The 10th Day “Am I Going to Stay Alive?”


Najlaa Ataallh

Editor: Evelyn Teo


The aggression is still not over, but you wish with all your might that it is.

You decide on this tenth day to retreat from the rest of the world and everything around you. You remain in your room. You don’t hear, nor speak, nor follow anyone. You even decide not to check or read what others are writing in the social web. You just want to introspect and think.

You lay on your bed, looking at the white ceiling, asking yourself, “I wonder how far is this ceiling from Heaven’s gate? How many meters will it take for martyrs to reach it? Perhaps in less than a minute. That’s the distance it takes for a rocket to land on one’s head.”

You let out a heavy sigh.

We’ve broken the record of not estimating in kilometers, rather in minutes. We don’t even have the option to go one step beyond the Rafah border. At this time, the crossings are closed in the face of the people that are standing at a hair-strand distance between life and death. There are people who crossed and made it to Heaven’s gate while the rest of their bodies still stay as witness on the ground.

“Am I going to stay alive?”

Suddenly you are reminded that this is the third aggression that you have lived through in the three decades of your life. The childhood memories of growing up in panic and pain. Oh, all these memories… These aggressions have taken away all the beautiful memories of your life, all its details, and buried them under the soil.

After surviving each aggression, you always make a promise to yourself. The promise that if you were to stay alive, you will live and embrace life with more joy than ever before. You will tell the carefree girl in your neighborhood as you observe her walking in and out of her house that you really admire her. In fact, you will tell her that you love her. You will not hold back in reluctance, not even for once. You feel this love exploding inside you as did the explosions that took all the houses in the airstrikes. This explosion is not because of anger of it all, rather of love.

If you were to stay alive, you promise to never give up hope in loving life. You will find every chance you can to exercise and enjoy every second of your life until your last breath.

All of a sudden, you snapped back into reality of still living in an aggression and you asked yourself, “If I live, will I change?”

In the past, you had managed to run away from death each time. If you survive, this will be the third time you gain a new life. It will be the third time you decide to love this cursed city more and more. Can you choose not to? She takes everything and bury it under the soil. This city doesn’t change. All of us grew older, or will grow old and die. New life will be born again and again. Yet, she stays the same way she is. Nothing changed. The borders are still closed. The aggression keeps increasing. The streets are still unpaved as they are. Those that are ruined are still broken. She is still begging God to give her love and life. People will stay as they want to live but the Angel of Death doesn’t spare them. The angel doesn’t leave her sky and the Tombs Angel doesn’t leave the ground.

“Am I going to stay alive?”

Taking a long deep breath with your lungs, you exhale loudly and say, “Pleaseeeee God. Pleaseeeeee. Give me either death or life.”

You continue to plead to God.

“Give me one or the other, not something in between.”

“A step forward is towards death. Yet, a step backward is pushed by life.”

“I want to live without losing my soul. I want to die without losing my body parts.”

“Tell me, God. If death didn’t manage to take me in these days, am I going to stay alive?”

“Tell me…”

“Will I ever get to tell that girl in my neighborhood that my heart loves her?”



About nataallh

"It is an attempt to be me"
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