The buildings are rocking. Debris and dust rise everywhere like a fog; airstrikes are rattling all of us; cracking sounds of flames are terrifying us; cries of women, men and children are shaking our hearts completely. All of my family members, except one, are watching the faces of each other and wondering who will be the next one to be killed or injured. My younger sister is playing with her doll and scolding her to not to make a noise, even though she knows that dolls don’t speak.
Yesterday, my father attended five funerals of our neighbours killed by unknown people for unknown reasons. We are forbidden to go out of our home so I don’t know what is happening outside. But, my friend told me about some people who I don’t know who were killed. Two of them were brothers they were taking their truck of tomatoes to their vegetable shop. I think that army is targeting people who leave their homes. So, it could be the reason for killing them. But, strangely the other three were inside their home for last three days. Why were they killed?
Yesterday was a very terrible day for all of us. Children and women were crying and the shrieks of those poor people still make my heart shudder. It felt like my heart was pounding in my mouth. My father is a very brave man but, that day, he, too, was afraid. My mother never cooked that day and we never asked for any food. My youngest brother, who is just 10 year old is fond of eating food and fruit all day, he never asked for even a single glass of water. It was like we were dead but alive. We were stunned, surprised to be alive still. We prayed and recited kalima over and over again.
Two of those who had been killed were Ahsan and Ahmad, two brothers. They were married and had children between the ages of 4 and 13. What will these children do without their fathers? I know my father; He works very hard to make money for us; He provide us with clothes, sends us to school, takes us for outings, buys us toys, cares about us, loves us, even more when our mother scolds us for our mischiefs. Life without father — i—i— i can’t think of it.
The names of other three were Kashif, Khalid and Mohsin. Kashif was 25 years old, a medical graduate student. A few days back he secured a good position in “Annual Medical Research”. He had come up with a stunning theory in neurology. He said that he will take his research project to PHD level and breakthrough in the world of medical sciences. Alas! Now world will never be able to see that stunning theory, or it may never see it happen again. My teacher told me that before the approval of any theory a scientist is a common person. No one is born to be a scientist, he sees the challenges like all of us and shines one day through his hard work and improves the world forever. But after that incident, Kashif will never ever shine and world will never be improved because of his findings.
Khalid was a student in 8th grade. He was very energetic, intelligent and strong. He was an average student in class but a very good football player. I knew him personally because he was studding in my school, but he would never be again. He used to make lame excuses for never doing his homework but everyone knew that he played football in our play ground with other boys all day long. He really was a very good player. He sometimes reckoned that he would build a strong football team for Palestine and work hard to win the World Cup. But, I think Palestine will never be able to get that football team. Many famous players started playing games in the streets. So, he could have been a shining player of this world.
Now comes the third but he will not be the last one as I don’t know how prolonged this war will be. Mohsin, a 6 year old child, was the one and only brother of 4 sisters. He was playing with bricks and pebbles at the roof of his home when he was shot by aircraft gunfire. His home is two houses to the left of mine. He was a very cute boy I knew him personally. He loved all of us and we called him pinkie boy because of his reddish cheeks. His eyes were light green making him even more cute and lovely. He was the apple of his parents and sisters eyes. He was the youngest of all. He liked biscuits very much and sometimes we would bribe him to get him to mimic his school teacher. He had nothing to do with this war, he never hurt anyone. In fact, he had yet to start his life. He had yet to see the world with his light-green eyes. I saw him at the time of his death. I saw – what it was- very terrible. His body was covered with a black blanket. His pink cheeks were messed with dust and blood. I’ve never ever seen his face as dirty as that. I also saw two lines in his face coming down from his eyes to his lips. I am sure that those lines were his tears which were dried out. He might have felt a terrible pain before his death. He must have gone through agony and cried a lot. His mother was in shock and sitting senseless. I had not seen a single drop of a tear on her face. Women around her were crying and telling her to cry too. “Don’t keep the pain in you, start crying. He is dead now start crying,” women were saying to her. She didn’t utter a single word in return. On the other side, his father was lying on the ground and tapping his hands and crying for help. His sisters full of tears were blaming themselves of all of this happening. They said, “We should never have let him go out to the roof to play.”
I couldn’t spend more than 40 minutes in that home. Those cries are still inside in my head and those faces come to mind frequently.
Is this our land or is someone else invading us? What have we done to those forces out there that are killing us? Many Israelis come into our market. We see them, they are very affluent, rich and healthy. Why would they be afraid of us? Why do they fight with us? Where are the human rights organizations? Why is the world speechless? We are in the 21st century but the world still acts as if we are living in the Stone Age. Is there no one who would stop them? The world cares for those who have proved themselves to be special. Many genius people live here in Palestine and this world is watching us being killed brutally, while they sit in their homes sipping a cup of coffee. Are not we humans? Can’t we become the scientists of tomorrow? All these questions never let me sleep. We live in pain and deprivation while the world is silent as though nothing is happening. We are demoralized and despondent people of the world and we should not be blamed for this. No one out there can ever feel the pain we are going through.
Aah! I hear crying in the backyard of my home. Ooo! It is my mother. My brother was outdoors. I hope he will be safe and stay alive. I think I have to stop writing here. If I remain alive, I will write the second part as my story doesn’t end here….
Pray for us that we will leave behind these gruesome days forever