Rockets Falling on Us – Gaza’s Newton Lights Up Tents and Hearts in Rafah

Hussam Al Attar, 15, managed to create electricity to light up his displaced family’s tent in Rafah. (Image: Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

As the saying goes ‘necessity is the mother of invention’, it took more than two attempts before Hussam Al Attar, 15, managed to create electricity to light up his displaced family’s tent in Rafah, in the besieged southern Gaza Strip. 

Al Attar’s family is one of tens of thousands forced to flee their home in the north due to Israel’s relentless bombardment of the enclave.  

He said they spent 20 days living in darkness in the tent.  

“I felt sorry for my parents and siblings due to the complete darkness here, so I thought of creating this to ease the suffering we are going through …,” he said in an interview with Al Jazeera. 

Al Attar is known for finding “stuff in scrap and then (I) make something out of it,” he said, adding that he loves “playing with everything until I create something out of broken things.” 

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Before the war, he made an underwater light, for example. 

This time, his tinkering led to supplying power for his family. 

“I made a windmill that generates electrical power,” Al Attar explained in another interview. 

“I got a dynamo and installed it. The fast wind, along with the fan and the wind force, spins the fan, generating electrical power that lights our devices.”

His ingenuity has earned him the nickname ‘Gaza’s Newton’.

Newton was sitting under a tree, when an apple fell on his head and he discovered gravity, said Al Attar. 

“And here we are living in darkness and tragedy, and rockets falling on us, therefore, I thought of creating light, and did so,” he reportedly said. 

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Electrical Engineering Ambitions

Up to 1.9 million Palestinians – or over 85 percent of the Gaza population – have been internally displaced, some multiple times since October 7, according to UNRWA. More than half of the population is now crammed in Rafah, a town of originally 250,000 people, where they lack the necessities to survive, the UN has said. 

Al Attar is quoted as saying that “I looked at my twin nephews and saw only fear in their eyes. They felt lonely in the dark inside the tent. So I thought … Bring joy to them, and light up this place.”

Proud of her son’s achievements, Hussam’s mother reportedly said: “This is a Palestinian generation that will not be defeated. It is a generation that is searching for life in the midst of darkness and death.”

Al Attar’s achievements are yet another symbol of unflinching hope and steadfastness in the face of utter devastation in the besieged enclave.  

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“My message is to lift the blockade on Gaza, rebuild homes…,”Al Attar said. “And for someone to support me in further developing my field … so I can become an electrical engineer, God willing.”

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 27,840 Palestinians have been killed, and 67,317 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 8,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip. 

Palestinian and international estimates say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all of the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.


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