(The following is taken from my conversation with my friend Amaney, who is living in Western Gaza. These are her words, which I felt compelled to share with you. She is a woman, a mother, a friend, a wife, a sister, and a daughter. She represents the people of Gaza, and the spirit of humanity. Please don’t forget about her, the people of Gaza, and all of Palestine.)
I want to tell you what is going on. My only concern is that my family name not be given. We do not know what will happen to us. Also, my emotional state is very bad right now. I want the world to know what is happening, but I am having a hard time putting it into words. May God protect us all.
The situation now in Gaza is worse than ever before. Even worse than the weeks leading up to this day. There is no electricity day or night. We cannot sleep day or night.
Our children are in a very bad state emotionally and mentally as well. As soon as the night falls, the nightmares begin. At night, the kids tell me they see and hear rockets and bombs and tanks in their dreams.
When we sleep, we sleep close together. We sleep as a family on the floor. The children cling to us very close from fear. My two-year-old son holds on so tight to me, that it is as if he is back in my belly as a fetus. If we sleep, it is for a very short amount of time in the early hours of the morning.
None of us are eating from the stress, and lack of supplies. The kids are all losing weight. So am I.
The suffocation from being locked up in the house is slowly killing us as well. We cannot open the windows or stand out on the balcony. (There are phosphorous bombs that they are using. It is best not to be seen.) They might bomb at any time, at any place.
Because of our confinement, the children are fighting with each other over the most insignificant things. This is unlike them. They are nervous and caged. I try to distract them with activities but the noise outside is overwhelming.
I live close to the beach and hear the bombing from the sea.
They are dropping huge bombs that are leaving huge craters in the ground. Imagine your house being shook from an earthquake every single day. Many people are dying. Many children have died.
If you could see the rockets the Israelis are firing… it is out of the ordinary.
It is terrible here. Gaza is being devastated. We don’t know how to protect our children anymore.
My children tell me they love America and want to go back because there are no bombs there.
(Amaney and her family lived in the United States for two years while her husband earned his master’s degree. Her youngest child was born in the United States during that time.)
The kids beg, “Don’t buy us any toys here in Gaza, just take us back to America,” thinking they will help save money to allow us to go back to the states.
The kids tell us, “America loves us. They don’t kill us the way Israel is killing us.” This is what children who have no clue about what is going on say. All they want is to be as far away from the bombing as they can possibly be. They are too young to understand.
Since my youngest child was born in the United States, we were told that we may be able to escape this war. When the consulate called the house, and the children heard they were on the phone, they immediately ran to their room and started to pack their bags with tears in their eyes. They were excited to escape. They had no knowledge that what we were told was that only my youngest child born in America and myself were being given permission to leave. They had no idea that the rest of the family would have to stay in Gaza. I could not divide my family. We are one. How is one life more precious than the other? What is one to do? How do I leave my other children and husband? I stayed. My kids unpacked. It was very difficult.
I am sharing my story with you as one human to another, from a humanitarian point of view. I pray that you feel compassion for us. Please…Pray for us.