السبت، يناير 31، 2009
الخميس، يناير 29، 2009
الأحد، يناير 25، 2009
العرض الخاص للفيلم التسجيلي
(من دم ولحم)
إخراج عزة شعبان
غداً, الاثنين على مسرح روابط في تمام الساعة الثامنة مساء.
3 شارع حسين المعمار بجوار جاليري تاون هاوس
متفرع من شارع محمود بسيوني – ميدان طلعت حرب – وسط البلد
تأخذنا المخرجة في رحلة قصيرة ومكثفة إلى قطاع غزة وأهل غزة ، ونظرة على تعقيدات الحصار وعلاقة مصر به
الفيلم مدته 27 دقيقة ناطق باللغة العربية وعليه ترجمة باللغة الإنجليزية
للمزيد عن الفيلم :
السبت، يناير 24، 2009
و الشمس غنوة من الزنازن طالعة... و مصر غنوة مفرعة في الحلق
او و هم بيغنوا:
والصحرا أنت م اللاجئين والضحايا
والأرض حنت للفلاحين والسِقايا
والثورة غاية والنصر أول خطاكو
كنتوا هتلاقو رجليكو بتدبدب على الارض, صوتكو بيعلى, و ايديكو بتسقف بحماس و قوة. و لو بصيتو حواليكو كنتوا هتلاقوا كتير مشاركينكو نفس الحماس و المشاعر
شاركونا بكرة و بعده في التاون هاوس
من أجل غزة
السبت 24 يناير 7 مساءً
الأحد 25 يناير 7 مساءً
ووسط البلد وليلى سامي
و أيضاً معرض فني في اتيليه القاهرة حتى24 يناير يشارك فيه أكثر من 50 فنان مصري متبرعين باعمالهم لصالح غزة
مواعييد العمل :
السبت 23 يناير (من 5-11)
والاحد 24 يناير (من 10-1( ثم من (5 ل 11)
أسماء الفنانين المشاركين في المعرض:
أشرف ارسلا ن ، افلين عشم الله ، أسماء النواوي ، أشرف شاكر ، أمل قناوي ، أحمد كمال ، ابراهيم سعد ، ايمان عيسى ، أمادو الفادني ، بحر الدين أدم ، توماس هارتويل ، ثروت البحر ، جميل شفيق ، جورج عزمي ، جورج البهجوري ، جيرمين وليد ، حازم المستكاوي ، خالد حافظ ، ، دينا الغريب ، دعاء علي ، رندا فهمي ، رنا النمر ، رندا شعث ، رضاعبد الرحمن ، رشا طاهر ، سمير فؤاد ، سلام يسري ، شريف عبد البديع ، صباح نعيم ، طارق حفني ، عادل السيوي ، عمرو فكري ، عمرو الكفراوي ، عمر الفيومي ، علاء الدين الجزولي ، عماد الشطبي ، عصام معروف ، عادل واسيلي ، غادة عبد الملاك ، كلود ستملين ، مها مأمون ، محمد عبلة ، محمد شكري ، نهال وهبي ، ناجي باسيليوس ، نرمين الأنصاري ، نهى عبد الحفيظ ، هدى لطفي ، هبة فريد ، هيثم عادل نوار ، هاني راشد ، هيام عبد الباقي ، وليد طاهر ، ياسر شحاتة ، حسن سليمان ، مصطفى مفتاح ، فاطمة الطناني، عبد الهادي الوشاحي
سيذهب ريع الحفلات والمعرض إلى الشعب الفلسطيني المحاصر في غزة عن طريق:
اللجنة الشعبية للتضامن مع الشعب الفلسطيني
وجمعية العطاء لغزة
الاثنين، يناير 19، 2009
الأحد، يناير 18، 2009
What is war?
Arslan asks me again: "What is war?
"Who's making it and why?"
My mother appears just in time with her fancy stationary to give to the kids.
"Come on all of you," I call.
"Majed, Arslan, Wael, Dima. I'm going to explain to you what war is."
I put the paper on the floor:
"In English we write: 'W-A-R.'
"'W' which is like 'V' + 'V'
"'A' as in Arslan..."
Wael interrupts: "No, not like that. He asked you, he wants to know what is war
like the war in the sky, not like the war in the classroom."
I look at Wael: "But they're happy with my answer. What's your problem, little man?"
"No, they aren't.
Dima jumps in: "She's lying to you.
"She's trying to review English lessons because Majed's school is closed and he'll forget the alphabet in English."
"Ok, Majed shall I continue?" I ask, trying to ignore the other kids.
"Yes, but tell me what war is, not how we write it in English."
"Ok then, but it will take such a long time to explain. Let's save it for later. For now, take your stationery and go and draw."
I hope they won't ask me again.
Let someone else answer this question of theirs.
7 January, 2009
Like a can of sardines, we're all gathered in one room.
It's too unsafe for my brother and family to sleep upstairs.
The house-quaking experience is too scary.
Wael and I share a small narrow mattress on the floor.
We both start looking at photos on my mobile, trying to ignore the live war orchestra outside. Within minutes, Wael is asleep, holding the mobile in one hand and his thumb in his mouth.
He looks like an angel with his eyes half open – as if he doesn’t want to miss a
moment of pleasure -- he loves mobiles. I can't afford to let him take photos all day like he demands because I have to save the battery.
At 5 am I'm fast a sleep.
Wael starts drawing on my face with his little fingers.
He softly touches my forehead, my mouth.
Then he starts whispering in my ear.
"I'm talking softly in your ear because I don't want to wake you up," he says.
"What did you say? I didn't hear you."
"The war is over and today we must go out," he whispers.
"Ok," I say and fall back to sleep.
Wael jumps on my back: "You are my airplane. Let's go up."
"Wael, I want to sleep."
"I want to go to the club."
"When the war is over, we'll go."
"The war is over."
"No, the war is not over."
"Look out the window, listen: nothing. The war is over -- at least to buy kerosene for the heater and gasoline for the car..."
Wael leaves me no choice but to wake up.
He starts waking everyone else up too and by 5:30 the whole house is in action. At around 8:00, it's sunny and we have electricity. Wael has had his shower and comes downstairs, looking all smart in his red jacket.
"Let's go now."
"No," I said "the war is not over."
"We won't buy anything, just go in a loop around the house." he said
"Wael, believe me it's too dangerous to go out of the house. Just go and play."
When he starts crying, it's as if I can hear his heart breaking. All he wanted was to get out of the house after 12 days of not going anywhere.
He's mad at me again. He goes to the garden and chooses to play exactly in the area I asked him and all the kids not to play in: in front of our garden on the left hand side is an apartment that the Israelis have bombed before and everyone expects the worst this time.
It's just a few minutes before there's supposed to be a three-hour lull in the bombings
– Israel has announced it will allow 'safe passage' for humanitarian assistance. But I can't believe it:
"Wael, I asked you not to play there."
"I asked you to take me out," he retorts.
"But it's dangerous!" I scream.
He ignores me and heads further toward where I don't want him to be.
In the middle of this frustrating discussion, Dima, my niece, arrives from her house, which is just two houses down. (We opened a garden passage between our houses, crossing through the neighbor's yard, a long time ago so we could avoid the street in these kind of situations.)
Dima, who's 9, has also taken a shower today. She sits in the sun to warm herself up.
I go inside the house for a second.
Wael runs after me.
All of a sudden, there's a huge explosion.
Black airplanes are everywhere.
They cover the sky.
More than one.
More than two.
More than three.
At least half a dozen at once.
A terrifying sound.
Dima's screaming and unable to move.
She's alone in the garden.
Everywhere in the neighborhood, children start crying.
Wael's clutching on to my pants, his thumb in his mouth.
I pick him up and throw him at his mother.
I jump the six steps.
I reach Dima.
Her legs won't move.
She's screaming her heart out.
I'm trying to hug her, but her whole body is stiff.
Both her legs are shaking violently.
And the airplanes are still in the sky.
"I don't want to go out today," Wael announces.
I carry Dima in to her mother.
I can feel each beat of her heart.
She pushes her head into my neck.
"They didn't hit anybody.
"It was just an air show."
And this time I wasn't lying. But the truth didn't really matter.
9 January, 2009
Today my mother brought out the old style kerosene lamp she inherited from her
mother. It had long ago become part of the decor in our guest sitting room where she keeps all her fancy and kitsch souvenirs. She filled it up with kerosene despite the fact that half of the family has allergies to kerosene.
The lamp makes a nice atmosphere during the quiet moments early this evening!
The full moon coming in from the opened windows and doors adds more light to the
room. It feels warmer today. Oddly, all of us, sitting there in the living room are talking softly, as if we're hiding our voices from something. Someone I don't know.
My brother Nael, my sister Zeinat and my nephew Hitham start playing cards.
The game sounds too serious because everyone's trying to suppress their anxiety.
"I think one of the stitches in my eye is coming out," Zeinat says. "My doctor is in Gaza, the road to Gaza is cut, and the hospitals are only taking emergencies and this is not an emergency!"
"And your mother's old lamp is adding to my problem," she adds looking at my
mother, who is not impressed with this comment.
Hitham looks at me and says, "Can't you do it?"
"Can't you remove the stitch?"
But before he finishes, the house starts shaking.
Left and right.
Endless horrific sound.
Winds sweep in from the windows.
And everywhere across the neighborhood, children are crying.
A huge glare lights up the entire city of Khan Younis.
Our eyes stare at the door.
We're trying to recall what we memorized yesterday.
About what to do when an F16 hits your area.
But is it an F16? Because if its tanks shelling, then the instructions are different...
A few seconds pass.
Obviously, we are bad students because our only reaction is silence.
We stare wide-eyed at the door.
Can we call three seconds "waiting"?
I guess in Gaza you can.
Three seconds in Gaza can actually change your future.
Then, like runners at the marathon starting line, at the same moment, we're suddenly all racing towards the garden.
The smoke is rising more than 500 meters away from the house.
"We survived one more strike," my mother announces.
My sister Najat picks up the phone and calls our cousins who are not far from the explosion to check on them.
They've survived one more strike.
We've survived one more three seconds.
Today, our survival is counted in seconds and not days!
10 January 2009
Logic is my key for today.
I want to apologize to all the musicians in the world for calling the sounds of bombing an orchestra.
After a horrific night of tank shelling, bombardment by F16s, maybe an Apache too, the drone and, most scary of all, the smell of phosphorus gas reaching the edge of our neighborhood, today, I want to apologize to all musicians.
No, war sounds are far more frightening and ugly.
Today I will not joke.
I will think logic and talk logic.
Not enough food at home.
Children frustrated, wanting out of this prison.
It's not going to end today.
It might last for much longer.
Demands are increasing at all levels and from every side.
So, best is to act.
No safe place in Gaza Strip.
If my own bed is not safe, then the market is not safe.
But it might be safer than, or at least as safe as my bed could be....
So, I'm up early.
I call the children: "Come we'll all go to the vegetable market."
"Is the war over?" screams Arslan, my 5-year-old nephew happily.
"No, but there will be a ceasefire, a 'safe corridor' from 1 to 3 pm," I tell him.
"Is it 1 pm?" Arslan asks.
"What's a ceasefire?" Wael asks my sister Najat, at the same time.
"Is a safe corridor like the one we use next to our bathroom?"
Najat is exhausted. She hasn't slept for two nights now. She looks at Wael and breaks out in laughter: "Similar.... it's the shit in the pot!"
I answer Arslan: "It's 8 am now. We'll go now."
For me it seems safer to get out before the ceasefire because it doesn’t seem that there really is one, or at least that it's observed....
I catch Arslan's eye: "Looks like there's movement in the streets, so we'll try to go now."
I haven't seen the children so happy. They don't wait for me to get the car out from the garage. Like birds escaping the cage, they all start singing and dancing on the door step of our house.
A woman in the street asks me if I can give her a lift.
"I came here because they are distributing vegetables to poor people," she tells me.
"I'm not at an UNRWA school, I'm with my sister's family. Nobody knows about us.
"We're not registered, we're not refuges, so no one wants to help us. This kind man living in your neighborhood asked me for my ID. I gave it to him yesterday. Today I came and he gave me some vegetables. I have no idea what we will do with them -- we have no wood, no gas and no electricity. We haven't even had water for the last four days."
I looked at her in the rearview mirror and say: "Sell it and buy canned food."
"Who will buy it?"
"Many people will," I assure her.
"Will you take me to the vegetable market?" she asks.
"I'm going there, I'll take you."
