Editor: Evelyn Teo
As you slept through the 11th day truce, you woke up on the 12th day back to observing the escalation of aggression. You started to listen to the news again and reacted with life. Perhaps your fears lessen. Perhaps your faith intensified.
You are still in pain. You are constantly reminded of all the sorrows as the news portray the images and numbers of the dead and wounded. In this 12th day, the latest count now reached 200 martyrs and more than 1900 wounded.
You are still you. You tried hard to swallow your saliva. You felt intense anger and screamed, “Shame on you people! These aren’t numbers!!! They are human lives, each with a story and dream!!!” Yet there is something more shocking than this. Your jaws dropped. You are speechless.
“The Ground Invasion Begins”, says the news headline.
You screamed in the faces of your family members. “What the fuck is this?! How long will the Angel of Death remain in our sky?! Tell him to leave us and go to a different planet!”
Everyone in the room stared at you, yet nothing came out of their mouths. Your older brother broke the silence and said, “What happened to you?! Have you gone mad?!”
You pounded your fist on the table in front of you. You stomped to your room. Your mother followed you.
“What is happening to you? Be calm, please…”, your mother said in a soft voice.
You look at her with a forced smile but you are furious in your heart. “Oh great. I wish this fucking calm word is as simple as you put it.”
You collected yourself, held her hands and kissed them saying, “My heart is aching for all who died, mother. This is their destinies.”
“Will we leave our house?”
“Must we evacuate to avoid the airstrikes and the pounding artillery?”
“Where will we go?”
Your older brother entered the room as you spoke of the evacuation.
“We can’t live in this house anymore. The ground invasion isn’t an illusion.”
“They don’t differentiate anyone. All of us are targets for them.”
He shouted at you, “SHUT UP! We will stay in this house!”
Your heart can’t help but race. You sat together with your family in the living room. The children are cheering at the sounds of bombs- they thought they are fireworks. Yet they find themselves scared and crying at times saying, “These are scary sounds. We are afraid.”
There is no safe place, or a less dangerous space in Gaza. No one corner will escape the violation. All of them are under the malice and fires of the Israeli forces.
What can you say to these children? Their crying intensifies, clinging on to your dress, hugging you tightly, burying their head in your lap.
You stole one look at your mother, sister, and brother and said, “Oh Lord! You are staying for these children…”
All of you slept in one mass, hugging one another. Only the warmth of your hearts are sheltering you from the fragments of death. Your hearts are igniting the courageous life in one body that will scream right in the face of death before the shells.