Update from loved ones – what it’s like in Gaza right now

Update from loved ones – what it’s like in Gaza right now October 19, 2023

Alhamdulillah (thank God), after nine days of silence, prayer, and (not gonna lie) near despair, yesterday we heard from our family in Gaza. At last.

Horea wants me to share her words with anyone who will read them.

Will you take the time?

(lightly edited, and yes, yesterday was my birthday, and again, shoutout to Google Translate)

Hi, good evening.

How are you, Aunt Kathy? How is Uncle Ziyad?

I hope you are all well.

I love you with all my heart.

I was hoping to talk to your voice and picture [in a video call], to congratulate you on your birthday, I was going to bring a birthday cake and celebrate with you.

Happy birthday, and I pray to God for a long life for you and for God to bless your health and protect you from all evil.

I love you so much.


That was it. Then there was nothing – except for me, asking lots of questions. They weren’t getting through. I waited.

About forty-five minutes later, another ping.

Thank God, there is electricity [briefly, off and on] on almost the tenth day. It never comes.

We live in complete darkness, with increasing and continuous bombing.

We cannot sleep at night.

Sometimes I feel like I want to scream because of the extent of this injustice that Gaza is being subjected to.

They bombed the Baptist Hospital in Gaza without mercy.

Every minute we hear explosions.

With massacres committed against people, what is happening now is extremely terrible and disastrous.

Another half an hour went by – so slowly. Then:

We suffer from a lack of water and food, and there is no gas for cooking, and today they bombed the main bakery in our neighborhood, and the fire is still burning in the place.

That was the end.

I was elated to hear from Horea, to know that the family is alive. Alhamdulillah. But the situation is horrifying.

Horea’s grandmother lives with relatives a few blocks away. She is 96, and was a young woman in 1948, when all our family members were forced out of their village, and fled as refugees, never to return (500 other villages met the same fate at the hands of the new Israeli military). She went from wealthy to dirt poor in a minute, and lost multiple family members to Israeli airstrikes in an hour.

To this day, she lives in a refugee camp. What she must be going through now is unimaginable.

Just this morning, Horea returned – only for a moment:

We are living another Nakba [catastrophe], we are dying at every moment, how I wish the war would end. 

Israel threatens to cut off a large part of the Gaza Strip and annex it [as a part of Israel].

The situation is tragic in the healthcare sector. A large number of people who do dialysis and who need oxygen have died. A large number of them have died due to power outages.

Children are suffering from disturbances, involuntary urination, panic, and body tremors.

The situation is sad and disastrous.

If people do not die from the bombing, they will die from hunger and disease.

There is an accumulation of the bodies of the martyrs.

It is very likely that epidemics and diseases will spread, such as cholera.

There is an outbreak of smallpox in the Gaza Strip.

The situation is tragic and sorrowful.

And now, Horea has slipped away again.

What she and 2.2 million other Gazans are hoping for is American compassion. We can pressure our government to have a more compassionate foreign policy – one that values lives equally.

Last Friday, Israel told 1.1 million Gazans in the northern half of the Strip to flee south. Israel proceeded to bomb convoys of fleeing people – in one instance, seventy Gazans were killed. Israel has also continued bombing several cities in the south of Gaza – where people were told to go in order to be “safe.” What to do? Where to go?

Our loved ones live in the southern half of Gaza, which is extremely densely populated. We all wonder where Israel expected 1.1 million extra people to fit. This is called “population transfer,” by the way, and it is a crime against humanity, according to Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court; this may also be ethnic cleansing (ethnic cleansing is not new to Israel by any means).

The United States vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution on Wednesday that would have called for humanitarian pauses in the Israel-Hamas conflict to allow humanitarian aid access to the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, President Biden went to Israel to re-re-restate America’s unconditional support (for a crime against humanity); last Monday, he told the world, “I’m confident that Israel is going to act under the rules of war.” Since then, the bombing has continued nonstop, wiping out entire families, and no humanitarian aid has even started to move toward Gazans.

I don’t want to be melodramatic, but…this might not end well for America.

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