Gaza 6- The Aftermath
Dear Friends, Yes, I am back in Gaza. It is one of these places that you may leave physically but it remains in your heart and mind so you keep coming back. Went through Erez crossing .. this time I was not completely alone some people were going through it but in the opposite direction than mine…mostly old people who seemed sick and fragile. Walked through the same long wired tunnel looking at Gaza behind the bars.. Gaza is at the end of the tunnel.
I went directly to the Right to Live Society. It is a center for children with special needs that was not spared from the Israeli aggression last summer. The 500 children with mostly Downs syndrome and autism; many have epilepsy, lost some of their class rooms, the covered space in their playground where they used to celebrate birthdays and their theater where they used to perform plays and dances. Nevertheless, the center opened its doors in September.. few weeks after the end of the aggression…just on time for school and the kids came! Some lost their homes, their parents, their siblings.. but they still came to find their loving teachers and therapist who also have their own devastation and loss ready to receive them! If that is not resilience and determination to live, I don’t know what is!
One of my friends told me before coming ”Rand! It is worse than when you were here during the aggression…much worse!”. I could not understand what he meant! how it can be worse than daily Israeli bombing with tons of explosive for almost two months! I could not understand until I saw Al-shage3eieh again today. In the summer, Al-shaga3eieh was completely destroyed.. thousands of homes turned to piles of ruble but it was empty.. it looked like a ghost town. Today, it is still completely destroyed but with families living in the ruins of their homes! Kids running around dangerously between iron rods and mountains of rocks! They replaced the fallen walls with blankets and plastic bags.. they lived in these “homes” through the most brutal winter that Gaza ever saw! I could not hold my tears.
I sat and had coffee with one of the families in what used to be their backyard. One of the men told me that he is going to take his family back to the shelter..when I asked which shelter he said “to the UNRWA school… they have to turn them back to shelters.. we can not live here like animals!”. As we were leaving, a young man stopped us to ask how he can get a bag of flour for his family.
I have no words to say to the world except that we Palestinians will continue to “teach the rest of the world life..”.
Till my next email from Falasteen , warmest regards