A Gaza Diary: Tale of Two Families

By Najwa Sheikh

Gaza, the land of the continuous pain, and the unfolded stories, the lines of Gaza days are curved by the blood of it’s people, while its nights are drawn by the screams and cries of its inhabitants, of those who recall their bitterness, their loss, and found that the silence of these nights as their chance to show their pain without any fears, any limitations.

In Gaza every day have it own devastating story, a story that it is special of the details it has, special of the pain it holds, and of the misery of its characters. Every story shows the real face of the occupation that haunted us, of the ugly force of hearted that directed towards us not as humans, but as Palestinians.

The story of Abu Salameh family from Jabalya camp shows how the life of the Palestinians in Gaza can hold all the misery and sufferings that no one can hold, after the last IDF operation in the northern Gaza, Abu Salameh family spent days and nights looking for their missing son, they looked in the hospitals among the injured, and the dead but with no hope, with their faded hope of their son being alive, they were forced to accept that the identified body in the morgue is their son.

The parents rushed to the hospital accompanied with their own regret to see their son, praying that it is not true and that the corpus is not their son, however, prepared themselves to pay him the last look, to recall all the shared memories before he is laid down to his grave. The family realized how cruel the occupation is when they discovered that they even can not enjoy the last moments, simply because their son turned to be a fistful of flesh, and that they can not recognize him. This is what really happened with Abu Salameh family from Jabalya camp, but it is not the end of their painful story, the family members accepted their loss as many of us do not because we are strong but because we do not have any other solution, they buried their son. The family even opened the house of solace. Days after this event the father says “I saw Ahmed three times in my dream, he was calling me in a hoarse voice” but I convinced myself that he is dead, and all of these dreams are because I am missing him. The family accepted their loss.

In another house not far away from the previous family, another devastating story with another family which spends days and nights at the hospital in front of the ICU pray for Allah that their son will survive, and will overcome his severe injuries, The boy was at the same age as Ahmed Abu Salameh, and was at the same place when the artillery hit them together. His injuries were on the face and arms which make it difficult for Hijazi family to recognize their son, Hijazi family is from the same area where the Israeli soldiers left their creative marks in drawing the story of these two families.

The events of this story dramatically changed when Abu Salameh family received a call form a friend who was at the same hospital where the later boy was lying in comma, the friend told them that their son is still alive though in critical condition, Abu Salmaeh family refused to believe that but with the persistence of the caller, the family rushed to the hospital to discover that the news is true, and that the son they buried belonged to Hijazi family, who were waiting at the hospital praying that their son at the ICU will survive. Though the news brought happiness for Abu Salameh family after painful experience, it broke the hearts of Hijazi family who discovered that their son was buried without any of his family or relative around him, and that they can not pay him the last look, or even remember his last minute.

Many questions are stricken my mind with these stories. Stories that can tell the cruelty and inhumanity of this occupation but also tell the patience and great sufferings that my people have to hold since 1948, however, the question that mostly need an answer for how many years we have to wait, and how many other stories have to be told so the world accept that we the Palestinians are humans?

-Najwa Sheikh is a Palestinian refugee from al-Majdal located just north of the Gaza Strip. Shiekh has lived in refugee camps in Gaza her entire life where she is married and has three children. She contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.

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