She looks out the car window and says to herself: "It's better like this, I'll sell it and buy milk for the kids and some kerosene."
I decide that I will only look in the mirror or straight in front of me.
I don't want to see anything around me.
I love Khan Younis.
I can't do anything for Khan Younis today but wait patiently and survive,
so tomorrow we all can do something.
Halfway to the market, we're the only car in the street.
Wael is laughing and telling Arslan to look at the old man we've just passed.
"He's hiding behind the door and looking.
"But I saw him.
"Look at that woman too! I saw her!
"She's hiding behind the door, peeking out..."
Arslan is looking out on the other side of the road. He screams: "Hey look, our
kindergarten! They destroyed the building near our garden!"
Majed, my 6-year-old nephew, asks me "Who did this?"
I answer, "The airplane."
"I know, but who is in the airplane?"
I look at the woman and say: "You can sell your vegetables here."
Majed repeats his question
"Who did this destruction?"
I look at him and say: "The Israelis. But don't ask me who they are now because if you look just in front of you, you'll see where we'll buy our stuff."
There was huge truck distributing flour to people.
We sat and waited until some families got their quota and then they sat in the sun and started selling half of what they'd received.
An old woman was sitting covering her face.
I went to her and asked if I could buy from her.
"Yes, please, I have to get back quickly. If my sons know I am here, they'll be upset with me. I came because we have nothing left at home. And we have twelve children at home who need to eat three times a day."
I asked her why she is selling the flour in this case.
"Because we got two bags from UNRWA, we'll use one and with the money of the
other one we'll buy vegetables."
"Ok, then how much is this?"
"Why? It was 90, I say.
"Everyone in the market is selling at this price."
"Ok then, I will take it."
Some young men come and help me put it in the trunk.
When I switch the car on, Dima asks: "Why did you buy that sack of flour? It's got 'Not for Sale' written on it"
I look at her jokingly: "I bought it, I will not sell it, because it is not for sale."
What else do we need, Dima?"
She looks at the small paper where my mother has listed all her needs.
"We still need everything, you only bought one thing."
"Sugar, my grandmother said: 'don't forget sugar,'" Arslan offers.
We look everywhere but find nothing but vegetables.
So we buy what we like. And then what we don't like, just in case.
And we drive back, with my eyes staring only straight ahead.
I hear Wael, Arslan, Dima and Majed playing their new game "I see something
I'm not ready to look.
Shelling starts in Khan Younis.
Strikes somewhere not far, but far.
I drive quickly, passing down the main market road – a road I've not been able to drive down for the past 20 years because it's always so packed full of people and stands.
Today I can drive as fast as I want.
It's totally empty.
We reach home and everyone's happy.
Finally, we've managed to get flour, which is most important.
Wael enters the house and announces to my mother:
We brought you flour.
But no sugar.
The toy shop is closed.
The supermarket is closed.
The woman who sells the flour doesn't have any chocolate.
She doesn’t sell cars or airplanes.
She is covering her face.
She didn't want us to know her.
The phone rings.
Wael runs to answer.
"Hello. Who is it?"
He's silent for a moment, then: "No, we don't have any..."
A few more seconds of silence.
"But we need sugar.
"And I want a car and an airplane with a remote control."
I run to pick up the second phone. This boy is out of control. He has to stop asking my friends to buy him things every time they call:
It's a recorded message from the Israeli military.
The message repeats:
"If you have guns at home you should get rid of them.
"If you are hiding any of the militias, report them at the following number...
"If you have information you want to share, call the following number…"
I look at Wael. He looks back at me, his eyes are asking my permission to request the caller to buy chocolate for his brothers too. I give him the Ok.
So he adds: "Bring some for Majed and Arslan and Dima too."
Precisely at 1pm, the cease fire starts.
I was right in my calculation and logic.
The military planes are back in the sky, performing their daily shock and awe show, complete with the sound and motion. But today they've added flying balloons and they're drawing lines across the sky with the smoke of the airplanes.
The chorus of kids crying their hearts out starts up across the neighborhood again.
I secretly congratulate myself -- going to the market before the ceasefire was a wise choice. But now it's time to go comfort and hug the kids.
11 January, 2008
"What's wrong with your rooster?" my friend shouts down the phone line.
