Monday, December 29, 2008

Day Two: More from Safa in Gaza City

Shock and awe is pretty brutal up close. Brave Safa has managed to get power for her computer, and shares her thoughts under bombardment:

It's 1.30 am but it feels like the sun should be up already. For the past few hours there's been heavy aerial bombardment of Gaza city and the northern Gaza Strip simultaneously. It feels like the longest night of my life. In my area it started with the bombing of workshops (usually located in the ground floor of private/family residential buildings), garages and warehouses in one of the most highly condensed areas in Gaza city "Askoola". About an hour ago they bombed the Islamic university, destroying the laboratory building. As I mentioned in an earlier account, my home is close to the university. We heard the first explosion, the windows shook, the walls shook and my heart felt like it would literally jump out of my mouth. My parents, siblings and cousins who have been staying with us since their home was damaged the first day of the air raids, had been trying to get some sleep. We all rushed to the side of the house that was farthest. Hala, my 11 year old sister stood motionless and had to be dragged to the other room. I still have marks on my shoulder from when Aya, my 13 year old cousin held on to me during the next 4 explosions, each one as violent and heart stopping as the next. Looking out of the window moments later the night sky had turned to a dirty navy-gray from the smoke .

Israeli warships rocketed the Gazas only port only moments ago, 15 missiles exploded, destroying boats and parts of the ports. These are just initial reports over the radio. We don't know what the extent of the damage is. We do know that the fishing industry that thousands of families depend on either directly or indirectly didn't pose a threat on Israeli security The radio reporter started counting the explosions, I think he lost count after 6. At his moment we heard 3 more blasts. "I'm mostly scared of the whoosh", I told my sister, referring to the sound a missile makes before it hits. Those moments of wondering where its going to fall are agonizing. Once the whooshes and hits were over the radio reporter announced that the fish market (vacant of course) had been bombed.

We just heard that 4 sisters from the family of "Ba'lousha" have been killed in an attack that targeted the mosque my their home in the northern Gaza Strip.

You know what bothers me more than the bangs and the blasts, the smoke, the ambulance sirens and the whooshs? The constant, ominous, maddening droning sound of the Apaches overhead that’s been buzzing in my head day and night. It's like I'm hearing things, which I'm not, but I am.


Saleema said...

Safa, even though I am so far away from you pain and suffering, I want you to know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers, as well as all innocent Palestinians.

With much love,

Anonymous said...

Stop firing rockets at Israel and Israel will stop dropping bombs on you. Is that so hard for you to understand? Do you expect to be able to continue to fire rockets at Israeli towns without any consequences whatsoever?

Anonymous said...

Did you know that two thousand years ago a Roman citizen could walk across the face of the known world free of the fear of molestation? He could walk across the earth unharmed, cloaked only in the words Civis Romanis I am a Roman citizen. So great was the retribution of Rome, universally understood as certain, should any harm befall even one of its citizens.

Hamas just thought it could launch missiles win impunity against Israel and there will not be any significant response. Well they are being proved wrong.

By the way, it doesn't look like the world is that upset. Sure you have the "usual suspects" whining and all but people are pretty tired of them.

AJ said...

I guess there will be no more dancing and passing out candy in Gaza city for some time to come.

Anonymous said...

That is why this "sob story" doesn't touch me.

AJ said...
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AJ said...

Swinging cats by their tails.

AJ said...
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AJ said...
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Izzy Bee said...

AJ- you seem to be confused. Safa is a citizen of Gaza, and not a militant member of Hamas. Your nasty and uninformed comments are unwelcome here. Hers is not a sob story, but an eyewitness report of bombardment by air and sea

Safa said...

Thank god for generators and the few liters of gas we had stashed somewhere. Maybe Israel will be nice and try to make up by letting fuel in in a few days time...yep we're pretty much counting on that...not. And thank you so much for posting my notes

T Dubz said...

People all over the world including here in New York City feel the pain and suffering of the millions in Gaza. Despite any international notions of right and wrong the is always humanity and pity for the innocent who are simply trying to live happy and healthy lives.

AJ said...
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Anonymous said...

Don't forget that these are the people who danced and passed out candy on 9-11

AJ said...
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CassieC said...


sorry for all the knee-jerk anti-Palestinian comments. These people are brainwashed and totally indoctrinated - they can't think for themselves or have human empathy anymore.

