Top Prize Mondo Award Winner, Gaza Series: ‘From Beneath’

Israel/Palestine
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This morning we’re rolling out two more Mondo Awards for inspiring work published over the new year 2 months back. Today we feature two young writers from Gaza who wrote for our Gaza series, Gaza Two Years Later. Rawan Yaghi’s piece first ran on this site in early January. Rawan and Mohammed will each get a prize of a gift certificate for book purchases, when we can figure out how to get them into Gaza…We are proud to announce Rawan Yaghi earned the top score from our eminent judges, Susan Abulhawa, Omar Barghouti, Helena Cobban, Joseph Dana and Adam Horowitz, for this entry. Rawan Yaghi, along with Rebecca Vilkomerson for her nomination of Adalah-NY, won the exact top scores in our 2010 Mondo Awards.

From Beneath

I didn’t even know if my eyes were open.

After a big mess everything seemed so calm I could sense the dust covering my face, the only part I could feel. I could feel my breath hitting one of the bricks of my room’s floor. Air found its way through everything surrounding my body. Silence was all I could hear.

My arms trapped somewhere under the wooden edges of my bed, my toes, my legs, my hair, they all were jailed and penalized not to move. I was afraid. I waited and waited trying to recall all the joyful events in my life, as my mother once advised me to do so when I’m afraid, though they were few: My elder brother’s big wedding, my grandmother coming from Hajj and bringing me a doll singing, the last Eid when I got my biggest Edeyya ever, my mother bringing us home a new baby after me. I wonder if that was a happy event for me, but I could certainly see the joy my parents had looking at that little thing.

My breath firmly came back to my face touching it as to comfort me and tell me that everything will be ok. A minute later I started crying, though. And only then I realized that my eyes were closed, for I could feel my wet eyelashes. It did not matter; opening them and closing them were thoroughly the same. I cried so much that my tears mixed with the dust on my face felt like mud at the edges of my face. I must have been bleeding, since a killing pain started growing in my chest with the growing of my weeping. I tried to move in order to stop the pain. Only one muscle, I found out that something very sharp, extremely strong, calmly was standing through my skin. I stopped crying. I waited. I bled.

Rawan Yaghi, 17, is a secondary school student in Gaza. She blogs at I Am – as many before me were. Gaza Two Years Later is a series of posts by Gazan bloggers and writers reflecting on the two-year anniversary of the Israeli attack on Gaza in the winter of 2008/09. You can read the entire series here.

About Rawan Yaghi

Rawan Yaghi is a Palestinian woman from Gaza. She graduated from Jesus College- Oxford, where she studied Italian and Linguistics and at which she was awarded the first Junior Members' Scholarship, a student lead initiative to fund the studies of a student from a country in crisis. She is a Gaza-based writer. Fiction, journalism, and languages are among her interests.

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