"Its 9 pm and he's crowing as if it's dawn!"
"Suffering jetlag," I explain.
"They didn't sleep all night because of the explosions.
"They're hungry because there's no feed for them in the market.
"And an Apache just lit up the whole Khan Younis skyline with their flares.
"They think it’s the morning.
"But don't worry, they'll go back to sleep," I assure her.
الاثنين، يناير 12، 2009
27 December, 2008
I had a strong feeling that the Israelis would attack over the Christmas holidays. I know deep in my heart that the neither EU governments nor the USA will care much about responding. But I also know that the Israelis will calculate to commit their massacres when they have more time.
But I didn't imagine for a second it would be like this. At around 11 or 11:30 am, I felt like an earthquake hit Khan Younis with sounds I'd never, ever heard before -- not even when the Israeli occupation forces used sonic booms a few years ago.
First thing that came to my heart was my mother, sisters and the kids at school and kindergarten. I was upstairs rushing to take a hot shower -- I'd been taking cold showers for over a week because it was not sunny enough to heat the water and we didn't have electricity in decent hours or decent power to heat enough water for my luxurious 5 minute shower!
I rushed down the steps, faster than the sounds I was hearing. Looked into my sister's eyes, looked into my mother's eyes and, in no time, I ran towards the steps into the garden to go get the kids from kindergarten and school… My nephew who is six- years-old had exams, so he was back early from school. The other two were at the door. It happened that our neighbor was in town, so he had brought them along with his own child.
The kids were scared and talking about the huge sound which they didn't understand. Wael, my 4-year-old nephew didn't understand a thing -- he didn't even know that Israel exists.
Now he knows. All of them do.
The whole family didn't know what to do, so we all gathered in the garden. Last time the Israelis attacked, our windows crashed in over our heads and some doors were broken. This time the shelling is stronger, so the best solution seems to be, to stay out in the open.
All of that and the noise of the bombing continues, there's smoke around us everywhere and the smell of shelling is back to pollute our life one more time.
I was trying for over an hour to call my brother and his family in Gaza city to know that he was safe. Landline and mobile lines were out of service!
After an hour we managed to get hold of one of them -- my nephew Azzam, who is working for the UN. He tells me that he's safe at one of the shelters in the UN compound in Gaza. It's the first time I hear that shelters even exist in Gaza!
After two hours, text messages started being delivered and we got responses from everyone that they are safe BUT … everyone his/her own story of this manmade earthquake to tell.
Later, we discovered that the bombing happened at the same time in all of Gaza Strip. How lucky my family and I are because we are not among the scores of people killed in the first 5 minutes of the attack! We are lucky, we really are!!!
For the passed 20 days we haven't had cooking gas. Last month my cousin gave us his extra 6 kg to use. This morning, on Black Saturday, the 27th of December, 2008, we managed to get some cooking gas from the black market which I have been trying to avoid all my life. I filled my cousin's and our cylinders, paid four times the price, but I had no choice.
At 5 pm I felt it was safe to take the cooking gas cylinder to my cousin's house because the shelling had stopped. The house is only 5 minutes away from us by car. The kids insisted to come and they started to cry, so I took them with me. We drove in a loop around the house and entered the street from behind. But then I remembered that there was a police station there, so I thought it's better to take the other road. I reversed and took the other street to find in front of us an airplane shelling a car.
The kids see the flames and hear the sound. They're so scared. I tell them this is fireworks for the New Year.
We couldn't go back to the house because our neighbor's funeral was passing and the street was full of people and cars, so I decided to just go ahead. We gave the cylinder to my cousin and on our way back there was another huge explosion, this one at one of the police posts in the city.
We leave the fireworks behind and come home.
My mother tells us that the Israelis have just shelled Asda'a Media City, the new entertainment area at the ex-Israeli settlements, at the edge of Khan Younis. Arslan, my 5-year-old nephew, is furious. Arslan, like all other kids, likes this place because it has fish, a small zoo, a small playground and a restaurant. He cries and cries. I cannot promise him anything: "I'm sure we'll find another place that is more beautiful… "
We made sure to have the kids fall asleep among us first and then took them upstairs to their beds so they would somehow feel secure.
