The Eighth Day. “Did I get used to this?”






Najlaa Ataallh

Editor: Evelyn Teo

I slept last night!

Yet, I woke up in horror screaming, “How did I sleep? They didn’t stop bombing the city! How did I sleep through it? How could this be?”

You couldn’t believe yourself. You kept washing your face, over and over again. You kept blaming yourself, “How could I do this?”

Is it possible that your heart no longer tremble from the sounds of shelling?

Is it possible that you stop paying attention to the news?

Did you begin waiting until your fate befalls you without doing anything at all?

You don’t even read the Quran anymore in these blessed fasting days of Ramadan.

Your imagination stops functioning. It stops you from remembering the stories around you. You lose the ability to guide your mind to not let your heart die with each explosion that hit the ground. Yet, you are able to carry the burden of still listening to the shelling and to the names of people whose lives were taken by it…

Another cold splash on your face and you question yourself, “Is today simply another ordinary routine, just like the days before the aggression started eight days ago? Can this be real?”

You tremble in horror when you utter the number 8. You scream at the image of yourself in the mirror, “Dear God! Eights days have passed. It’s been 192 hours and counting. You keep on counting in your head. It’s as if you need to add more hours to feel the intense ache pounding in your chest.”

The louder you scream, the more intense the pain in you becomes.

You rushed out of the house to observe your surroundings.  The atmosphere on the street hasn’t changed. People are still alive, talking to each other, sitting in front of their houses, and gathering in circles discussing the situations around town. 

You are amazed.

What’s happening to all of us?

Did our senses die?

Did we grow to make more space to bear all of this? Or, is it because we can’t bear it anymore?

A virulent feeling shook your soul and you repeat to yourself, “NO! This is NOT normal! I would not and will not get used to this humanitarian nightmare!”

The picture of your dream is now painted with the following scenes:

The sounds of bombings…

The flames setting each cell of your brain on fire…

Your eyeballs staring at you fiercely in the face…

Your nose is bleeding profusely…

 The echoes of the sounds of war ripping your ear drums…

 Hysterical laughter and crying…

A blurred vision of men, women, children piling up…

Their shadows overlapping one another…

Even your own vision is now stolen away from you, mixed up with reality. You didn’t wake up from your sleep, but the horror…. The horror came from inside you and it became you.

Standing still in shock you realized, “No… The number isn’t 100. It has now become 170 and 1200…” Yes, these are the numbers of martyrs and wounded.

You screamed on top of your lungs. Your voice penetrated through the walls into your neighbors’ houses.

“NOOOOOOO!!! I REFUSE to get used to the routine of war! This is an urgent crisis that MUST end forever!!!”


About nataallh

"It is an attempt to be me"
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