What do you tell your daughter?
Another day, another massacre, more diplomatic deliberation, more silence, more complicity.
The invasion on Gaza has been mentally exhausting. I have tried my best to overcome this feeling of impotence by channeling the energy to action- though we may be powerless to change a government's heinous actions on our own, together our voices rise far above, farther than we can ever imagine.
Last night we capped of our night with the latest hour of coverage on Aljazeera English, which was reporting on how the UN had made shelters out of its schools for those internally displaced.
"I am getting a bad feeling about this- I wouldn't be surprised if this shelter was bombed" I told Yassine.
We woke up in the morning to the heart-rending news, as I rushed to make Noor's pediatrician appointment on time, my mind not quite here.
I then appeared on Canadian Broadcasting live with my father.
The anchor asked why my mom father was still in Gaza City. He replied it was his home, and no one would kick him out of it. I emphasized that even for those who did want to flee for safety, there was no where to flee to- the borders are hermetically sealed, the sea and sky under total blockade.
"Is there anything you'd like to tell your daughter?" the anchor concluded by asking.
"What do I tell her? I honestly don't know if I'll live from one hour to the next," my father replied. "She keeps asking me to describe the casualties for her that I'm seeing; but I can't. What should I tell her? That I've seen bodies with my own eyes reduced to nothing more than pieces of black flesh?"
My father went on to describe accounts of Palestinians being used as human shields-by the Israelis. The Israeli military has been forcing families out of their homes and making them scope out buildings and rooms for the army to enter and for their snipers to nest in. It is a practice they have used before-in Rafah, where i personally reported on it during Operation Rainbow in 2004, in Jenin, and in Nablus in 2007 (where a young girl and boy were abused) . Btselem has said that "Israeli soldiers routinely used Palestinian civilians as human shields by forcing them to carry out life-threatening military tasks", despite an Israeli High Court Order prohibiting the practice.
He went on to speak of the massacre at the UN school turned shelter, which had just occurred, reminding people that these same Palestinians in may cases by the Israeli army to leave their homes through robocalls and other forms of intimidation; then bombed in the only safe place they could find.
I asked if he had gone out at all- he said my mother has not left the house in days, but that they needed some tomatoes to cook supper with. "the stores are empty-there is very little on the shelves; and the Shanti bakery had something like 300 people waiting in line."
Surprisingly, he said people are trying to go on with their lives. It is the mundane and ordinary that often save your sanity, help you live through the terror. It is no small thing to endure: knowing that both in deliberateness and scope, it is an unprecedented modern-day assault against an occupied, stateless people-most of them refugees.
How many more massacres until the human consciousness awakens?