Thursday, January 08, 2009

'Dad, Why is it so loud tonight?'

Another message comes from Jawad Harb, who works for CARE International in Rafah, near the southern border of the Gaza Strip. Gaza's skies have been full of attack helicopters and bombers shattering all sleep for 13 days and nights. Israel silenced its guns for a daily three hour 'humanitarian corridor' pause, starting Wednesday, but this barely allows enough time to bury the dead and distribute aid. The Palestinian death toll is 770 and mounting...and nearly one third of the dead are women and children. All sons and daughters, husbands and wives. Israeli losses are about a dozen.

'This is the 13th day of the attack. It is really more horrible than we could ever describe. We feel like the sky is going to attack us. There is nothing worse than being tired, needing to sleep so badly, but being unable to sleep. We feel if we close our eyes for a moment, we will die.

It is 4:45 a.m. My six-year-old son just woke up, and asked me: “Dad, why is it so loud tonight?” He used to hear the bombing further away, which was quieter. He doesn’t know that they are targeting houses closer to us tonight.

It is the crying of children in the neighborhood with each bombing which hurts us the most. It is unbelievable, and this is the first night we have heard this screaming and crying. Everyone is exhausted.

I couldn’t help but go downstairs, and was surprised to see almost all my neighbours gathered in the main road by their houses.

“It is safer out here. At least we will not be buried under a demolished house," said one of my neighbours.

Another bombing happened when I was in the street, and people raised their hands together simultaneously and looked at the sky seeking the help of God, and it looked like they all agreed to do this at the same time.

The air strikes kept coming, one after another, with people looking to the sky seeking the help of God. Children continued to scream and cry with every bombing, and I continued to recall the words of my youngest son: “Dad, why is it so loud tonight?"

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