One night, I make all three sleep in the same bedroom with us, hoping to increase the odds they’ll survive if a shell hits one of the empty rooms in our house. But then the next night, I’ll separate them, thinking that if I divide my children they won’t all die in an attack. (Unless we’re hit by a half-ton bomb, rather than artillery shell, in which case we’ll all be killed, anyway.)
-Wejdan Abu Shammala (Article)
Imagine yourself 10 years from now, imagine your home. How cozy it’ll be, how beautiful it will be, decorated with flowers, blankets in the living room, the smell of fresh brewed coffee in the morning; and it’ll taste sweeter because it’s finally your home. Imagine yourself walking into the front porch, to sit down, and take in that relaxing morning breeze, the neighboring children already playing outside. Just peace, and happiness…in your home. After a couple of hours, you realize your love ones are still asleep, and you’ve woken up a bit early, so you decide to make breakfast, so your little ones and your beloved can wake up to the wonderful smell of pancakes and over easy eggs. Life is wonderful you say to yourself, you have your home, your children, your wonderful partner, in a beautiful place. Great.
As you’re sharing a wonderful morning with your family, you hear a knock on the door. Who could it be? Maybe the neighbors again, to bring your family freshly baked bread again. You open the door, and you see someone unrecognizable. But before you can even say hello, in front of you is a gun, pointed right in between your eyes. You stay quiet, confused, without words, you raise your hands up, to show that you mean no harm to this stranger, at the door to your home.
The stranger walks in, bringing more of his kind, and tells you and your family, that this home now belongs to them, and you are all required to live in the basement, you’re not allowed to come back up, without permission, you cannot eat, or drink when you want to, it’ll be on their terms and you will have electricity for maybe 4 hours a day or less. You have become prisoners in your own home, to strangers. You ask why? Why your home? They respond, that they have rights to your home, for it belonged to their ancestors before you moved in. But that’s crazy isn’t it? You bought this home, it’s yours now, regardless of who lived here before, that’s just crazy talk. You demand that they leave your home, but you’ve gone too far now…you can’t make demands like these anymore, and don’t get violent, they have the weapons, you have your kitchen knife.
You have no choice but to listen to their requests, for the sake of keeping your children safe. From that day forward you live a life of torture and fear, you don’t know when they will decide to kill all of you, it’s been a month, and your beloved is still not back from the time they took her/him, now it’s just you and your kids…Your children ask you why this has happened, why are they tortured, don’t the strangers have children themselves? Why can they show no mercy.
You’ve grown angry, and you’ve began to teach your children how to hate, you’ve began to think of ways to defend yourself, and your home. Another month passes by, and you feel you’re ready, you’ve planned this, and you think you can defeat them, take your home back, save your beloved, protect your children….you wait for the right time.
And one of your children has been taken, and killed, because you failed. They tell you, you cannot be violent towards them, they have taken what is rightfully theirs, and any attacks against them will be answered with a worse attack, you are an enemy to them now. You’re a thief, how dare you try to obliterate them? You’ve scared some of the other inhabitants in the house, and now they demand that you face punishment.
You cannot terrorize those living at their “own” home…. But you’re angry and desperate and at this rate you will try to do anything to protect your one and only last child, you will do anything to save your beloved. So you plan again. And you attack again. You failed once more, but this time you managed to take one of the inhabitants down to the basement. You have a knife, remember the kitchen knife? And you threaten to kill the inhabitant if they do not release your beloved.
They agree on an exchange. Your beloved is safe now, she’s/he is back in your arms, but don’t think that that little attack of yours will go unnoticed, your second and last child has been killed. They warned you on the consequences.
How could this happen, how can they kill your children? “Kill me instead!” You yell “Kill me instead!! What did they do!!”
How do you get out of this situation, how can you imagine yourself living in this situation, a life in prison, a life as a hostage, from one minute to another.
Little by little the strangers decide to take away part of the basement, for new inhabitants, so now they’re making your livable space even smaller.
“Survive, survive, survive” you say to your beloved “we need to continue to fight” but your beloved is tired, “they’re too strong” he tells you, “let’s just ask for more food, and maybe some fresh air, but we cannot anymore, we have lost too much.”
Imagine yourself in this terrifying situation, with no way out. You’re practically a living dead person, no future ahead for you, you only breath now…as a prisoner in your own home with not even access to water whenever you need it, or electricity,there isn’t much of a reason to live. But you continue to believe there is, and the reason is to take back your home, and fight against a group of people ten times stronger than you.
Who’ve might of even convinced neighbors that they are right, and you shouldn’t be helped.
You know there’s a word used to describe this type of living situation.
It’s called Gaza.
Death toll has reached 1300 civilians, mostly children. You don’t have to be an Arab, you don’t have to be a Palestinian, an American, or be a Muslim, you don’t need anything but have common sense, to realize that this has gone too far, and that Israel has the blood of thousands of Palestinian children since 1948 in its hands. If you couldn’t ever even fathom living in the conditions that I described in the short story above, which are still not as bad, compared to what Gazans live through; what makes you think that 1.8 million people can in only a 3 mile stretch.