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How Can Humans Survive This?

Living in the Moment in Gaza

by MONA EL-FARRA

We are always waiting for something in Gaza. Yesterday I waited from the morning for the electricity to come on at my apartment. I’ve been asked to write an article for the Palestine Solidarity Campaign to use in their upcoming lobbying at Parliament and I needed to charge my laptop. The ceasefire was due to expire at midnight but I decided to stay in my apartment and work on my article, hoping there would be another extension.

I felt lucky when the electricity finally came on in the evening and I began writing. But almost immediately, the building started shaking and I was surrounded by the now familiar sounds of bombing and airplanes overhead. I knew this meant the negotiations for a long-term ceasefire were over. I was afraid to stay in my home because it’s not a safe area. I live very close to the water and the Israeli naval ships are visible from my window.

I packed a small bag and called a taxi to take me to my friends’ house because they need me and I need them.

On my drive, I saw many families walking and driving in the street. Just like me, they were carrying their belongings and searching for a safer place to spend the night. We all moved in different directions, going towards schools or relatives or friends. The bombing continued but I felt secure in my decision seeing how many other people were outside.

When I reached my friend’s house, there was no electricity. I sat by the window watching more families go by. And then I saw the bombing of the Dalou family in Sheikh Redwan. It was a frightening sight. I have heard and seen many Israeli attacks but this one was different. There was a barrage of missiles that caused huge flames in the sky. The flames looked like a fountain with many colors including a deep red. I later learned this is a new type of missile, the GBU-28. The attack was not far from me so we could feel the shaking.

I wonder how a human being can survive this, not just physically but psychologically? I was blocks away and it terrified me.

This is our life again in Gaza. We are going back to live in the moment.

Dr. Mona El-Farra, Director of Gaza Projects, is a physician by training and a human rights and women’s rights activist by practice in the occupied Gaza Strip.