The dreams of the children of Gaza
Every Eid, we celebrate by buying new clothes, trying to find even the simplest shirt or shawl, something that makes us feel new, fresh, alive, and for about fifty shekels. That is all we can afford.
The end of Ramadan is the most special time of our year. Our families gather for the feast and everyone wants to make the children smile. It is their feast. Gifts are shared like families in the West celebrate Christmas.
But it is not happening this year. The end of Ramadan 2021 seems so different. It feels tainted, full of nightmares, with buried feelings and twisted dreams. But when we turn on the television, we realize that they are not dreams at all. They are what we are seeing with our own eyes. And asleep or awake, our reality starts to blur. You start asking yourself. Who am I? Where am I?
I wake up from my sleep to see terrifying images with my own eyes, and those images keep flashing back and forth in my mind. I lose all sense of time. I feel I am crawling back into the cave of fear that was my childhood, surviving three wars before this one. Sleep was our refuge. The good news about waking up was you realizing you were still alive. That is how I remember it.
But Wait! I forgot. The sound of the rocket blasting overheard brings it all back. Gazan children do not sleep. Normal children in the world sleep and dream of a better tomorrow. When they wake up, they wake to a day that is one day closer to what might come true. The Palestinian child sleeps and dreams about a painful and bitter reality, and what makes it worse is that they wake up to a new day that only repeats the fears of the night.
We do not see life as growing up. Rather, our lives are bound to some wheel of fate, that keeps twisting and repeating, bringing the same cycle of death and destruction returning to us like the seasons. With the sound of every bomb, the fear tells us, it is coming again. Coming to take those we love. Coming to take us. You may be next. Stay awake, so you can run, so you can scream, so you can at least die while you are awake.
How much more pain can we the children of Gaza take?
How much more can we lose of our innocence?
How much more can we live without feeling free?
How many more wars do we need to survive to grow up?
Enough. Enough. Enough.
When all we want is a life, how much more death must we endure?
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