The Bombs that Blast Gaza: A View from the Ground

November 15, 2012 Gaza.

As I begin to write this piece my com­puter falls from my hands to the floor as a bomb drops meters from the Abousalama family home in Saftawi neigh­bor­hood, Gaza, Palestine. I have grown ac­custom to the loud blast of bombs being dropped around two kilo­meters from our family home this past night, as Israel launches its at­tack on Gaza. But as these new at­tacks reach our back­yards mere meters away the fear caused by the deaf­ening sound of the F-​16 bomb grows. It grows in­side my body — in­side my every nerve; in­side my stomach; my bladder; my back; my head and my soul. We run to the yard to see what has happened; there is smoke in the air and the smell is po­tent. I look up and see the neigh­bor­hood apart­ments filled with chil­dren peering through their bal­cony rail­ings at the site of the most re­cent bomb dropped.

These chil­dren are too ha­bitu­ated to the sounds of F-​16s and drop­ping bombs. If the Gazan child is older than four years old then this is the second war they will wit­ness in the span of their young life; and en­shallah they will all sur­vive this most re­cent wave of attacks.

This most re­cent es­cal­a­tion in vi­ol­ence began yes­terday af­ter­noon. We were en­joying a mo­ment of nor­malcy in Gaza as a team from Nordic con­su­lates in Jerusalem ar­ranged the screening of sev­eral Swedish and Norwegian films. The first of these films was in­ter­rupted with the news that Israel had just as­sas­sin­ated Ahmed Jabari (leader of the al-​Qassam Brigades) by blowing up his car and killing him and his se­curity guard in­stantly. The scene of his mangled blown car covers the news re­ports that evening. So the nor­malcy of a Gazan af­ter­noon is in­ter­rupted by a dif­ferent nor­malcy; that of war. The young Gaza bodies know the routine; it is time to head home to be with their fam­ilies. Their smiles don’t fade; their jokes don’t sub­side; their en­ergy re­mains — it is simply time to head home.

The home is meant to pro­tect us. But the in­dis­crim­inate fall of the Israeli bomb is to be feared from any loc­a­tion. The ag­gressive result of the Israeli ob­ses­sion with war and de­struc­tion is to be feared deep within one’s heart and mind. The for­bidden peace at Israel’s hand is to be missed by us all who suffer under Israel’s war mon­gering tac­tics. Yesterday morning a cease­fire was reached between Israel and Palestinian res­ist­ance frac­tions. Yesterday af­ter­noon Israel as­sas­sin­ated Hamas’s top mil­itary leader. Prior to this at­tack Hamas was not re­spons­ible for the rockets being launched into Israel. Hamas was trying to broker a deal in order to pre­vent an es­cal­a­tion in vi­ol­ence. Such a deal was reached and such a deal was broken by Israel mere hours later. Israel achieved its goal, as it al­ways does. It got to go to war on Gaza.

A war on Gaza is com­plete with all of Israel’s latest tech­no­lo­gical killing in­ven­tions. “The drone” flies high in the sky, filling the airy space with a con­stant deep buzzing, which does not sub­side the en­tire night. His buddy, “the F-​16” flies lower down making a most ter­ri­fying roaring sound which tears out the heart and car­ries it down the lane, and which is al­ways fol­lowed by the sound of a bomb blasting. “The Bomb”, which crashes down, breaks the sky, rattles the win­dows, moves the chairs, pierces the ear, stops the heart and causes a deep feeling of sorrow and pro­found fear. The bomb that we know is al­ways fol­lowed by death.

Eleven Palestinians have been killed since yes­terday evening, in­cluding a preg­nant woman, a four month old baby and an el­even month old baby. Over a hun­dred bodies have been in­jured and rushed to hos­pital. I don’t know how many lives have been lost today. All I know is that the bombs con­tinue to drop down on Gaza and Israel con­tinues to jus­tify its at­tacks as self-​defence. Gaza is a land under oc­cu­pa­tion and its people have been res­isting this brutal siege on their lives for over sixty years. The homemade rocket launched into Israeli ter­ritory is a form of legal res­ist­ance by a people under oc­cu­pa­tion. Their rockets, which are made from shit and sugar at­tempt to reach Israeli ter­ritory and some make it and some cause in­jury and death. Gaza is sur­rounded by hov­ering planes, en­croaching war­ships, ap­proaching tanks all su­per­vised by the drone. This is not a con­flict; rather it is the rou­tin­ized ter­ror­iz­a­tion of ci­vil­ians who con­tinue to sup­port the res­ist­ance any way they can. And as I wit­ness the mother of the house­hold made em­bar­rassed by her tears or the father’s face light up as we re­turn safely home I know that these are Palestinian lives who have suffered too much and have wit­nessed too much war. And here it goes again.

Catherine Charrett, cur­rently in Gaza, is a PhD can­didate at Aberystwyth University (UK).  Twitter: @CataWinnie

  2 comments for “The Bombs that Blast Gaza: A View from the Ground

  1. Helene Albrecht
    15 November 2012 at 6:26 pm

    Just vis­ited a talk on the ‘Art of Dialogue’ of the East-​West Dialogue, Shafik Gabr found­a­tion http://​east​west​dia​logue​.org/ though there was genuine en­deavour to ap­proach the con­flict through the me­dium of art the true back­ground was com­pletely left out, namely that the con­flict has a very spe­cific shpae since we are all after natrual re­sources of these re­gions. There is also ig­nor­ance of the deep psy­cho­lo­gical traces armed con­flicts leave for all par­ti­cipants and that this needs more or less thera­peutic meas­ures in order to combat de­term­in­istic pat­terns. therapy has ap­par­ently reached neither side and I see the only solu­tion in a world wide arm trade and arm use em­bargo straight away.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *