Tuesday, February 14, 2006

How might we live?

The shells are falling again.

Interspersed with the occasional sonic boom. It’s like a mix and match Monday special. The army once compared it to a "hat of tricks". Let's see what we pull out today. There's the sonic boom, which after a brief hiatus, is now making a terrorizing comeback. Then there's the aimless tank shelling into empty fields in eastern and northern Gaza, so strong it can be heard and felt kilometers away here in Gaza City.

And of course the ever popular kill-a-Palestinian-herding goats-or a child who got lost-by the border fence technique. That outta really stop the rockets from flying.

They try different combinations each day-25 tanks shells in a row; a gunship rocket attack; 5 more shells at eastern Gaza; drones whirring incessantly at varying speeds. 10 shells; 10 minutes of silence; sonic boom; 20 shells, with more firepower, in northern Gaza. 10 shells; one hour intermission; Shoot at someone near the fence. Stop to make sure there is no outcry and promise an investigation.

Then it continues.

Yousuf is at a very sensitive stage, where he doesn’t quite understand what’s going on-and looks to me for confirmation of whether or not he should be scared when the shelling starts. Following the advice of a friend, I continue to re-assure and distract him.

Today, I tried a new technique. Yousuf loves to sing and dance, so as the shelling started, we listened to some music my friend gave him as a gift- Suheil Khoury’s Bass Shwai, a children's CD from the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music (ESNCM), where four children, ages 9 to 11 sing songs composed by Khoury using lyrics written by various Palestinian poets and writers. Each song deals with a theme relating to children.

We listened to a song that imagines how the world might be like in different forms; a song I think can be read in many way. Needless to say, it was very therapeutic, perhaps more so for me than him. Sometimes, you need to take a step back and look through the eyes of children. Strange is what you make it I guess.

What if the world was made of wood
Birds of wood
Flowers of wood

What if the world was made of wood
Moons of wood
Stars of wood

How might it be, I wonder?
How strange…how strange
How would it be, I wonder?
How strange, how strange…
What if the world was made of paper
Doors of paper
Fences of paper

What if the world was made of paper
Walls of paper

How might it be, I wonder?
How strange, How Strange…
What if the world was made of gold
Fishes of gold
Sands of gold

What if the world was made of gold
Snows of gold

How might we live?
How might we live?


Anonymous Adam said...

And to think it would all stop within a day or two if Fatah and Hamas could bring themselves to cease firing at Israel. It's sad. As I presume you don't support this terrorism against Israel, I feel very sorry for you. Still, I suppose if you went out and told the terrorists to stop attacking Israel, they might just shoot you, so what can you do?
BTW you should change the title of your blog - you know the bit about being "under occupation" - seeing how Gaza hasn't been occupied in any meaningful sense for a few months now. Perhaps "a mother living in a war zone" would be more accurate.

10:40 PM  
Blogger Laila said...

Thanks for the suggestion Adam. Except Gaza is very much under occupation-both in the legal and practical sense. I don't see Israeli soldiers roaming GAza's streets, but I see their planes invading my air space, their tanks patrolling my borders and shooting at residents there, their troops closing those borders at will, and preventing me from travelling to the rest of my land. Israel itself hasn't even tried to claim it no longer occupied Gaza.

11:33 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

The "hat tricks" you described reminded me of my younger days (1970-71) spent on a warship, sailing up and down the coast of Viet Nam. Every night, our Captain would call general quarters (battle stations) and we'd fire shells at known enemy camps. Each time, the number of shells would differ and the time between firing would differ; 30 minutes once, 60 the next and then again in 15. The intent was not only to destroy them, but to make sure survivors couldn't predict the next barrage and not get any restful sleep. I guess military tactics haven't changed much. Neither has the toll of innocent people who die; nor has it stopped mothers from mourning their sons who do the fighting - be it for whatever cause one may suggest. Plato was right when he said "only the dead have seen the end of war". Will we ever learn?

12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“Salam Aleikum” - will someone please tell me what it means.

1:25 AM  
Anonymous global_activist said...

Salam Laila:

Know that you are not alone, we are with you and our lives are not the same and never can be again.

Give no care to the pro-apartheid knuckle-dragging zionists here. Their day will come.

If not ours, Yousuf's generation will live in a liberated Palestine.


7:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have come to the conclusion that this site is all about the bad guys - the Israelis - and the good guys - the Palestinians and the average person's looking Glass (in this case Gaza.) It is "my land" that they stole from me. They are evil and we are good and innocent. It is never that easy. There is no real exploration, just sides. I had thought I would learn some real insight. In both camps there is truth but perhaps not to those in them, there is just - them and us. Truth and Lies. Maybe I am expecting too much from a mother who is primarily writing about raising her son...yet you do have a political agenda and message which comes across in clear black and white. Donna

5:02 PM  
Anonymous caymannegra said...


You only need to look at the relative numbers of killed and injured - I can direct you to the UN site for figures if you're interested - to see who is doing most of the firing at whom and to see who is spreading most terror and devastation - not to mention outright theft of people's land and crops.

There have been ceasefires - maybe not complete but certainly substantial - but since the occupation began there has never been a month in which the number of settlements did not increase in the illegally occupied territories. Am I to assume that you oppose the illegal actions of your government?

5:21 PM  
Blogger Sigmund, Carl and Alfred said...

Any word about Hamas websites boats of 'We drink Jews' blood'

I didn't think so.

As one wise man said to the Palestinians, 'If you want a country, behave like it.'

As for memorials to child victims of the Intifadah, recall Shalhevet Pass.

I'm not a Jew or a practising Christian.

That alone is reason enough to understand that the deceit is wearing thin.

6:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you seen the movie Paradise Now? It's about suicide bombers, and was filmed in Nablus, at least until filming conditions got too dangerous. Is it available in Palestine? I thought the movie gave an interesting insight into life in a Palestinian city, and did a good job of discussing the conflict. But I also wondered how realistic it is, and reading this blog made me wonder how you felt about the film, and whether you think art like that can help.


7:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How might you live? Perhaps by stopping the rockets.

8:08 PM  
Blogger diana said...

Dear Laila,

As always a moving and powerful post. Keep speaking truth to power.


9:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Yeah! Bad Israelis! We are so innocent people,why do we have to suffer like that?
You want to be free,you say. You want to have your land back you say! Israel should open the borders you say!
But why just the Europe, shut the doors to your new Government?
Are they bad guys as well?
Sorry,but you are the whole time using your energy to blame.
You are like a blind in the desert.
Are they maybe a lot of crazy people which do not have anything better to do with their money,so they decided to play war!!!
Or maybe they do not like their children,so therefore they send them to army,just to disturb your dreams,and no to let you sleep at night.
Put your efforts to reconstruction,to not throw garbagge on your streets,to raise your children without violence,without spanking them in your schools,and not telling them that they should destroy the enemy to go to paradise.Have a clue what democracy means.
And maybe we can get better results.

11:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eyes wide shut is another way of putting it. Turn your focus away from bus bombs in Tel Aviv and the little girls killed there. Then follow up by wondering why Gaza isn't on the best terms with Israel. Don't mention the fools who dress their children up as suicide bombers. Don't mention putting toy machine guns in one hand of your children and the Koran in the other hand. Never mind Hamas has expressed a desire to wipe Israel off the map. The truth is that Israel is the military power in your region and if it wished, it could wipe GAZA and HAMAS both off the map, but doesn't. When all is said and done, there's more humanity among Jews than your own people. Have riots worldwide that result in death; all over cartoons. What, never seen Jesus mocked? Speak about racism? Look within your own peoples first.

12:15 AM  
Blogger Abu Shaar said...

How hard is it to grasp the rightness of one person, one vote?

2:11 AM  
Anonymous hamza said...

Bombs everywhere, what a shame,
Lives lost to a forgotten pain,
On the distant shore you see hope,
Watching you back and waiting,

You seek relief from daily pain,
Often wondering of the end,
Ushering in a new dawn,
Rising to the heavens,
Seeing angels,
Everlasting joy,
Long live the struggle,
Forget - never,

Up into the sky
Pieces of you fly.

5:03 AM  
Blogger solitarioh2005 said...

The death of another palestinian near the Gaza Fence made me thought about the problem. The main problem is that palestinians and Israelis do not work togheter. I am sure if there were good will from Israel and the Militant groups..,a solution would be found in order to prevent people from aproaching the fence.
(Why not another smaller fence that would prevent people from aproaching the Gaza wall ? ).

