Thursday, May 24, 2007

And we sleep.

We go to sleep now waiting for the next round of Israeli attacks against "Hamas targets". That is what they are calling them now. Last night, I couldn't sleep again. The drones were waxing and waning in intensity overhead. And then of course the Apaches. And the explosions.

But this time, the "target" wasn't some distant building or family gathering hall in Shija3iya or Jabaliya, it was a money changer on my very street, Omar al-Mukhtar, in Gaza's Remal neighbourhood. And the supermarket next door.

After things calmed down, I dozed off, only to be shocked out of bed at around 3am by a thunderous explosion, another attack. It shook us from our insides. My mother became hysterical, flailing her arms and screaming uncontrablly. We hugged each other, I tried to calm her down. "Its ok, its nothing, maybe an F-16..its ok".

But it was not ok. This explosion was closer than ever before. At first we thought maybe the "target" was a store in our building. It turned out to be another money changer only a few shops down from our house, no more than 50 metres. The store was leveled.

And then there was nothign left to do but sleep. But there was a horrible, sinking feeling in my stomach, the result of panic and fear and ugly certainty of it all. It took a few hours for the knots in my stomach to slowly unwind and settle. I felt nauseous.

What exactly the Israeli army is "targeting" is a mystery. But of course the media machine spins it as "Hamas targets". This is how it read the next morning in Haaretz-including a note on how the attacks resulted in "no damage or casualities". I thought, maybe the author shoudl come to Gaza.

The popular thinking seems to hold that they have simply run out of "legitimate" targets-whatever the hell that is anyway (MPS? Homes?)-and so have now resorted to bombing things like moneychangers and supermarkets. This is according to an Israeli army general himself in the radio, who said his army really did not know what else to strike.

And there is nothing left to do but sleep.

34 Comments:

Anonymous Hanan Cohen said...

Here in Israel, when the rockets fall, they say in the news "no casualties" although people are afraid and can't sleep.

Yes, there is an imbalance in this comparison, but they should both stop this terrible non-war.

12:20 AM  
Blogger John Mullis said...

What can we say except that our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family in this confusing and scary time for you all: but ven this sounds hollow May God's bless and protect you all.

12:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

JUST WANTED TO SAY I AM PROUD OF YOU. MAY ALLAH SAVE YOU AND PEOPLE LIKE YOU FOR PALESTINE. ALTHOUGH I AM FAR AWAY FROM MIDDLEAST YET MY HEART AND MY PRAYER IS WITH YOU. BE BRAVE AS YOU ARE
ALLAH MASAHAL ALEYK

1:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just came across your blog and I'm so touched by your entries. I will pray that you and your family will remain safe.

3:34 AM  
Anonymous Maria T. said...

I hope you found a few hours of rest......

Frederico Garcia Lorca might have as well written this poem about Gaza


Gacela of the Dark Death

I want to sleep the sleep of the apples,
I want to get far away from the busyness of the cemeteries.
I want to sleep the sleep of that child
who longed to cut his heart open far out at sea.

I don't want them to tell me again how the corpse keeps all its blood,
how the decaying mouth goes on begging for water.
I'd rather not hear about the torture sessions the grass arranges for
nor about how the moon does all its work before dawn
with its snakelike nose.

I want to sleep for half a second,
a second, a minute, a century,
but I want everyone to know that I am still alive,
that I have a golden manger inside my lips,
that I am the little friend of the west wind,
that I am the elephantine shadow of my own tears.

When it's dawn just throw some sort of cloth over me
because I know dawn will toss fistfuls of ants at me,
and pour a little hard water over my shoes
so that the scorpion claws of the dawn will slip off.

Because I want to sleep the sleep of the apples,
and learn a mournful song that will clean all earth away from me,
because I want to live with that shadowy child
who longed to cut his heart open far out at sea.

7:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Al Jazeera: Thursday began with Israeli fighter jets hitting what the military said were money-changing offices and other businesses in Gaza channelling funds to Hamas. Three people were slightly wounded in one of the attacks, medical officials said, and four stores were damaged in another, Palestinian security officials said.... Nearly 130 rockets have hit Israel over the past 10 days, killing one woman, wounding 16 people, and sending hundreds fleeing the southern town of Sderot that has borne the brunt of the attacks.

I am sorry all of this is happening. I wish my sorrow could protect you but I know it can't.

Laila, I support Israel but I also recognize that you have your grievances. History has not been fair or kind to anyone. There is blame aplenty. Everyone can have their share. But Laila, the lunatics and fanatics who run the asylum called Gaza keep firing rockets indiscriminately! As one blogger commented, what should Israel send back in return. Fruit baskets?

The only hope I see in this is that you are willing to quote Haaretz while I am willing to likewise quote Al Jazeera.

So sleep, Laila. Sleep safe beside everyone you love. Sleep and dream, Laila. Dream of peace and pray that blind stupid hatred somehow is leached from the sands of Gaza.


Arnie in NYC

9:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is the Hamas target? All of Israel?

3:56 PM  
Anonymous Tima said...

I have just come across your blog, I think you are doing a great job. I would be very happy if we can communicate by email, I have something I would like to know if we could work on together. I am a film producer from Lebanon and unfortunately I cannot go myself to do it either in Gaza or the West bank.
My email is tima@fantascopeprod.com
Wishing you peace safety and calm and I hope that you will reply to this.
Salam

Tima

5:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laila,

Was just blog-surfing and stumbled across your blog! A classic reporter's diary! I never knew there was so much violence in the strip. Obvious coz i am no way near it. But this post completely shocked me with almost the same intensity of shock that you woke up with when the bomb blasted.

Bur i pray for you and your fellow country men from the bottom of my heart!! And Dont worry everything will return to normalcy, God will see to it!!

Warm regrds,

An anonymous fan and well wisher

5:23 PM  
Anonymous Evan said...

Do you expect no response from the continuing rain of rockets on Israel? Are you not bothered at all at their clear intent to kill civilians, including women and children? Do you accept no responsibility at all?

5:35 PM  
Blogger Jules said...

I just came across your blog and I've been spending a lot of time going through your archives.

You are such an amazing woman, and your writing is so gripping and eloquent. I'm looking forward to reading more!

6:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope that the Rockets will stop landing on Gaza, as well as Qasams stop landing in Shderot.

People on both sides just want to live peacefully.

I pray for the safety of you, your child and your family.

5:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The comment by the Israeli general that "his army really did not know what else to strike" reminded me of the U.S. military having to resort to bombing the rubble in Afghanistan over and over because there wasn't anything else left to bomb.

This bombing, of course, is simply thuggery and its purpose is to intimidate and terrorize: It's the school yard bully picking on the littlest kid because the little kid cannot fight back. A bully is not going to pick a fight with someone who can give him a bloody nose -- no, he beats the defenseless skinny kid. How that makes the bully feel big and tough is anyone's guess, but it is a common trait of bullies.

Bullies like to think of themselves as macho and they strut around like peacocks with their tails fanned out: In truth they really are nothing more than repugnant thugs.

7:04 PM  
Anonymous humanbeingsfirst said...

"The popular thinking seems to hold that they have simply run out of "legitimate" targets-whatever the hell that is anyway (MPS? Homes?)-and so have now resorted to bombing things like moneychangers and supermarkets. This is according to an Israeli army general himself in the radio, who said his army really did not know what else to strike"

To gain a perspective on current affairs - when it is happenning too close in time - it often helps to look at history.

Below is an old 2003 essay from Al-Ahram by Palestinian-American writer Muna Hamzeh, which may shed abundant light on Gaza genocide today!

Yes - the systematic annhilation of a people and a civilization on their own land, by any other name, is still G-E-N-O-C-I-D-E.


Torching the right of return
by Muna Hamzeh

In this last of a four-part series addressing the main points of the roadmap, Muna Hamzeh argues that Israel plans to ethnically cleanse Palestinian refugees from West Bank and Gaza camps


http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2003/646/re14.htm


The concluding paragraph in the above article presciently notes:

"No one can predict under what pretext Israel would carry out the transfer of the refugees. But whatever transfer plans Sharon might have in mind, the current regional climate indicates that the future of Palestinian refugees is going to be an ominous one. While Palestinian refugees insist that they will not flee their homes as they did in 1948, there are new regional conditions sweeping the area in the aftermath of the US-British invasion and occupation of Iraq that cannot be ignored. How would the refugees resist any transfer attempts when hostile conditions are being created all around them might be the biggest challenge they face since the Nakba of 1948."



Zahir
Project Humanbeingsfirst.org

10:36 PM  
Blogger John Mullis said...

It's nearly three days since your last post and I'm seriously worried. I keep going online every hour or so, wondering if there is some news of you all: of Yousef and your dear mother, so afraid by the turmoil of war. Last month Gaza was just another headline, one amongst many vying for my attention. Consumer driven news. Now it's immensely personal. I know people who are trying to live amid the terror of it all. And I worry as if it were my own family. At church this morning I prayed that God would keep you all safe, that he might spare you all, as He did for Isaac. Stay strong and know that there are many upholding you in prayer.

11:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You really have one of two choices.

One, declare that targeting civilians is wrong, and therefore Hamas rockets targeting civilians in Sderot is wrong. You must disavow Hamas terrorism against Israelis.

Or two, live (or die) with the consequences of your endorsement of the Hamas government of terrorism, which is targeting civilians in Sderot.

No one in Sderot believes you should be targeted in Gaza. But you have only said good things about the Hamas terrorists who believe innocent women and children should be targeted in Sderot. Given the choice between your death and that of an Israeli mother and child in Sderot, your death is the lesser evil.

Because only you have the choice to stop the madness. The Israelis will only fire when Kassams are raining on their own innocents.

Stop the madness, now. Or face the consequences.

6:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laila,
I hope you and your family are safe.
I deeply thank you, you are one honest voice of truth.
I was wondering if you can help putting a smile to my sponsered kid in SOS Rafah.
Please E-mail me at (htabbaa@yahoo.com)

FREE PALESTINE

6:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God Bless you

6:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ukti are you ok? very worried about you and yousuf

2:08 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

I am one of the many who have stumbled on your magnificint blogs. I feel like I know you. Ive laughed and cried with your blogs. I want to have you and your family over for dinner to watch Yousuf and my sons play together. I know that you are a world away. Please know that I keep you and your family in my prayers. I am worried about you and your family and I hope that you are able to come through this with out any casualties. (Other then the ones that will never show physical scars). If you are ever in Baltimore again....know that you have a friend here. You are a hero to women/mothers everywhere.

Heather

8:15 PM  
Anonymous Voodoo Idol said...

I pray for the Palestinians every day. Please know that there are people in the Western world who know the terror that Israel has been spreading for decades. I hope that one day you can find peace.

Much love.

9:48 PM  
Blogger iNFaMoUsJeSt said...

Probably one of your most powerful and truthful blogs... it almost reminds me of WWI shell shock.
Heather nailed it when she said you are a hero to women everywhere. So true. I am only 17 years old and before stumbling upon your blog I was your average-ego incentive-less teenager who omg was ever so worried about boy drama and such. I still am but not to the degree of obnoxiousness. There are worst things going on after all... but didn't know such was the case.

