The truth about Gaza: “I swear, we don’t mind death”

The truth about Gaza: “I swear, we don’t mind death” January 15, 2024

Musa sent me part of his diary that he started keeping when the war began. He gave me permission to share excerpts with you, in hopes that, if he doesn’t survive, he won’t be forgotten. He is grateful for your concern.

Musa thinks about his own demise, although he is only about 25. This in itself is a tragedy. Why should a healthy young man expect that any day might be his last?

This is Musa.
Musa says he has lost 10 kilos (over 20 lbs) since the war started.

All of the young men of Gaza have probably settled in their minds that they could die at any moment. Until that day comes, they will not ride in a hot-air balloon, or climb Mount Everest, or do any other standard bucket-list activity.

No, they will spend those days running, hiding, ducking, praying, holding their little sister’s hand and telling her, “don’t cry.”

They will weigh the risks of going out for firewood where he might be spotted and bombed, or staying home, under a concrete slab that could come down on his head. They will consider the risk of standing in line for bread when bakeries are routinely targeted, or staying home but being too hungry to sleep.

“Do I feel lucky today?” – “lucky” being defined simply as not being hit squarely by a bomb, a tank shell, or a slab of concrete.

That is a low bar.

Here are a few of Musa’s entries from October and early November. He stopped writing for a while after that.

I want to ask him what he thinks about his words now, two months later…but I can’t. Israeli bombing has cut communication in Gaza. We don’t know how soon we will hear from Musa or any other family members again. I pray that they are ok.

15th day, October 21 – i was thinking I’d write about the quietness in the area now. I was about to start writing, when I heard heavy bombardment in Nuseirat [the city], very first news said the Nuseirat center is completely gone. Now as I’m writing, it’s getting worse. Nuseirat will wake up nothing but sad, very sad…

An old man that just arrived from the north [an evacuee], said the death is everywhere. The Israelis who say there are safe places are lying. 

We were saved from death by the prayers of loved ones – or maybe our death was just delayed a little bit. Everywhere now, everybody feels that the life we had before, although minimal, was heaven. Because now we see hell.

Everybody is looking for smallest hope of ceasefire or even a few hours’ break. We are fighting a coward enemy.

16th day, October 22 – [After an overnight attack nearby] A lot of shrapnel was all over inside the house. It feels like the end is near. The attack was in the next block. In no time, all of us had put on proper clothes to [suitable for death – nobody wants to be found under the rubble in their pajamas].

It’s like death really wants us to be ready. Death comes without knocking. Is the hour now here to run away, or does this house still have some time to make some cookies and memories?

I wonder for the millionth time, are my friends still ok? Finally that nice guy, Hassan, found a place to take a shower. Today he bought soap and a scrubber. It’s like taking a shower is one of the seven wonders of the world. He was so happy. We’re happy with whatever we have.

19th day, October 25 – I am in shock and wonder, complete wonder. How have we lived though all these sad mornings? How did we receive all this sadness and horrible situations [bombings] all these nights?

This war is taking forever without any light at the end or any hope for tomorrow. People run out to the streets [to escape bombardment of buildings], then run back again with warnings. Leaflets are falling on us [instructing us to evacuate].

Nowhere is safe. The life is gone. Only the light of the moon is left, which visits us here and there, and all of a sudden lots of lights from the sky [missiles]. I wish it would just stay dark. 

The whole ceiling is falling on us. Gaza is not under bombardment, it’s under rubble.

the people of Gaza are trapped
the people of Gaza are trapped

24th day, October 30 – The outcome of what this cowardly army has done today, the list of their targets includes a mosque, a wedding hall, a well, and many innocent people. Before that, a church, a hospital, and a bakery. Let your mind imagine what is going on.

The end seems very near if things don’t change. They drop on us many flyers from the sky, warning us of death – and I swear that we don’t mind death. Living like this – we don’t want to have this life anymore, this insulting life.

27th day, November 2 – I just found out that tomorrow is Friday – the days somehow seem alike in a very strange way, but the pain keeps increasing, and the wounds bleed harder.

Nobody cares about the news anymore. What we receive is not much, always old. Nothing suits living, not even hope. It’s not worth keeping the hope alive. 

Everything is collapsing. Faces around me have started changing to unreal faces, covered with anxiety and loss. Women are still praying.

Are the nations’ legs getting tired from going out to march a few times for our cause? Whatever.

28th day, November 3 – The days are full of war, and chaos is starting to penetrate us. Today is Friday, a holy day, a day for prayer, for eating chicken [families gather on Fridays for a hearty meal].

“Friday” was felt around us. People started talking about the weather. Hmm, the rain has not started yet. Maybe the angels’ tears have dried up.

Talking is good to take you away from reality. Coffee with salt water is patience. The story that a girl reads gives some peace of mind.  Playing cards is now common between all people. “Hey, the fourth person is not here to start the game.”  “Oh, he was just killed near the hospital.”

We agree that hope is kind of a lie and a mirage.

To the last moment of this day, they attacked again peaceful people who were already injured, to give them a new injury or death.  

Evacuation orders received on my nephew's phone, on Christmas Day
Evacuation orders received on my nephew’s phone, on Christmas Day

Today is the 5,000th day of war. We have learned very well that everything has a value, and that money [if you have any] doesn’t bring you anything but what’s left of the dust on the store shelves. It does not bring life.

Ceasefire is human. Doesn’t anybody know in this world that there are people on the land that have names and lives and loved ones? 

Today I swear to God I don’t know what day it is. We’re really living in a disaster, living a lie from the Americans. We’re living in betrayal – huge, gigantic betrayal. 

We started as clay and we will go back to clay, and back to die in the land of Palestine. For the first time, I am wishing to see my fate come very quickly. I’m tired of waiting. I know the end of this body, this soul.

I don’t want to wait till tomorrow.

This coward world needs to understand that we have a total right to be a people and to live with the highest levels of dignity. What does talking bring us in a coward world, in a guilty Muslim world?

My dear, there is an end. Of course, there is nothing that doesn’t have an end. I know desperation has gotten into our heart, and I have the most. But this is from God. Our fate is from God.

My greetings to the reader, to my dear, to my loved ones, and to all.

Gaza has just passed the 100th day of its war (I prefer the word “genocide” – it’s not a war when one of the world’s most powerful armies drops one-ton bombs on a captive population). The tunnel is much longer than Musa expected back in October, and more brutal.

He and his family evacuated on Christmas Day, leaving their home and their belongings, heading toward the south. Last I heard from them, they were in Khan Younis, staying with relatives. There were something like forty people trying to stay alive in a small three-bedroom house with no electricity, and running water just one day a week.

Musa told me last week that they weren’t sure how much longer they could stay there, as Khan Younis is becoming dangerous – but they have no idea where they will go next.

I hope to have good news in my next post.

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FEATURED IMAGE: by Kolkatar Chobiwala via Unsplash

About Kathryn Shihadah
I was raised as a conservative Christian, and was perfectly content to stay that way – until the day my stable, predictable world was rocked. A curtain was pulled back on conservative Christianity, and instead of ignoring the ugliness I saw, I confronted it. I began to ask questions I never thought I’d ask, and found answers I’d never expected. Old things began to fall away, and – behold! – the new me has come. What a gift to be a new, still-evolving creation. I found out that it’s better to look at the world through Progressive Lenses, with Grace-Colored Glasses.  You can read more about the author here.

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