The three A.M sonic bomb was the worst of them all, as my memory vividly recollects. With the daily four to six sonic bomb rate, we scheduled the timing of those bombs as we do today in the electricity outages program. I’d just delivered my babies that summer of 2005 when the new means of collective horror was enforced over the sky of Gaza. It was heartbreaking that the most atrocious and destructive methods always came and continue to fall from above; from the same place on other parts of the world which people enjoy the serenity of the spectacular display of moon and stars. So the midnight horror began with one sonic bomb which rocked the house and hearts of people underneath the darkness. In a blink of an eye, everything shook and was either blasted and shattered, or if it was a human being heart was ripped out of the its place and returned in a split of a second. But the three A.M was the nastiest of them all; especially for the newborn babies who spent their full nights wide awake and only started to dose just a while before dawn. I couldn’t stand idly so I tried with my limited supplies and primitive methods to develop ways to protect my babies from the blasts. The best method I could improvise was the cotton ball stuffing method to alleviate the penetration of the bombing into their ears.
At many times, I felt Allah’s Mercy protecting and surrounding us when the babies slept through some of those evil sonic bombs. I wondered how the person flying above lavished in taking pleasure in spreading the thundering blasts over all the people of Gaza alike. But with the daily recurrence of those bombs, the people of Gaza eventually attuned ourselves to those bombs and grew more fierce announcing that they have become immune and shall no longer be intimidated.
That phase of intensive blasting is behind us now, but has of course been replaced with even more devastating methods of collective punishment; the last of which was the Israeli Offensive over Gaza Strip. Dark nights engulfed by bombing and shelling from all directions. Lying in bed shivering underneath a load of blankets, I tried to visualize, as the massive nonstop of bombing persisted, the bloody battlefield all over Gaza, especially in bordering areas and neighborhoods. The radio was on the headboard over my head during the nights as news aired over the local radio stations. It was amazing how they survived and managed to remain put to keep us updated throughout the whole breadth of actions. One night a radio station aired that two women near Almaqusi buildings in Naser Street were out calling for help as one of them needed to get to the hospital to deliver a baby. Then the next piece aired: a woman trying to reach hospital to deliver her baby is killed. My mind tried to visualize such images which took place in seconds. One second the woman is there, the next one she’s gone. That’s how fast murders took place during those eighteen bloody days in Gaza.
The aftermath of the war was no less painful than the war itself as rescue workers discovered decayed corpses underneath the annihilated neighborhoods and stories began to surface on how one survivor witnessed the perishing of his family members along with other dark tales of untold cold-blooded murders so reminiscent of Sabra and Shatilla (Sept. 1982). In defiance, and from under the rubble, and blood scented atmosphere, the Palestinian people chose to come out stronger than before. Life had to go one despite the devastation and ruins, despite the heartbreaking and soul crushing pains. People buried their loved ones, recited a solemn prayer over their graves and went back to restart their lives. Fathers carried their dead child or children in their arms, kissed them dearly and bid them farewell underneath the earth. The Abu Aisha family lost three daughters and Balusha lost five in one midnight strike. A bereaved mother could only weep silently, but if she could bury her head in her husband’s shoulder for relief she was lucky for others grieved their children and husbands. The pain was unfathomable, but we grew with each day that passed. My people were never accustomed to losing control or giving up. A new generation of fierce and obstinate youngsters was born and every one was ready to rebuild their lives. Students portrayed unmatched resilience with their determination to proceed with their studies after losing their homes. I guess beyond every calamity lies a blessing although one may not realize that when the catastrophe befalls. So I was lucky to have been a student at that time and made every possible attempt to succeed with my solid faith in Allah, my passion to learn and challenge the tough circumstances. Post- war rumors about the fear of another invasion spread like venom which we tried to shun and replace with positive thought. This one tiny dot on the map called Gaza was cast by the whole world, but we had Allah on our side. My university received its share of shelling, but we continued to attend classes as an obligation not an option.
I keep hearing that creativity best nurtures in an atmosphere of freedom, yet I think I’ve begun to question this opinion. My heart and soul tell me that darkest moments of plight have succeeded in bringing out the best in us. To be besieged, attacked and threatened in every aspect of your life has truly brought forth the most noble qualities of humanity in us and shall continue to inspire our enthusiasm and passion for living in justice and freedom.