By Dr. Shah Alam Khan
Do we know how to mourn the dead? Do we know how to laugh in grief and then all of a sudden cry with pain that’s unbearable? Do we know the feel of the cold nozzle of a Kalashnikov on a sweaty forehead? Have we ever heard the explosion of a phosphorus bomb in the house next-door, neighbors included? How many of us can identify the smell of human flesh- raw, burnt, but still human? Welcome to Gaza!
The story of Gaza-2014 is the story of four-year-old Mohammed Khalaf al-Nawasra, of the five-year-old Abdallah Abu Ghazi, of the ten year old Bassim Salim Kawareh, of the four-year-old Sahir Abou Namous and of other innumerable little angles who were born on a piece of land which they thought was their home. Where else can a five year old be most secure than within the four walls of his house? In an era where child rights, child abuse and children safety take center stage; we hear that the four-year-old Khalaf was brought to the hospital “in shreds”.
Silence is unthinkable!
Gaza of 2014 has given a new meaning to mourning. Last week a Palestinian friend wrote, “For us mourning is a reawakening”. It appears that for the people of Gaza, perception of grief is a perception of hope or how else can we explain the sustenance of life amidst so much pain and sorrow. How can we justify the beating of hearts and warmness of breath when there is so much rubble around- rubble which includes, houses, schools, dolls, children, moms, dreams and hope.
Gaza is synonymous with grief. But isn’t grief painful? Grief is fear. Grief is horror. But grief being a “reawakening” is something that is beyond normal human perspicacity. Who cannot understand the anguish of losing a child? How then are the moms and dads of Gaza surviving? Grief, as we all perceive, is indulgent and comes in waves. In cycles of depression, anger, depression and more anger. The brave people of Gaza seem to have a new way to celebrate their dead children. Reawakening!
Israel can pound this stretch of 25 miles with more phosphorus bombs. It can further fence up the cage that is Gaza, but the courage of the Palestinian mothers and fathers stands extraordinary. Surely Gaza is the land of the reawakened! Gaza is the land of the valiant! The hellholes of war can have no better extinguishers than those who are enlightened by the blood of their loved ones. The UN declared 2014 as the “Year of UN Solidarity with the People of Palestine”. The solidarity of Palestinians with death and the dead is heart warming.
– Dr. Shah Alam Khan is Additional Professor at the Department of Orthopaedics – All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.