Safa, everyone on the news says that ground invasion is next, in the next 2 days. Israel has tanks on the border and they have called up 65 thousand reservist soldiers. In my opinion they want to wipe Gaza and its inhabitants from the face of the earth. Good luck to you and your family, but please realize that a ground invasion is coming.

Anonymous said...
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CassieC said...

Anonymous, you cowardly bastard, you are a shame to humans everywhere. The lesson I learned from my Jewish family is never again for ANYBODY. When I see the Palestinians in Gaza, I think of my family members who didn't get out of Germany in time.

Safa and the Palestinians are not my enemies - and if you stopped believing the crap you've been brainwashed with long enough to think for yourself, you'd realize they are not your enemies either.

The population of Gaza are overwhelmingly civilians. They have no defenses. How can it even help if I tell someone the ground invasion is coming? They have no defenses, nothing. They can only hope and pray that in the massacre of the next days, they and their families will miraculously survive.

Scott said...

Remember the TRUE victims.

Steve said...

Here is what the Palestinian children watch on television.

Scott said...
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Anonymous said...

Safa's people danced and passed out candy on 9-11.

Don't tell me they are not my enemy.

CassieC said...

And Americans cheered during all kinds of wars and attacks, and turned a willfully blind eye to many others (for instance in Latin America). Americans have made themselves the #1 public enemy, ever more so since 9-11.

Your "recollection" of history seems mighty one-sided, but as long as you get to wank off to slightly different humans getting massacred, why let that get in the way? It's their fault for being slightly different! They're clearly inherently bad! What does that kind of reasoning remind me of, you fascist pig?

Michelle said...

Since you all seem to be preoccupied I thought you might want to be informed of some even more important news that has dominated the US media.

At 5:37 p.m. the pool could see Obama get out of his golf cart and approach his ball located in the middle of the fairway on the 414-yard, par-4 18th hole. He took three practice swings before centering the ball and hitting a shot that flew low and straight for about 75 yards before landing at the front, center-edge of the green.

More than 100 people sitting on a rock wall along the fairway applauded as Obama approached and he put his gloved right hand to his mouth to signal for quiet, pointing to another member of his group who was getting ready to shoot. As he got close to his ball, [Obama] turned to the crowd and said, 'Hey guys. That was pretty good right? That almost made up for my 20-yard drive.

Also, you should see Obama with his shirt off while swimming in Hawai'i. SEXY! The photos have been all over the news.

So, while I know you can tend to get preoccupied about what is going on in your neck of the woods please keep up on the important things going on in the world.

Aloha Safa! Do you know that means both hello and goodbye? I think that is so cool that the Hawai'ians use only one word for both.

Jawad said...

While the Gaza strip is currently facing some of the toughest challenges in the Palestinian territories, I’m writing my own very personal story. But it is also the story of 1.6 million Palestinians living in Gaza.

The 28th of December, 2008, was a day to remember. It was 4:30 p.m. I was sitting with my six kids at my house which is 500 metres away from the Egyptian border. The darkness was surrounding us like a monster, and a few candles were lighting our path to the kitchen and bathroom. It was a moonless night, full of unpredictable, unknown fear. I was telling my kids stories to distract them, when suddenly it was like an earthquake - six consecutive air strikes shook the house up and down. The house was like a piece of paper swinging in the air. The kids were screaming, running in all directions, seeking to escape the chaos of the airstrikes. It was uncontrollable panic every where.
What made the situation more complicated was the screaming of kids all over the quarter. It was the only thing you could hear after the airstrikes. All the children in the neighbourhood ran downstairs to the main road, crying and screaming in such away I have never witnessed in my whole life. The street was full of parents trying to find their kids and bring them back home. Among this chaos, I barely gathered my own children and went back home.

We sat again in darkness and I started talking to them again in an effort to calm them down. Yazan, my 12-year-old son suddenly asked, "Dad, are we ever going to live in peace again? I like to climb, I like to swing like a monkey, and I like to fly like a bird. Why can’t we play like those children we watch in kids’ TV programs every day?"

A burning teardrop rolled down on my face, and all of a sudden, I was not able to say a word.

Yazan continued, "Isn’t it Christmas holiday now dad? Are we not supposed to have a party and eat some cake?"

As I was trying to answer him, another air strike shook the house again, and this time all of my kids snuggled to me like small birds. My body was grabbed by small hands everywhere, and I wished, at that moment, that I had ten hands to hug them all, because this was exactly what they needed.

