Victoria Schneider & Ilham Rawoot
Two nights ago, Israel launched a ground invasion of the Gaza strip in order to fight Hamas in the tunnels they use to sneak into Israel.
The announcement was followed by what people in the strip described as the heaviest night of the war so far. “Bombs, just bombs, every single minute”, Ahmed Balousha wrote just before midnight. A few hours later the situation hadn’t changed, “here in Beit Lahia they are still bombing, our relatives in Beit Hanoun have left their homes”, he wrote at 3.30 local time. Their family had been asked to evacuate as well, but until now the Baloushas refuse to move.
Now, after another day of intense fire the death toll in Gaza exceeds 337, with more than3000 people injured.
A voice for the young people in the strip is the Gaza Youth Breaks Out Movement, a group of anonymous cyber activists founded in 2010. Currently, they are tweeting and posting updates
A Manifesto from Gaza
We, the youth in Gaza, are fed up with Israel, the occupation, the violations of human rights and the indifference of the international community.
We want to scream and break this wall of silence, injustice and indifference like the Israeli F16s break the wall of sound. We want to scream with all the power in our souls to release this immense frustration that consumes us because of the situation we live in. We are like lice between two nails, living a nightmare inside a nightmare with no room for hope, no space for freedom.
We are sick of being caught in this political struggle; sick of dark nights with aeroplanes circling above our homes; sick of innocent farmers getting shot in the buffer zone because they are taking care of their land; sick of bearded guys walking around with their guns abusing their power, beating up or incarcerating young people who are demonstrating for what they believe in. We are sick of the wall of shame that separates us from the rest of our country and keeps us imprisoned in a stamp-sized piece of land; sick of being portrayed as terrorist fanatics with homemade explosives in our pockets and evil in our eyes; sick of the indifference we meet from the international community, the so-called experts, in expressing concerns and drafting resolutions but who are cowards when it comes to enforcing anything they agree on. We are sick and tired of living a deprived life, being kept in jail by Israel and being completely ignored by the rest of the world.
There is a revolution growing inside of us, an immense dissatisfaction and frustration that will destroy us unless we find a way of channelling this energy into something that can challenge the status quo and give us some kind of hope. It is difficult to find words to describe the pressure we are under.
We barely survived the Operation Cast Lead, where Israel very effectively bombed the hell out of us, destroying thousands of homes and even more lives and dreams. It did not get rid of Hamas, as it intended, but it did well in scaring us forever as there was nowhere to run.
We are a youth with heavy hearts. We carry inside us a heaviness so immense that it has become difficult for us to enjoy the sunset. How to enjoy it when dark clouds paint the horizon and bleak memories run past our eyes every time we close them? We smile to hide the pain. We laugh to forget the war. We hope so that we don’t commit suicide because of the unmistakable feeling that Israel wants to erase us from the face of the earth.
We are a generation of young people used to facing missiles, carrying what seems to be an impossible mission of living a normal and healthy life, and being only barely tolerated by a massive organisation that has spread in our society like a malicious cancer.
We live in a prison, a prison sustained by a so-called democratic country. History is repeating itself in its most cruel way and nobody seems to care.
We are scared. Here in Gaza we are scared of being incarcerated, interrogated, hit, tortured, bombed, killed. We are afraid of living, because every step we take has to be considered and thought about. There are limitations everywhere. We cannot move as we want, say what we want, do what we want. Sometimes we even can’t think what we want because the occupation has occupied our brains and hearts so terribly that it hurts and it makes us want to shed endless tears of frustration and rage.
We do not want to hate. We do not want to feel all of these feelings. We do not want to be victims any more.
Enough! Enough pain, enough tears, enough suffering, enough control, limitations, unjust justifications, terror, torture, excuses, bombings, sleepless nights, dead civilians, black memories, bleak future, heart-aching present, disturbed politics, fanatic politicians, religious bullshit, incarceration!
We say stop! This is not the future we want.
We want to be free. We want to live. We want peace.
We want a free Gaza!
Pic Credit: Mohamed Jabaly