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"An Earthquake On Top of Your Head"

The Boming of Gaza

by Dr. EYAD AL SERRAJ

The bombing went on for about 10 minutes. It was like an earthquake on top of your head. The windows were shaking and squeaking. My 10-year-old was terrified, he was jumping from one place to another trying to hide. I held him tight to my chest and tried to give him some security and reassure him. My 12-year-old was panicking and began laughing hysterically, it’s not normal. I held her hand and calmed her and told her she would be safe. My wife was panicking. She was running around the apartment looking for somewhere to hide.

We live on the ground floor so we headed to the basement.

Not very far from our home is the headquarters of the police and there was a massive bomb. The chief of police was killed. Two streets away there was another bomb and more people were killed. The office of the president is about one kilometre from our house and it was also bombed.

We went downstairs to the basement and tried to hide ourselves from the shelling. The child of one of our relatives, who lives in our building, finally came home from school. We hadn’t been able to find her. All the phone connections were jammed. She came home and she was in a very serious state of shock. She was pale and trembling and she was describing dead bodies in the streets. On her way home she passed Hamas people in uniform and they were dead.

I had been very apprehensive when I woke up this morning. I had some bread, some cheese and a glass of tea. Like all the people in Gaza I felt that something was going on and something very serious. When Israel allowed the delivery of food and fuel [when it ended the blockade of Gaza yesterday] I said to myself and my friends that Israel is really planning a massive strike. They don’t want to be blamed for starving the people.

I was sitting in the living room with my family trying to figure out what to do today for lunch, it’s our main meal. What to cook and how to cook, whether we have enough to eat. There was no rice so I wanted to have lentil soup and my wife said "No, there’s no lentils in the market." I said "What else can we do?" She said "I bought some cans of food." We were discussing this when suddenly the whole thing erupted. Suddenly there was a big explosion.

Right now I feel very anxious about what’s going to happen. I’m worried about how many more people are going to die.

Dr Eyad Al Serraj is a practising psychologist in Gaza City.