A new daybreak as I hold my pen now. So calm and peaceful are the early morning hours I wish they could extend a bit longer so my mind and body can absorb the pure invigorating morning breeze and my eyes can be tickled by the soft dew drops hanging from the leaves, and the sweet singing of birds who peck at my windows gently to boast that they’re always the early risers.
Glancing at the sky from my living room sofa takes me to faraway places. Places which actually exist yet have been concealed from the human eye until the time comes. The unseen world of spirits where martyrs are living in the eternal Paradise (Jannah) above make my mind ponder pensively.
Over four years back, I decided to enroll in a one year diploma at the Islamic University of Gaza. It had been nine years since I was student. I dearly missed hoarding stationery and attending classes. So I walked into the Continuing Education Center to sign up. The secretary was a young gentleman who assisted me throughout the registration process, his name was Sharaf. A month or so passed and I was actually sitting on my student chair learning again. Nine months passed and on Tuesday Dec. 25th, 2008 I was taking an exam “Legal Translation”. Sharaf was monitoring the exam. The test was quite challenging and I could feel my eyes almost popping from the heat I felt as every cell of my brain was laboring intensively. At one point, I was overcome with relief when I found the word “alimony” translated since it was very unlikely any student would have been able to guess its meaning. Some of the students started to make remarks and asked Sharaf questions just out of despair and to which he replied jokingly: “I think you’ll need a marriage official to answer that for you”.
Four days later, war was declared over Gaza with the unanticipated 60 air strikes throughout Gaza Strip. The Israeli warplanes devastated Gaza with blood, destruction and grief from above and on the ground. Twenty two days passed and it was time to restart our lives as an obligation to move on with our lives. So I called up the Center to enquire about the resumption of classes. I talked to an employee and asked if everyone was ok and his words seeped into my heart: “Sharaf has left us”. Twenty two days of grief and horror had had their toll on me physically and emotionally, and so hearing that piece of news quickly recalled those images of corpses piled over each other on the first air strike on the Police Academy in Gaza and I just pictured him there. He had indeed died during the first few strikes and just gone to a better place, an eternal one with no toil or pain. He was one among tens and hundreds who got killed by the Israeli war planes and later became a figure in the Gaza War death count, but he must have been special to those who loved him.
This guy’s death and many other people I came across made me reflect on something very special; which is how we meet people in our lives yet we don’t know how much time we will actually spend with them. It is always better to keep that in mind so we can treat people with great respect and love. So one day when we are gone, they will proudly say: She was a wonderful person who made a difference in my life or she always greeted us with a smile. This will also make us think twice before hurting or backbiting at someone, because if suddenly they’re gone, how can we ever forgive ourselves for the damage we inflicted on them.
As I finish off this post, I pray from my heart that Allah may give comfort and peace to the families of every martyr who fell on the holy soil of Palestine and elsewhere in the world.