Let us just say your blog has lead me to be curious, to investigate. I have found much since I started reading it. I am still finding more every day about this country called Israel. Funny thing how once I would invoke the horrors of the holocaust and how Israel had all the Right in the world to be on palestinian land... all simply because "o well my father is a jew... anti-semitism is the same as anti-zionism, no? makes PERFECT sense"

I have a more powerful reason to pursue my study of the arabic language... not simply because it would look oh-so-good on my college application =)

I am seeing that a lot of people are leaving their email addresses. I will do the same: jchilin@gmail.com

Thank you again... =) and also, stay safe.

~Jess

3:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is shame of me that i live in peace here...I dedicate you my tears. May Allah be always with you. He sees everything, so the day will come...

9:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thinking hard of you all these days. We met briefly in Norway last winter at a friend's house, and you totally amazed me with your courage, wry humour and warmhearted way.

7:12 PM  
Anonymous lennybruce said...

My prayers are with you for your and everyone's safety in Gaza, WB and Israel. Although on a personal level I feel equally for all people's suffering there is no comparison between the current events or certainly the sum total of 40 yrs occupation. As a Jew, I often ask myself what I and my friends and family would be doing if we were subjected to what Gazans or WB residents have been subjected to for 40 yrs. Imagine, I say to myself, 40 yrs of the Warsaw ghetto.

I hope as always this madness will stop but I am not hopeful.

God bless.

10:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praying for you and your family. There are people that care.

6:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

disgusting. do you take any blame for whats going in gaza? I don't have the time or energy to debate you - as I just got back from sderot where your friends are sending missiles daily. I spent 6 hours comforting two young children whose parents are in the hospital due to scrapnel wounds from palestinian missiles.

So - before you blame others for violence and destruction, take a look at your own society.

And yes - a money exchanger that supports a terrorist government is a legitimate target. As for having 'no other targets left'.... um, please let me know the last palestinian minister who was targeted for death in the past few months? Trust me - we have tons of targets.

7:16 PM  
Blogger Norma Kassim said...

May Allah give u and your family strength..

12:26 PM  
Anonymous zita said...

quote: "disgusting. do you take any blame for whats going in gaza?"

who, laila should take blame? like the israelis are supposed to take blame for what their subsequent goverments have done and are doing to the Palestinians? a terrorist-like thinking some israelis (including their government) obviously subscribe to...

Only a hypocrite doesn't want to realize that if the Israelis deserve security so too do the Palestinians. the palestinians have the right to defend themselves too.

i am against any targeting of civilians. i'm just reacting here to these pompous and narcisisstic israelis who think they're better than anyone else and their life and security is more worth than all the rest's and therefore they have the right to do whatever they want with the palestinians.

10:07 AM  
Anonymous zita said...

no, money exchanger is not a legitimate target (no matter what bush or eliot abrams say). money exchanger is a civilian target and since targeting it has brought no military advantage to the israeli army (who was not fighting anyone at the moment, but cowardly dropping bombs from high up in the air, and was not endangered by the target) to target it was a war crime.

and my, is there a lot of terrorism going on against the israeli citizens these days...

btw - targeted assassinations of Palestinian leaders are war crimes too. you know, in a civilized world, we have trials for crimes a person should be accused of, we don't just shoot at them because we feel like it today.

the israeli government is a bigger terrorist than hamas.

10:16 AM  
Blogger David bernstein said...

if a money changing venue is aiding terror, it is a completly legitimate target

2:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to the person who compared Gaza to the Warsaw Ghetto--you have got to be kidding. If they were truly equal, there would be no Palestineans left in Gaza by now. They would have starved to death, fell prey to disease or been exterminated in death camps, oh, say 37 years ago or so.

Gila

7:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

zita,

Would you prefer that the Israelis come in and arrest the Hamas politicians who are encouraging terror?

The Israelis left Gaza. They said "take it, build it, thrive." Instead, the only things thriving in Gaza are terrorism and hate.

And you blame Israel.

8:20 PM  
Blogger The Heretical Jew said...

May allah give you and all in Gaza the strength to carry on and rise to be a great nation.

8:22 AM  

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