The Unpredictable Life of Gaza
Life in Gaza is like a power switch, highly volatile going on and off. There is no telling when the atmosphere is calm, and when things might suddenly erupt. So the bottom line is that you can’t really plan ahead much. Sure life goes on and we have to keep moving, but as turbulent as life of human beings is, you can never know when the worst is heading your way. I was off today to attend a social gathering to congratulate a friend of mine on marriage and on my way, as I passed by the cemetery located inside Gaza city, suddenly the car seemed to merge into a crowd of mourners carrying the Shahid whom I got a full glimpse of for a few seconds there. My conscience started to beat heavily on how I was expected to behave now that I was very close to a person just killed taken to burial, and in a few moments I was expected to be cheerful and share my friend her happiness. Which shall overtake which?, I thought. If you ask me, it’s tough to have a smile on your face after you see death pass by. Thoughts poured into my mind: One day it’ll be me on that stretcher; he looks so peaceful in his eternal sleep, I wonder what has been revealed to him; if this is every human being’s end, then why do people act like they have been guaranteed to live eternally?
The question that lies is how do I overcome this feeling of instability and go on with life? Well, during those moments where Israeli war planes attack and you hear bombings over your head, all you can think of is who is it this time, and how long it will last. The days pass with radio and TV being turned on and off. Plans for any exotic outings are cancelled and you try to console yourself with any means of entertainment to relieve the stress. Prayer and reading books are the best means of relief I usually turn to, as well as talking over the phone to a family member who will assure me that everything will be fine inshallah.
The baffling fact you see in Gaza is that as planes suddenly bomb a target, it is natural, afterwards, to pass by a wedding celebration on your way and fully poised shoppers going about as if nothing had taken place. So the fact remains that the people of Gaza do indeed voluntarily make their choice to go about, whether normally or otherwise, with their lives because it the only wise decision for them to make. It may be an untrodden, lonely path, but they have taken to lighting candles and overcoming the hindrances along the path. It is like a heavy rainy day in Gaza when streets flood and you take the decision that the kids must go to school despite the downpour. (The closest simile I can make as a mother).