The 9th Day  (The Right to Live. Not the Right to not Die)



Najlaa Ataallh

Editor: Evelyn Teo

Did I die?

You ask again, “DID I DIE?”

This is your obsession in this ninth day. Life doesn’t cross your mind. Just DEATH.

You walk each space and corridor in your house. You try to observe who you are living with.

Did you think of them?

Or, did you not?

These are the young and the old, women and men, adults and children. There is a mother who is drowned in tears whenever she hears the children scream from the room above, in the embrace of their mothers and fathers.

Towards the end of the eight day, you read mountains of news about the truce… the international movements… all that’s happening in Gaza. You are numb. You don’t pay attention to anything from these news. There is nothing you can think of in your head. You are completely paralyzed from thinking, as a matter of fact, from interacting with any living creature on this planet.

You go mad when you read that the martyrs have now exceeded 190 and the wounded 1490. You hear the echoes of the screams that take place within your own head and you ask yourself, “This is the madness in itself, isn’t it?”


Lives traded with our death and our fears. The sounds of the shelling grew louder. You hear the screams in your soul, yet you don’t hear the sound of your own self. Not even the sound of your own breath. Your eyes can no longer capture any image. There is nothing but darkness.

Did I die?

No doubt, this is all your hallucination of what it’s like to be dead. I’m still thinking of being not dead. Yes, I kicked him out. I triumphed upon him. He did not hug me nor took me with him to the sky.

I’m still here. I’m on this ground.

You are delirious. Your temperature sky rocketed. Your body trembles uncontrollably. Your mother recites the versus from the Quran over your head. The bed shakes.

“What day is it today?”, you asked your mother.

She lowers her head, trying to answer you. It looks like she too has forgotten the day and the date.

But that’s not what you are asking for…

You wanted to know which day of the aggression is this day. Did you pass the ninth day without death harvesting you, or are you still inside this ninth day cycle?

Your mother held on to your hands and sighed in panic while she calls out the name of God and ask Him for your safety.

It’s the first time you saw something in these nine days: Your mother thinks about life without knowing that life is a right.

She kisses you on your forehead, eagerly waiting to see the light rise from your heart through her eyes..


About nataallh

"It is an attempt to be me"
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6 Responses to The 9th Day  (The Right to Live. Not the Right to not Die)

  1. Pingback: Gaza’s writers keep writing under the bombs |

  2. Pingback: Gaza’s writers keep writing under the bombs | altahrir, news of Islam, Muslims, Arab Spring and special Palestine

  3. Thank you for sharing your voice from Gaza. I have been to Gaza and hope this madness ends and you can truly live rather than ‘not die’. I too am a writer but I have been without words these past days. Enough is enough is enough. Time for Palestine to be free… We may be on opposite sides of the earth but we share the same hopes and dreams. I also share the same birth date as you. May you and your family be safe…
    الله معكم

    • nataallh says:

      please keep praying for us, the circumstances here is crazy,,,it is cant be described in words. I’m really thank you for supporting all Gaza people.

  4. Pingback: Gaza’s writers keep writing under the bombs

  5. nancy doyle says:

    I hope today you are safe, and tomorrow and tomorrow . . . and that a ceasefire and international help come soon..

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