All night I couldn't sleep, hearing the shelling, calling friends and family to make sure they were ok, listening to the radio because there was no electricity to watch TV, and cursing myself for being so stupid as to take the kids out of the house!!! I don't know if I am insensitive, or the Israelis, or the world!!!! Isn't it wise to take kids out?... Of course, it is... But not in Gaza. Not at this time. Nor at other times...
28 December, 2008
In the morning, Wael wakes up and comes to me to show me his finger which is swollen: "Look, this is from the shelling and air strike!"
"When?" I ask.
"Last night when I was sleeping, they hit me."
"You lie," I say.
He smiles and says: "You lie too..."!!!
31 December, 2008
Yesterday night I called my friend Wafa, who is living in Gaza City, in Tel Al-Hawa neighborhood, to check on her. She is fine and they are a lucky family, as she said. Because on Saturday when the first bombing of Gaza Strip started, she had all her doors and windows open since she was about to clean and rearrange her apartment.
None of her windows or doors are broken, unlike all her neighbors, who are now seeking her apartment's refuge on the second floor.
Wafa told me that after 7 pm all the neighbors gather in her small apartment, men in one room and women in the other room. I could hear the crying of children and anxious noises coming through the phone line.
"Mira my daughter is the one who is scared," Wafa told me. "You remember her, right?"
"I thought if I take her out to see the reality of Gaza she might be less scared because we're all living same situation and I'm sure we're better off than others. So I took her for a walk around the neighborhood. I wish I hadn't!"
"When I saw what I saw, I got scared myself," Wafa explained. "I wanted to blindfold her eyes and run back home. I cursed myself for taking her out of the apartment. But I'd never imagined Gaza could become a ghost city in less than a day! If you see our neighborhood you will not recognize it."
Wafa added hysterically: "You know, Majeda, we are all fine. Really. Our only problem is that we don't get any electricity since the bombings on the first day. Since then I make the bread dough and send it to my neighbor in the building nearby to have it baked. They have a power generator, thank god!"
"To be honest, the bread, the cold, buildings and all of that are not the problem for us today," Wafa told me. "Our real problem is that we have this rocket which did not explode in front of the building."
"The F16 rocket. We called several people but no one can do anything about it, they are worried it will explode or the F16 will hit them if they go near it."
"You mean it's still in front of the building?!"
'No, not right in front now. The Civil Defense came and tied a rope around it and moved it up toward the road."
"They put some sand over it so no kids or others would get hurt."
2 January, 2009
Wael woke up really angry with me this morning. He came to me frowning and, as he
hugged me, he said: "I don't want to give you a hug or kiss you today."
I ask why.
"You promised us a Christmas tree and you didn't get one. You promised to take me
to the beach when it rains and you didn't. You promised we would watch the birds in
the sky and now you won't even allow us to move from the living room and play in
Wael loves to watch birds. For the last six days, every day he looks up at the sky and
wonders why the birds take so long to go to their nests. He tells me that every day
birds used to go to their homes directly, only maybe once or twice would they fly
around the house. Yesterday Wael was watching his birds and all of a sudden an F16
started roaming about, occupying the sky. The birds flew from right to left and then
back again -- every time they found a safe area in the sky an airplane would drop
another shell and the birds would flee to the other side. In the beginning, Wael was
laughing and he called all his brothers to watch how the birds were dislocated. But
today Wael is really angry; he feels that the birds are not safe.
Wael tells me: "Last night when I went to sleep the airplane hit my finger again. I
know you don't believe me, but it fell down and set fire to our garden. I could smell
"What did you do?"
"I was looking for my airplane to go up and take all the birds to their mother because
they were calling me to help them."
"Did you help them?"
He gives me a very angry look and says, "Of course not!"
"Because you didn't buy me an airplane, so I couldn't do anything for them and they
are really angry with me."
I look at Wael:"Listen, I promise you when this war is over I will buy you a very big
airplane, with a remote control."
He asks: "What is war?"
"War is what we are living now.
Like what you saw in your dream."
"And why would any one make this war?"
I think that he's got the idea and then he continues: "Why would anyone not want the
birds to go back to their nests?"
I look at Wael and say: "For now I will give you a hug and you will forgive me for all
the bad things I did in the last few days. I have to do some work... we will continue
He is happy with my new promise and I am happy I've managed to cut the
4 January, 2009
Yesterday was most awful day we ever lived, I think. My mother said even the 1967 War was not this bad. No electricity, very little water, freezing cold and most horrific was the cold accompanied by the live war orchestra.
