Thursday, June 7, 2007

Children of Gaza

Recently I have realized that I take my childhood for granted.

These days children in Gaza are finishing their final exams. The summer has finally arrived, but I wonder what tidings it will bring for most children? Few news outlets have reported statements made by the Israeli deputy prime minister calling for Israel to shut off water and electricity to the Gaza Strip. In Gaza everyone is mentioning it, for the rest of the world this is not news.

Last Wednesday two boys were in the North of the Gaza Strip hunting birds with nets. They were shot and killed by Israeli army snipers at the border. The boys were no older than 12. My friend Wessam who is a photographer was called to the scene by one of the ambulance drivers that tried to come to their rescue, but it was already too late.

Abu Salim, a friend of mine recently told me that his children have learned to hit the floor once they hear any form of gunfire or explosions. With Israeli tanks near by and planes flying overhead they have spent many nights recently sleeping on the ground. It’s safer there.

My friend Mohamed from Biddo, a village near Ramallah says he has not seen the sea for 15 years. When his son asks him why they can’t go, he doesn’t know what to say. Jamal in Gaza is afraid of taking his kids to the beach near his house because last summer a whole family was murdered there by shells from an Israeli navy ship.

Children in Gaza are sort of like animals in a zoo. They eat and drink what they are given, their cage is always closed and there is only so much they can do and only so far they can go inside this little space.

It doesn’t really matter if its winter or summer.


aa said...

I wonder how much resilience can last, how many generations?

M.A.P. said...

thanks for the generous comment. it was great meeting you. we look forward to meeting up with you again [in gaza?]. sorry you threw up the other night. seriously, i hope it wasn't us.

M said...

Having been born Palestinian, my experience ranages from having known incursions, checkpoints, walls and much more. Still, in my understanding of the scarattered identity of a Palestinian, I classify myself as lucky. This seems to be a theme that runs accross the Palestinians. "It is true that we have it bad, but the others in this refugee camp have it worse," I often heard it said. Henceforth, I do not claim to know what it is like to be a Palestinian living in Gaza. Your writing about children in Gaza being like animals in a zoo has struck me. For you see, once there is hope-loss, there is nothing else. This is a battle I am too familiar with, a battle I constantly win and lose, but so far, I have not lost war of it. There is something that the Palestinians have somehow gained, though I dont kow how long they can maintain, and it is resilience, the hope that tomorrow will be better. This is perhaps why with each peace treaty and agreement, there is still a breath of hope in it. Foolish hope, perhaps, might be better than hope-loss. If you, as a foreigner who is privilged, cannot maintain hope living with the children of gaza, who will?

Anonymous said...

You do realize that Israeli kids in Sderot, who are having their final exams as well, are under shelling from Palestinian terrorists? Why the hell should Israel supply its enemies with water, oil and electricity?

Anonymous said...

(In case Israel does finally cut-off electricity from Gaza, I'm sure your enterprising compatriots will produce their own electricity. If they can build their own rockets, then why not electricity?)

Becka said...

Resilience is a beautiful gift that I admire. I believe that is a gift given by G-d to most all children who are suffering injustice. Palestinian children who are in Gaza who have suffered from the horrid conditions that they are forced to live in, Israeli children who have lost their families to the conflic (after all 1/3 of Israeli children go to bed hungry every night), Sudanese who have managed to survive the genocide, the garabage children in Nicaragua and many more.

I don't expect foreigners to have this resilience. After all, why should they have it? It is not happening to them. They are living in those conditions with those people; in sense, yes, it is happening to them, but we are still, in a way, outsiders to this conflict.

I agree that the children in Sderot must be remembered as well as those others. They too have suffered, but I believe it is completely ridiculous to contemplait taing from Gaza the last few necessities that are keeping the people a live. It is a common known fact that terrorism flourishes where there is lawlessness, chaos, poor economic conditions and lack of humanitarian respect (ex Sudan, Kashmir, Chechneya, Palestine, etc). Cutting off the electriicty would not only be human rights violation it would actually make things worse. This act would lead to more chaos which would lead to more terrorist acts. That is why Israel should definately think twice before considering such obsurd ideas.

Karin said...

I woke up this mornin' and none of the news was good
And death machines were rumblin' 'cross the ground where Jesus stood
And the man on my TV told me that it had always been that way
And there was nothin' anyone could do or say

And I almost listened to him
Yeah, I almost lost my mind
Then I regained my senses again
And looked into my heart to find

That I believe that one fine day all the children of Abraham
Will lay down their swords forever in Jerusalem

Well maybe I'm only dreamin' and maybe I'm just a fool
But I don't remember learnin' how to hate in Sunday school
But somewhere along the way I strayed and I never looked back again
But I still find some comfort now and then

Then the storm comes rumblin' in
And I can't lay me down
And the drums are drummin' again
And I can't stand the sound

But I believe there'll come a day when the lion and the lamb
Will lie down in peace together in Jerusalem

And there'll be no barricades then
There'll be no wire or walls
And we can wash all this blood from our hands
And all this hatred from our souls

And I believe that on that day all the children of Abraham
Will lay down their swords forever in Jerusalem

Steve Earle, Jerusalem, on CD of same name

Anonymous said...

It's sad to see kids dying, but it is even sadder to see kids killing others (or willing to kill)