: “Irta7at”…she’s more comfortable now anyhow-what was there to live for here?”

The Earth is squeezing us
I wish we were its wheat
so we could die and live again.

That has become our sad reality. Death provides relief.

Sometimes it feels like we are all in some collective torture room; who is playing God with us this night, I wonder? When I look up into the sky, and hear the shells, or see the faceless helicopter gunships cruising intently through the moonlit sky, I wonder, do they see me?

And when the shells start falling again, I can’t help but imagine some beside-himself with boredom 18-year-old on the border, lighting a cig or SMSing his girlfriend back in Tel Aviv “just a few more rounds to go hon.….give it another whirl, Ron, its been 2 minutes already.”

Sometimes, when I’m on edge, I might just yell out and wave my arms at them.

Do they hear me?

We decided to escape this evening to my father’s farm in central Gaza, where we roasted potatoes and warmed tea on a small mangal, as we listened to thikr about the Prophet on the occasion of his mawlid from a nearby mosque, under the ominous roars of fighter jets, patrolling the otherwise lonely skies above.

“Where are you heading off to?” asked Osama, the shopkeeper downstairs. “Off to the farm. We’re suffocating,” I replied, Yousuf tugging at my arm… “mama…Yallah! Yallah!”

“Wallah Laila, we’re not just suffocating…we’re asphyxiating. I feel I can’t breathe anymore. And my head is pounding and pounding. All I hear is BOOM boom now.”

The Earth is Closing in on Us.

And little Hadil is dead.

And suddenly, the seams of childhood disappeared

Hadil Ghabin, 9 years old, was killed last night after an Israeli shell struck her family's home. 13 other members of her family were injured, including her pregnant mother, several toddlers, and her 15-year-old brother Ahmed, who lost his eye sight.

Hadil's mother was baking bread when the shells began to fall around them. She gathered her children and they huddled inside the house for safety.

According to her aunts, Hadil loved reading, writing stories, and playing "make-believe". "She would always gather all the neighbourhood children and tell them all sorts of wild stories," told me her Aunt.

And why not, for sometimes imagination is the only refuge we have here, the only realm that cannot be invaded. May she live the fairy tales she could only imagine during her short life. Photos and videos of the sad event (all mine):

Say to her, "My dear, my dear,
It is not so dreadful here."

Overcome with emotion, Hadil's mother collapsed when the body of her daughter, limp and expressionless, was brought to the house for a final farewell.

Hadil's 10-year-old brother Ahmed lost his sight in the attack.

"And suddenly, the seams of childhood

And the stories and dreams
flew away
like a kite"

Neighbours tried to comfort the grieving family, as they wept alongside them and threw fragrant basil flowers on her lifeless body before the burial.

One-year old Rawan comforts her other sister, Rana

Even as Hadil was being carried away, shells continued to pound the area, leaving billows of white smoke in the distance and an acrid smell lingering in the air.

The Israeli Army asserted today that despite the civlian deaths, which resulted from narrowing their range of attack, the shelling will continue.

The Ghabin household. The mother was baking bread when the shelling began, and gathered her children together in the living room when their house was hit.


Video one: A village mourns

Video two: the shelling of northern Gaza, not far from the Ghabin household and the farming village of Fa'dos, continues.

posted by Lailaumyousuf @ Tuesday, April 11

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