The last thing I said to them, with pain: "This is temporary."
My 16 year-old-daughter replied, "Dad, yes, it is temporary forever."

The above post is written by Jawad Harb, a CARE project manager living and working in Gaza. CARE has been active in relief and development in the West Bank and Gaza since 1948. Since the onset of the current outbreak of violence, CARE has been providing food and medical supplies to Gaza hospitals and the Red Crescent Society in Gaza. CARE is pleading with all sides to stop the fighting and allow full humanitarian access to Gaza.

Anonymous said...

You know how Jawad could hug all his kids?

It's called Birth Control!

Michelle said...

All you people worried about this Gaza thing.

Here is something of real concern.

Barack Obama will be in the middle of a controversial event on New Year’s Eve in Hawaii that could interfere with his good health if he isn’t careful.

Everyone in Hawaii will face the same problems, and there are articles that warn about it everywhere on the islands.

Fireworks are the custom in Hawaii, and just about every family has a stash. Although aerial fireworks are illegal, some locals still keep them around. Firecrackers, however, are part of family fun. The smoke from the fireworks around Oahu, the island where Obama is staying, can be so thick that the city officials give warnings to everyone, especially to those with breathing problems.

Obama is surely familiar with Hawaii custom and the fireworks, as is everyone who lives or visits there during the holidays. Obama will be better off staying in Kailua on the breezier side of the islands, but he still will have to be cautious wherever he goes.

Fireworks are big business at the holidays. They are big business for the sale of them and also for the people who put out the fires started from them or tend to the injured later. Every year people debate the use of fireworks, and every year they continue. During the 28 years I lived there, having left the islands just three years ago, I experienced the thick smoke, the coughing and the debates about the fireworks. I was one of those who didn’t go outside until after the smoke had cleared.

The newspapers run columns every year, warning people what to do about the fireworks, where they can or cannot be used and how to avoid getting hurt. But every year the casualties continue. Furthermore every year there is a list of reported fires. People look out for them because the fireworks can go over rooftops, and wooden houses that are the usual type of home in the outlying areas can quickly go up in flames.

The Honolulu Advertiser reports that the 154,000 residents with impaired lung function statistically found in Hawaii must be particularly careful on New Year’s Eve because of the fireworks.

For those who are going to Hawaii for the holidays, here’s the place to find the rules so you don’t become overwhelmed with the smoke.

Obama knows “da kine” (the kind) of custom in Hawaii for New Years and will take the precautions the local folk do. But just in case, here’s a healthy reminder: stay healthy and inside this holiday night because we need you in top shape tomorrow as you prepare to become President of the United States in January.


You are so selfish worrying about yourself when Obama is in such danger!

Anonymous said...

The Israelis who complain of rockets landing in Israel are also prisoners. They are prisoners of the arguments that are used to equate the suffering of Gazans and Israelis. I was born in Israel, and although I now live in the US I hear these empty arguments all the time. The sad truth is that no one cares anymore. It has become background noise. We need leaders who are willing to take a new path to peace.

nehedar said...

wow, there's so many strong opinions! i saw a youtube video today where a man with a southern accent talked about how he watched two (propaganda) documentaries and decided that he knew all about the palestinian situation he said it was extremely simple the israelis are bad and the palestinians are good. a word came to my mind : brainwashed.
cassie is using the same word but i wonder if she also thinks the situation is so "simple" i'll bet that for the people of sderot and gaza the current situation is simple they want the terror to stop. NOW.
but the history is not simple, if it were this all be figured out, and any one who says it is simple, one side is all bad and the other all good.. well, i'd call you naive.
anonymous (if you're all one person) represents one side of propaganda and cassie represents the other. neither can help the situation since they themselves represent an extention of the fight.
safa is (if she is real) a pure voice, i respect that, i urge her to seek out the peacemakers and try to steer away from hate. (i realize that is a callous suggestion to someone shut in their home, but i mean after this wave ends and she is safe.
anyone looking for a good peacemaker doc should check out encounter point.

michelle, i know you think you are being clever and poignant but i for one am willing to wait for the president to BE president before i accuse him of sleeping on the job. he's going to have more problems than you can even imagine so i'd be cool with him enjoying himself while the country is not yet his job. and as for the media coverage... we haven't heard about the massacre in the congo
400 dead... hacked to death..

but we have gotten a strong dose of gaza.

be strong safa, inshallah things will improve for you. your people deserve smart and good leaders.

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