Gaza, Palestine: Every day as we are bombed we are playing a game, and when I spoke to my aunt in U.A.E. she was so surprised that we were playing a game. She said really!
Yes, really I replied. She asked me what is it? “The game is that you have to know what military machine is being used to bomb us. She laughed so much. But she was masking her pain. One could hear the crack in her laughter because she knew with this game we are surviving… its the survival game.
Identification of the bombing machinery is a means to survival, that sound, that horrible sound that never leaves you once you hear it. It has a whistle. You can hear it cut through the air. The whistle followed by the huge crash, that smell, the earth then shakes.
When we hear an F16 jet fighter plane, and we know its coming in our direction. What do we say?
Subject to the ferocity and volume of the noise associated with this delivery of death machine, we know if its close or distant. We sit and wonder, are we the targets? Once the big bang has occurred we wonder, has it done its duty? We wonder if they got their target as they might return. We wonder are people injured or not. Imagine playing this game 24 hours a day.
Eman, a three year old girl from Gaza, whose father has been killed by the Israelis has started to ask questions and she cries. She cries endlessly as she recalls how amazing her father was. She is right, everyone knew her father and what a wonderful father he was. This three year old’s father was known to everyone. I know him, my mother knows him and every person, he or she, who has talked to him knows he was a kind man. His daughter recalls he was the one who would buy candy for her. He would play with her even when he was exhausted. He would buy her the beautiful dresses that she wears, and he was the one who would make her laugh when she cried. This child will grow up remembering this and wondering why this crime has been committed against her innocent civilian family.
Another victim of the Israeli aggression is four months old Nour Abo Eissa. Perhaps, she is responsible for the three murdered teenagers. Perhaps, she is the perpetrator that they claim to target, or worse she is the terrorist that they are worried about.
When the bombs rain down like hail, the general feeling is of course fear, each person has his or her own reaction to the fear and each deals with it in a particular manner. Some people run to the place that is bombed, which is really dangerous but that fear and adrenalin provides them the energy to assist civilians and the injured, and document the human rights violations to inform the world what is really happening here.
Other people mostly the young, the women and children get down low on the ground for cover and then start to cry. They are helpless for the loss of their loved ones, that short life of a child spent in war, watching your family suffer, losing your home, your belongings, your loved one, watching your community being torched. This takes a toll on them.
Crying is the reaction in response to that emotion, and that emotion is the image we all know from the suffering of Palestinians. Each time we survive a raid, a bombing, an invasion into our homes, we say Allah-u-Akbar and
then we sit and wait for the next raid. We continue to play the survival game. Now the teenagers and youth in Gaza say that they are not afraid of death or injury. How sad is it for a child to even think as such but they claim they are more concerned of the fighting which might interfere with their fasting in the holy month of Ramadan. I can sense their fear, they want to appear strong but really they too are playing the survival game.
Mohammed, a small 3 year old child, from Gaza cannot comprehend war. He has lived his whole life listening to the sound of gun fire, explosions and bombings. His way of dealing with the surrounding is to create an alternative world. He sees the destruction around him as if it’s fireworks. His family says that it is how he has developed a way to overcome the feelings of fear. This is how a three year old learns to adapt to his environment.
As I am writing this report, our home telephone rings. I am surprised the lines are still connected, and my little sister, 15 year old, answers the call, “Hello, Salam!” and then the recorded disc starts to play in the ear piece. It is a message from The Israeli army saying that the Palestinian resistance group refused the Egyptian ceasefire deal. They are saying that they will not stop airstrikes and are asking for the civilian population to convince the resistance group to stop. My little sister’s futile response to the recording is that we are humans too and you have to listen to our demands, demands of what we want. She slams the receiver down. She is proud of contributing her response. Soon we resume the game, the survival game.
Mohammed A. Eissa writes for The Kashmir Walla from Gaza, Palestine.