The problem is that there no good will.
If people were really interested in stopping the death of inocent civilians near the fence they would find a way.

5:43 AM  
Anonymous johnie said...

dear solitarioh2005

with respect the main problem is there is no justice. of the 1800 odd palestinian civilians who have died since 2000 only 5% of these have ever had any form of criminal investigation. The standard of these investigations is extremely poor and to my knowledge there have been no more than 5 convitions in the last 5 years. the longest ever prison term given to an IDF soilder for “severe intentional harm” or murder to give it a more acurate description, was 20 months. I'm not saying that all of the IDF are intent on killing civilians, but if you enter the IDF and decide that that is what you want to do then you can be pretty certian that you WILL get away with it.


12:19 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I find it interesting that all Laila does on this blog is write about her daily lived experiences, and yet some people claim it's political propaganda. I guess to some people, any fact that contradicts their preconcieved views of the world must actually be propaganda instead of a new piece of information they might want to consider.

1:20 AM  
Anonymous Z said...

Her editorializing of the situation is political propaganda. Look at her posts and you’ll see a pattern of blaming Israel for every conceivable problem in her daily life.

4:39 AM  
Blogger solitarioh2005 said...

" with respect the main problem is there is no justice".
Here we go again , lol.
This kind of reasoning is what I call the blame game.
The palestinian say the bad guys are the Israelis. And Israelis will say that militants try to enter israel..,and therefore this is the main cause of this deaths.

This kind of mindset does not bring people anywhere.
The only way forward would be both sides colaborate, work togheter and not engage in the Blame game that leads nowhere.

The palestinian police should help israel and prevent people from aproaching the wall.

Israel on the other hand should show respect for human and use non lethal methods to stop any infiltrators.

Both sides should do their utmost to prevent loss of live.

The blame game leads nowhere

12:13 PM  
Blogger solitarioh2005 said...

I do agree that lack of accountability does lead to the killing of many innocent people.

1:06 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

"Z," could that be because...Israel is the cause of most of the problems of daily life in that area?

That's what it looked like to me when I visited the area.

I'm wondering what impressions you gathered on your trips to the West Bank and Gaza?

4:11 PM  
Blogger Amelopsis said...

Laila, perhaps making a more prominent statement regarding your seperate political blogging more prominent in the header, there would be fewer condescending zionist supporters and historically inept rationales displayed here to distract from a better understanding of your personal blog here.

I very much appreciate you sharing your stories of daily experiences. You speak your experience in a direct narrative that is appreciably editorial for that reason.

I also enjoy reading your articles and would appreciate if you linked to them in context more often, but I do find and read them when I can.

I'm sorry you must raise your young son while distracting him from daily assaults under occupation for the purposes of collective punishment.

Peace, and may you sleep soundly tonight.

2:13 AM  
Blogger Keir said...

"[W]ars, especially in our time, are always wars against children, indeed our children." ---Howard Zinn

Laila, superb work. Your perspective is needed, and perhaps the most crucial in any discussion of diplomacy; to raise a child is to cultivate the future and I can't imagine what would be more important to the mother of a young child than a quick end to the use of instruments of war and destruction.

6:07 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

No response from Z! Could it be that...s/he has actually never visited the OPTs?

8:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...



9:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laila's influence on her son will lead him to hate Israelis. In that respect, I wonder if he'll reach the age of his mother.

10:08 PM  
Blogger Janice said...

Anon 10.08
If Yousuf hates Israelis when he is older this will be because of the way he is treated by the Israelis.No other reason.

Palestinian children have their homes destroyed,their parents arrested for no reason, are harrassed at checkpoints and are shot.
And Israelis wonder why they grow up to hate them.

7:54 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Thank God those Israelis supply you with electricity so you can use internet. Small wonder.
As I understand your freedom fighters shoot missiles at town in Israel called Sderot at civilians. As a matter of fact palestinians shot about 3000 rockets at israeli civilians with letal results including children death. I wonder is this condition is related. BTW did Israel made all those shelling when palestinians dodn't shoot Kassam rockets on israeli civilians?
I wonder what americans would do if mexicans shell San Diego with 3000 missiles...
Looks like israel is pretty humane,
otherwise they would do what Russians or americans do in Iraq..

5:49 AM  

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