North Africa, West Asia

Memoir of a war survivor

A Palestinian tells of a life that is death before death in Gaza.

Sarah Algherbawi
2 August 2014

My name is Sarah, and I am a Palestinian citizen. I turned 23 on the nineteenth day of the third war against Gaza I’ve witnessed in the last five years of my life. And to make it clear – I’m not a terrorist!

I’m writing this piece after watching the Al-Jazeera documentary film Al-Fajer Massacre, describing one of the most savage massacres that took place in this war. I am heartbroken now for all that has happened to those innocent people, who lost everything: their beloveds, their memories, their homes...‘everything’ is the only word that can describe the size of their loss! Everybody cried while watching the film, my entire family did.

I live in the centre of Gaza, and until this moment, neither my family nor I have physically been affected by this brutal war. This is the twenty-first day of war, and it’s not much different from the last twenty days. The same things are taking place every single day. I wake up to follow up the latest news, the new updated number of martyrs and wounded, the new places being targeted by Israeli forces, whether everyone I know is still fine and alive.

Then we all keep waiting for what’s coming next. Where and who will be the next target? It might be me, or my whole family! Or we might be lucky to survive from the random missiles that target nothing but civilians! Nothing is certain, and all the possibilities are present. Yes, it’s that simple.

Watching others’ death, pain and loss is not far from death itself, on the contrary, many days passed and I die more than once a day, the size of pain that survivors suffer from is much larger than the pain you would feel in the final death. I imagine how would I feel if I lose those people I love, how my life would look like without them.

What if I die? How would my mother feel about that? How others can carry on in their lives without their families? I just can’t imagine and I’m pretty sure even those who have already lost their beloved ones don’t have any idea of how they would keep living without them and I bet that they all wish if they died with them.

Nothing is more difficult than death in this place but life. I think those who died “martyrs” are the luckiest! Lots of us are keep telling ourselves: unfortunately, we’re still alive.

Even in times of peace and ceasefire, life here is not rosy. Palestinians’ life in Gaza has always been tragic. We’ve been living under siege for more than seven years. The siege killed the dreams of thousands of people, the dream to study, to get medication, to see relatives, to see the other side of the world – if it is even right to consider Gaza as a part of this world – and much more than I even can count.

We were already dying before this war was launched, before any of the preceding wars took place. We are dying slowly; our crime is only being Palestinian citizens. We lack the simplest necessities of life: water, electricity, borders, and infrastructure…with endless consequences.

Even those Palestinians who are living outside Gaza and the West Bank, they’re dying every single day, more than once, because our land and homes were once stolen…but for sure it’s not forever! Peace and stability are the dream and obsession of every Palestinian, of every human being on this earth…not terrorists.

Peter Geoghegan: dark money and dirty politics

Democracy is in crisis and unaccountable flows of money are helping to destroy it. Peter Geoghegan’s new book, ‘Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics’, charts how secretive money, lobbying and data has warped our democracy.

How has dark money bought our politics? What can be done to change the system?

Join us for a journey through a shadowy world of dark money and disinformation stretching from Westminster to Washington, and far beyond.

Sign up to take part in a free live discussion on Thursday 13 August at 5pm UK time/6pm CET

In conversation:

Peter Geoghegan Dark Money Investigations editor at openDemocracy and the author of ‘Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics’.

Mary Fitzgerald Editor-in-chief, openDemocracy.

Had enough of ‘alternative facts’? openDemocracy is different Join the conversation: get our weekly email

Comments

We encourage anyone to comment, please consult the oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions.
Audio available Bookmark Check Language Close Comments Download Facebook Link Email Newsletter Newsletter Play Print Share Twitter Youtube Search Instagram WhatsApp yourData