Here, in Gaza

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A Palestinian man carries a stuffed toy in a street littered with debris after an Israeli air raid on a nearby sporting centre in Gaza City, November 19, 2012.(Photo: Marco Longari/AFP)

In Gaza, I sit behind my screen, devastated. “I don’t want to report on twitter, anymore” I think to myself. Then I take my words back and try to keep myself busy with it.

For the last seven days, I’ve been following the news, translating them and posting them on twitter after they are “confirmed”. One martyr here, another there. A child here, a child there. A woman here and a woman there. One, two three injuries coming into Alshifa hospital. I’ve been eliminating my feelings for seven days. I’ve been watching my language, spelling, punctuation and feelings. Today, I broke down. For a moment, I didn’t care where the last explosion was. If what exploded has exploded, what is my tweet going to do about it, I thought again. My Mom said the name of the place being targeted in surprise. Why are you surprised, I thought again. They’ve been bombing children for the past seven days. Why on earth are you surprised they’re targeting a commercial building.

In Gaza, children, if their lives were spared, wait in hospitals, bandaged and scared, for their dead mothers to rush towards them. Others lie alone, along with their siblings, or beside their father, faces deeply cut, hearts still as rubble, their eyes sleepy as in the night before when they couldn’t sleep, some with twinkling eyes. Still, they breathe no more.

In Gaza, a mother runs to hospital praying and hoping that the unidentified torn child isn’t hers. She knows it’s him. He was playing football a second ago. His jacket is also torn there beside their house. She is definite. She only collapses when she is confronted with the fact.

In Gaza, a man, blouse drained in blood, cracks when a doctor tells him that his son is already dead. He doesn’t know in which corner he should hide his face. A wall interrupts his strides. And, he crumbles there.

A boy, in Gaza, hasn’t spoken to anyone since the news of his friend’s death. He walks in his friend’s funeral with endless looks inspecting the nothingness before him.

In Gaza, four generations live. The youngest is buried.

After seven days, all you can do is blink.

Here, we stand.

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Heartbreaking writing, Rawan. Thank you for this.