A Gazan’s wishes for 2015

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My Facebook timeline is overcrowded with “Happy New Year” wishes.

I scroll down my Facebook news feed. I try not to catch a glimpse of the 2015 wishes of my friends abroad. However, my attempt to avoid reading their wishes fails!

It saddens me to see that other people’s wishes for the New Year are so different from what so many Palestinians would even consider possible. Why? Why can’t we dream of things other than having a year without another bloody war with Israel, having 24/7-electricity, and having the freedom to travel abroad? Why can’t Gazans just have a normal life? Why can’t we enjoy a festive beginning to the New Year as all other people around the world do? My heart aches, what I and other Gazans call wishes are what the rest of the world calls rights!

What Are My Big Wishes?

To receive my two language-learning maps

I know this may sound too humble a wish to all of you.

My friend, who lives in the USA, bought me two language-learning maps from Linguisticator: English and French. Being an English teacher, I so eagerly want to have Linguisticator’s English map in which professional linguists explained the entire language. I simply want to use up-to-date teaching techniques. I want to put the French map on the wall of my room so that I can quickly memorize the structures, the patterns, and the vocabulary of French. I want to tell my friends that I am so fortunate that I got those maps.

You might ask yourself why I cannot simply order them. Well, I did ask my friend to send them via an international mail service. Unfortunately, all the services told him they can ship them to any part of “Israel” but not to Gaza. They did not even know that Israel, in practical terms, is farther from Gaza than America is: many Gazans have been to USA but few have ever had a chance to cross the wall and visit Jerusalem.

Gaza! The largest open-air prison in the world. The fact when you are in a normal prison, you can send and receive stuff proves that the situation in Gaza is worse and more miserable than it is in prison for criminals.   Things continue to grow worse for us, especially after Sisi, the current president of Egypt, took over. To enter or leave Gaza is and will be an insurmountable challenge.  All I want are my language maps; where else in the world would getting such educational materials be impossible?

To have 24/7 electricity

Electricity, again! Every Palestinian wishes every year to have 24/7 electricity. Currently, Gaza power operates on a “6 hours on, 12 hours off” schedule. Only 6 hours of electricity a day! It is 3:46 AM right now and I should finish writing this piece before the clock strikes 7 AM for I won’t have electricity for the following 12 hours. Today’s share of electricity, for example, is from 1 AM to 7 AM—it’s the time in which “normal” people sleep. Power cuts twist my sleep time to reading or doing my assignments. Can’t I just sleep, not caring about when electricity will come on or go off?

I think these two wishes are enough for 2015. I will keep hoping I get my maps sometime soon. Knowing very well that electricity will never come all day long here, I won’t waste my hope for it.

Linguisticator French map
Linguisticator French map
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Dear Alaa I wish you a healthy and peaceful 2015 I hope you get your maps and a proper electricity supply. It defies belief that you are denied these most basic of life’s essential utilities; a proper postal service and uninterrupted electricity, something that we, free from oppression and occupation, take for granted Most of all I very much hope that the normal life that you crave, that you deserve, that you have been unjustly… Read more »

Thanks, Alaa Radwan, for another “poem” eloquently teaching us how you endure such cruelty. Yes, “where else in the world would getting such [language maps] be impossible?” And the fact that you’re driven to use the light from from 1 to 7 AM–when the night should let you sleep–took me back to your earlier wisdom: “I remember my psychology teacher at university told us that he feels weary when electricity has not been cut for… Read more »

We should never forget though the disconnect between apparent misery of people and the (conveniently) blamed “others” for it – while, in reality, it could be mainly the making of own failed leadership. This is particularly frustrating if the leadership that has gone astray has imposed itself on people – I don`t know for sure what is the situation in this regard in Gaza. Most likely it is a mixed story: they managed to brainwash… Read more »

ALaa, thank you for this post. I really do hope you get your language maps very soon!! I really appreciate this post cause it sheds a great light on the things we here in the West take for granted, such as a electricity on 24/7, the ability to get simple products delivered to our door and freedom of movement. Makes me so fucking angry. All this wonderful girl wants to do is learn, to further… Read more »

It’s hard to find words, even foul ones, for this detestable business. Think how steamed up we got over the Berlin Wall.