From the Ending We Shall Begin

By Natalie Abu Shakra – Gaza

His green eyes divert in the opposite direction as I look into them. He smiles at me shyly, sadly, forlornly. I stand against the magnitude of a man, too great not to be noticed. His tall, dark figure directs me to the car, and his friend drives us to the sea. It is almost noon, and I peak towards his seat. The windows dark, the car white, the sun shining and we stop at the hotel. “We shall come in a minute,” he tells me, “find us a seat.”

The darkness of his skin makes his emerald green eyes fire with brightness. His name is Adnan, and he is a father of six children. “The pressure was immense, and its magnitude pushed me forward. It was a magnanimous sound with extreme pressure,” he spoke motioning his hands towards his face and his chest, his body leaning towards the table and his head rose forward not surrendering to the excruciating memory of the Israeli bombing of the Jawazat [passports] section of the Ministry of Interior. It was one of the first targets of the Israeli Apache planes at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday December 27, 2008 where around forty Palestinian citizens were slaughtered the day they were finishing their training course in being traffic officers.

Adnan was in the meeting room on the third floor, and in less than a second, he was under the rubble of a building leveled down. All he opened his eyes to, was a black void until sun rays from a nearby hole, in what seemed like a ceiling, was noticed. A flood of liquid poured down from his forehead, and he struggled to keep his eyes open against what he later realized was blood. Moments later, he was pulled out, and retrieved consciousness at the Shifa hospital full of people with amputated body parts, children with deep wounds on their faces and bodies. “I was shocked by the images. I forgot myself, I forgot my wounds, and I even forgot my pain. The images I saw were more shocking, were more painful than what my body was going through,” he told me calmly. But, Adnan is still alive, he goes back to work, he brings bread home.

The rubbles of the Jawazat section are now cleared off. Days ago, however, as I walked through the eastern neighborhood of Jabalya town, the rubbles of leveled down homes around me told different tales of resistance. I was greeted by families drinking tea above the ruins of their homes. As I walked past the uprooted olive tree orchards, a woman ran towards me crying “they killed the stones, the trees, the animals, the humans… they killed everything!” I observed the trails of the tanks, drawing images of the plummeting of the earth below them and devastating the life below their weight. But, I also saw a little green stem rise against the death of soil. As I ascended the staircase towards a still standing home’s roof, I saw two pigeons that the housekeeper had raised, killed. But, I also saw others flying around freely alive.

The core of this reality is not humanitarian. It is political. The core of this being is that it has been a being of 61 years of waiting, and the people are still waiting. The core of this absurdity is that there were around 483 children massacred during a period of twenty two days, and the criminal has not been tried yet. The core of this existence is that there have been numerous peace processes bringing about a series of episodes of massacres and acts of ethnic cleansing. The core of this actuality is that there is a society crippled, its development obstructed, its people repressed, oppressed, and imprisoned, and negotiations are still ongoing. From the tragedy of a siege to the tragedy of human slaughtering, and the sea still roars with pride along the coast of Gaza. “What can we do without the sea? I would die without the sea in Gaza” a friend tells me. There is always a sea. 

Behind the sadness of tales, there lies a resistance, the roaring of a people with a meteoric amalgam of unforeseen power. The song of resistance has not ended yet, and the words of Frantz Fanon come again to ring in the ears of oblivion a narration of liberation. “Faced with the extent of the damage, colonialism begins to have second thoughts,” he writes, “a generation of people willing to make sacrifices, to give all they have, impatient, with an indestructible pride.” The war on Gaza was a spark, a calling onto morality and justice, onto the boycotting and isolation of an Aparthied ideology, regime and political entity. It is now that the ending is writing a new beginning, in a cause that witnessed the false notions of many new beginnings. From the ending, then, we shall start. 

– Natalie Abu Shakra is from Lebanon and is affiliated with the International Solidarity Movement. She defied Israeli orders for Lebanese citizens not to go to Gaza and was able to get in with the Free Gaza movement. She contributed this article to

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