By Haidar Eid
A Hanounite woman sits on a rock in the middle of what once was a home that contained dreams, hopes, and desires! My ghost wipes her tears and weeps along with her
I stand over the ruins of a house in the eastern part of al-Shejaiya neighborhood. My ghost stands over the remains of a similar house in Beit Hanoun village. I peer into the horizon. Most probably the dead body of a martyr lies under the rubble where I stand; she could not respond to the Israeli “warning” comprised of several artillery shells, missiles from a reconnaissance drone, followed by another missile shot from an F16, a warplane made in the United States of America – a gift to the Palestinian people, part of the USAID.
In this house, a woman lived with her husband and two sons and two daughters. Both house and family are gone forever!
They are gone!
The adjacent house is “luckier!” Its owner inspects it with strange astonishment. His neighbour, a woman, screams when she sees all that she once owned turned into rubble because the president of the USA believes that “Israel has the right to defend itself!”
My ghost in Beit Hanoun pats the shoulder of my brilliant female university student, offering her a tissue to wipe her tears! It embraces her father, and carries her crying little sister who is searching for her mother under the rubble. Ghosts do not weep yet this is an exception. This incident must be recorded as “the first ghost that weeps in history” over the rubble of a house in what used to be known as the docile and peaceful Beit Hanoun village in the northern Gaza Strip.
The ghost of my ghost consoles my ghost. It sings to the Hanounite woman sitting on a rock in the middle of what once was a home that contained dreams, hopes, and desires! It wipes her tears and weeps along with her:
“Oh Beit Hanoun, Oh warm-hearted reed pipe. Yet it will never betray!”
In al-Shejaiya, I hear the cooing of a dove coming from the south, from Khuza’a! It bears the story of another home, from elsewhere. It is another dream; another miscarriage. The home is a woman, a lover, a beloved woman who has feelings for you, and whom you have feelings for! She is you, and you are her. There are no boundaries, no separations. When it is demolished, something within you dies!
“Wein Aboya? Where is my father? Wein Emmi? Where is my mother?” The little girl says, screaming in an authentic Gazan dialect over the rubble of another house; the same house where the cooing pigeon had landed!
I try to gather my scattered soul. My shadow refuses to return to my body. My ghost rebels against its master!
On Laylat-al-Qadr, my prayer was:
“Oh God, make me Superman only during this ongoing massacre. I ask for nothing else, oh merciful God!
Make me Superman, and I shall not attack any Israelis, neither a soldier nor a civilian. I shall not aggress against neither Netanyahu nor Lieberman, and not even la femme fatale Tzipi Livni, or normalisers. Not even the Egyptian buffoon, Tawfiq Okasha.
I shall only intercept the path of the shells before they kill the children of Gaza!”
Yet, in spite of my prayer, 580 children were slaughtered in cold blood, and I could not turn into a Superman to protect them from the missiles! Accordingly, the following dialogue ensued between my ghost and its ghost, since I was unable to participate:
Where are those who gave us headaches with the “economic peace” at the beginning of this year?
What does ex-Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad think of the “new Palestinian?” Do salaries still constitute an alternative to freedom and justice? Is there anybody who still believes that the Israeli media is “democratic and free?” Where is the recognized state of Palestine? Are al-Shejaiya, Beit Hanoun, and Khuza’a part of it?
Do we still not want to create enemies for Israel, as one PA leader once said? How did the Palestinian cause and “the confrontation of the Zionist project” change from a fundamental and principled cause into a “danger to national security” and a basis for an atrocious animosity that gloats over the massacres of children – “Let them get killed, we don’t care,” and “may God make Netanyahu victorious!”
Is there a single free Palestinian who does not support the resistance superman?
My ghost decides to depart forever after its own ghost deserts it!
-Haidar Eid is Associate Professor in the Department of English Literature, Al-Aqsa University, Gaza Strip, Palestine. (This article was first published in Middle East Eye)