Victoria Schneider & Ilham Rawoot
The other night, Nour Balousha, a Gazan in exile in Malaysia, told us about a phone call she received from her close friend who lives in Gaza City’s Al-Shuja’iya neighbourhood. Last Sunday the area was targeted by Israeli tanks and artillery. In one day more than 70 people were killed and hundreds were wounded, many of them women and children.
“I must tell you about my friend, he lives in Al-Shuja’iya. He told me about how he and his family left their house when the Israeli bombing started on Sunday.
He left without any clothes, without anything. He just took his laptop and his mobile, and without shoes or any belongings he, his mother and his brothers left their home.
He said many people were murdered in Al-Shuja’iya, everywhere. They were walking over the dead in the neighbourhood. Bodies were all over the streets. “We cannot wait; we cannot think; we just need to leave!” he said. “The bombing is a few metres away from us. We must walk over them – if we don’t, we will die. Whenever a rocket hit somewhere, I shouted, ‘Mom!, we are not going to die now’.”
And the murdered people, he said, were burnt, smoking. “I tried to walk but I couldn’t.”
They finally escaped and found refuge in a Christian department as they thought the Israelis might not target Christian institutions in Gaza.
“He said to me: ‘We are without shoes, without clothes, without anything. My mother came without cover.’ And then he said: ‘Maybe I need to die. Really, maybe I should die.’”
I called my mother and told her she must leave as well. But there is nowhere safe to go.
Last Sunday was the worst day in Gaza. They destroyed all our houses, all our feelings. They destroyed the hope. If people don’t have their houses, what are they going to do? He said he wants to leave. He said he wants a visa to go, like me, to Malaysia.
I told him he must finish university. But he said: “I don’t want university. I need my life. I need to go out. I am ready to start from the first semester.”
They destroyed all the hope that was left inside the people of Gaza.
Pic Credit: Gaza by Mohammed Jabaly