Tanks bombing from the ground incursion, F16s bombing, the drone which keeps going around in circles all day and night non-stop, making this annoying sound as if there is a bee just at the edge of your ear. And added to all of this, the sound of shelling from the sea.
War melody, is what I want to call it.
Like this I can answer Wael's questions. He keeps asking: What is war? Why is war? Who started war? Why is war?
Maybe if I add the word melody, he'll ask about what a melody is...
Unfortunately, Wael doesn't ask about melody. Instead, he keeps asking: Why does the pilot want to kill the birds? Why does the pilot hate birds? Maybe he doesn’t know that they have a life like us...
I 'm shocked by his question: "Maybe he doesn’t know that birds have a life."
I ask Wael to come inside because it's freezing cold outside. His birds are no longer in the sky. "Come let's play the Alaska game!"
"What is Alaska?"
"It's a new game we'll all play with grandmother. Each of us has her/his own blanket to cover all of the body from head to toe."
I don't know if we were trying to warm ourselves or trying to hide from all the bombing... Whatever it was, it felt better since there was no electricity and no birds in the sky comforting us.
"Ok, Wael, you are the head of the state of Alaska, and we are the people of Alaska. What do you order us to do?" I started the game...
"I order you to go to the shop and buy me an airplane, a cage and seeds," he said, sucking on his thumb.
"Why?" I ask. "You need to explain to me."
"I want to fly up, up, up -- till I reach god!
I will bring all my birds,
and put them in a cage.
I'll fly again,
and I'll catch the pilot.
I will bring him here
and give him the seeds to feed the birds."
I look at Wael as the bombing continues, he's quite anxious.
...And I thought the Alaska game could bring some kind of creative ideas to bring warmth to our bodies and some life under this bombardment.
Unfortunately, it wasn't a very smart idea. So I just obeyed my mother's order: we all got closer to each other and created a net of hugs that really brought warmth to our life and very little security.
We kept listening to the melody coming from outside and we started to count the bombs out loud; 1, 2, 3, ... 28, ... 32 .... The kids don't know how to continue counting after 50, so we stopped.
We have to keep the door and windows open because the shelling of the F16 can shatter the door and window panes. It happened before, in March 2008, when they hit the building in front of us. But then there was glass available in the market. This time there is nothing, which means we might spend the whole winter with no doors and panes for the windows. Let's be in control for a change and choose to open the windows and doors.
A very long 5 hours passes by and the situation is still the same. The only change we witness is an extra sound added to the orchestra: the sound of ambulances going up and down.
I ask the kids to sleep on the first floor with all of us. Wael refuses. He keeps saying: I'll sleep in my bed, because if I don't, the pilot will hit our apartment.
I try to convince him that if we are all together, then we'll feel warmer. He finally agrees. But then he keeps asking to go upstairs to check on his bed, his room, his toys, his schoolbag. In the end it seems safer to just let him stay in one place, so his family goes upstairs, even though it's colder and more dangerous.
After everyone went to sleep, the electricity came on. It had been almost 24 hours we'd spent without electricity. I tried to take full advantage of it. First thing: hot shower. But unfortunately, it didn't work because the current wasn't powerful enough to heat the water. So I sat at the computer, finished some work that needed to be done, wrote emails to friends and family outside Palestine to try and comfort them and assure them that we had survived one more day under this war on Gaza.
5 January, 2008
Just before going to bed Wael says: "Actually, I like war."
I ask why.
"Because I don't have to wash my face and hands. I don't have to wash my hands and face in this cold. And I don't have to go to kindergarten in the morning."
"But you won't be able to count the bombs... if you don't go to kindergarten, because you'll only be able to count until 50."
"I don't like to count bombs anyway," he answers and goes up the steps.
I feel how stupid I am to make this little boy count bombs. I'm so angry with myself.
Wael comes back and says: "I want to ask you: if a boy and his father are made out of iron, will the rocket affect them?"
"Yes," I answer.
"And if they are made out of wood?"
"Yes," I answer.
"And if they are made out of tree?"
Suddenly I recognize that I must say no, so he can sleep...