It is time for us to help rebuild Gaza

The Palestinians in Gaza survived an unprecedented Israeli aggression not just against them but also against humanity.  I hope my emails from Gaza reflected some of the devastating new realities in the lives of Palestinians in Gaza as a consequence of this aggression. They fought back and against all odds survived. It is time to show them our appreciation and gratitude for defending the rights of every human being to enjoy a life of freedom and dignity. It is time for us to help rebuild their lives.

Gaza needs billions of dollars to rebuild its infrastructure which may be a slightly bigger than our scope – 🙂 but there are a lot of smaller things that we can do that will make a huge difference in the lives of the Palestinians in Gaza. To know more about that, please join us to celebrate rejuvenating Gaza on September 6th, 2014.

For details, please contact me at r.askalan@utoronto.ca.

GAZA Day 5: The Exit

Dear Friends,

With the sunrise this morning, it was time to leave Gaza. I really struggled with this decision… Struggled with overwhelming feeling of guilt, as I was going through the looong wired corridor to get out of the largest open-air prison in the world leaving behind more than 1.5 million fellow Palestinians, some are dear friends, living in circumstances that no human should be subjected to.

I had to leave for my two boys Omar (14) and Hamzah (11). I promised Hamzah to be back for his birthday. I had to leave so that we can start working on what Gaza’s hospitals need to function adequately again and survive the next round of Israeli aggression. According to the Ministry of Health Operation room report, as of Aug 21st, 10 hospitals and 7 Primary Health Care clinics were damaged, 5 hospitals and 44 primary health clinics were closed, 16 ambulances were damaged, and 83 health personnel injured, 23 health personnel died. Add to that patients who were killed by the Israeli strikes while in their hospital beds!! For example the attack on Al-Aqsa Hospital led to the death of 5 patients, a hospital administrator, the injury of 70 people including 1 doctor and 2 paramedics and the destruction of the surgical department and the intensive care unit. In addition to civilians, Israel targeted the infrastructure, including the health care system, in this inhumane aggression on Gaza. Health care centers there were inadequately equipped to serve the population even before this round of aggression started. Now the situation is more critical. I visited most of the affected hospitals and have a clear idea of some of the things that we can all work on to improve the situation and support the Palestinians in Gaza.

Soap Factory

The Soap Factory

Mosques as well

Mosques as well…

Al-Aqsa Hospital in Dair Al-Balah

Al-Aqsa Hospital in Dair Al-Balah

 

Cookie Factory

The Cookie Factory

The Palestinians in Gaza are fighting this war on behalf of every Palestinian and every human being who believes in freedom, dignity and equality for all. It is crucial that they know we are here, with them in this fight. We are the voice that tells their narrative to the world. Thank you for my dear friends Merwad and Nadine who realized that am not a social media wiz so they took the lead and created my blog and for Fida who was behind my interview with Electronic Intifada (http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/nora-barrows-friedman/isolate-israel-every-level-urges-palestinian-canadian-physician-gaza). Many thanks for those who published my emails on Facebook. The message from the Palestinians in Gaza is clear; they are dying to defend their humanity and their right for a life with freedom, dignity and equality, if not for us, then for our children and many generations to come.

Finally, thank you Tarek for connecting me with Physicians for Human Rights to get my entry permit; thank you all for reading my emails and for your daily messages of support and encouragement. They certainly kept me going to accomplish what I came to Gaza for.

The Future

Let the work begin!

Rand

 

GAZA Day 2: Story of El-Wafa Hospital

email sent Sun, Aug 17, 2014

Dear Friends,

Yesterday was a very difficult day. I went to Shujaiya (Alshuja3eieh?) a neighborhood in the east of Gaza that witnessed one of the ugliest and most barbaric Israeli crimes. There are no words I can use to describe what I saw or express what I felt. It was an emotional roller costar of extreme anger and deepest sadness. Endless piles of concrete as far as the eye can see… at the top of each pile was a sign stating the name of the owner, number of people lived there and some contact numbers. As if each pile came to life to tell me the story of the family that used to live inside these walls… the family that is either pulled from underneath the pile or fled to one of the UNRWA schools that turned into shelters. I will say no more and let the pictures attached speak for themselves although no camera can capture what one’s eyes can see.

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Let me tell one story: the story of Al-Wafa hospital as I heard it from the security guard of the hospital who walked with me on the site and later confirmed by WHO officials. It was a rehabilitation hospital that hosted patients with disabilities of all ages. It also had a section for disabled elderly patients. The Israeli army called the hospital administration and made the usual accusation of rockets being fired from the hospital and asked them to evacuate the hospital. An accusation that was rejected by the hospital administration, the International Red Cross and members of the International Solidarity Movement who were all in the hospital at the time. What do you think the Israeli army did? send their famous “warning” bombs to the top two floors!! International NGOs try to stop the attack that defies all moralities and international laws while patients being moved to lower floors. More “warning” bombs.. The hospital turned into what you see in the pictures hours after evacuating the patients to a facility that is not capable of providing them with the health care they need. Guess what? it turned out that the Israeli miscalculated (if not fabricated) the site where the rockets where coming from!!!

I really don’t get it! I don’t get the argument that justifies killing thousands of civilians to destroy military sites. Let’s say just for the sake of argument that the resistance used civilians as human shields. Shouldn’t the lives and safety of these civilians be the priority and not getting the military target? I guess it would be if it wasn’t a Palestinian life.

The lesson that we learned after this latest holocaust against us is that there is no one out there cares about a Palestinian life except Palestinians. Yes we are very thankful for all the supporting demonstrations that took place around the world but at the end none of these demonstrations saved a single Palestinian life or stopped the bloodshed. What stopped the Palestinian bloodshed is the resistance that surprised the whole world. That is the only path to freedom; resistance in every shape and form.

Till my next email, warmest regards from Falsteen

Rand

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