What It's Like Living Under Attack in Gaza
What It's Like Living Under Attack in Gaza
By Abeer Ayyoub / mic.com
Jul 15, 2014

When three Israelis were reported kidnapped in Hebron back in June, I immediately knew that in one way or another, Gaza would be affected.

What I didn't expect was the massive military operation that my home has been enduring since July 8: a seemingly endless barrage of air strikes that have resulted in 175 deaths and 1,280 injuries so far, according to Gaza's Health Ministry. Once again, the 1.8 million Palestinians living in the besieged coastal enclave have to pay the price for everything that happens anywhere in Palestine.

Image Credit: AP. Mourners carry the bodies of the al-Batsh family, a family of 18 killed in an Israeli air strike, July 13.

This time, the offensive is called "Operation Protective Edge," but its announcement brought to mind memories of the last two operations that Gaza has faced, in 2008-2009 and 2012. The only difference is always the name.

 

Image Credit: AP. Blood in the streets of Gaza City after an Israeli air strike killed seven, July 12. 

The excuse was the same one that has been used to justify past attacks on Gaza: Hamas. The aim, we're told, is to destroy the infrastructure from Hamas and to stop the rockets being fired from Gaza toward Israel. But it's not just members of the group living in Gaza, there are civilians living here, who are paying the price for the ongoing violence. That's what international media outlets seem to forget: that it's people simply trying to live their lives that are paying the ultimate price. In this latest escalation, just like any other escalation, every Gazan is a target.

 

Image Credit: AP. An Israeli missile explodes in the south of Gaza, July 8. 

Since the start of the latest round of air strikes, life in Gaza has totally changed. In some ways, it has disappeared almost entirely. Gone is the usually festive spirit of Ramadan. Instead, Gazans are stuck at home, watching their loved ones being killed on television, and praying that it won't be them next. Death hangs over even the most mundane aspects of life.  Leaving home to go to the supermarket to stock up on food means running the risk of either being killed or injured.

 

Image Credit: AP. A man walks through the rubble of a home in Gaza City destroyed by an Israeli missile strike, July 14. 

And so, like any other time of escalation, no one in Gaza dares to leave their homes unless it is urgent, and my family is no exception. We are living our lives the way we usually do during these escalations: We stop going to work and school, we make sure that we have the essentials to survive without leaving the house and we focus entirely on following the news and praying for survival.

The nightly rain of Israeli rockets on the Gaza Strip has meant a Ramadan with sleepless nights. To adjust to this horrible situation, my sisters and I have been trying to sleep as early as we can, before the shelling starts, to be prepared for the sohoor meal before dawn (the meal Muslims have before the sun comes up for a long day of fasting).

 

Image Credit: Getty Images. Smoke and fire billow above Rafah, in southern Gaza, after an Israeli air strike, July 8.

I live with my extended family in one building, including my young nieces and nephews. To comfort them, we tell them that the loud explosions are part of a party, but they are too traumatized to even sleep. Gaza's young children, many of whom already suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, will feel the impact of this most recent military operation long after it is over.

 

Image Credit: Getty Images. Children mourn the death of their relative, Adhem Abd Elaal, in Gaza City, July 14. 

Since I'm a journalist, I am not staying at home like the rest of my family, and I know that my parents wish that I chose a different profession. Even though on the surface I put on a strong face, one strong enough to cover the violence happening in my home, I am always terrified that I will be killed in a horrible way. Being a journalist doesn't protect me. On July 9, the car of Hamdi Shihab, a man working for Media 24, a local news agency, was bombed, despite having "TV" clearly indicated on it. Shihab was killed, and three of the journalists in the car with him were injured. That tragedy made me realize that no one in Gaza is excluded from the battle.

 

Image Credit: AP. The car of Shihab after being destroyed by an Israeli air strike, July  9.

Still, despite the risk, I am surprised by the boldness and bravery I have seen since the start of the escalation. Early into the offensive, I requested a cab from a cab service and asked that they send me a driver with no children, just in case something bad happens to us. When the car arrived, I was surprised to see an older driver with a large family.

"Are you sure you want to do this?" I asked.

"Come on," he responded. "You are speaking as if there is a safe spot in Gaza. Everyone here is a target,yallah (come on in Arabic), get in."

Living such an experience is not new to me, yet I always find it extremely hard to live with the possibility of being killed at any moment or losing a loved one. That fear, which lies in the heart of every Gazan, is the one that remains unheard in the international media's biased reporting. I want people to know that being stuck in a conflict zone without a permanent solution is like being in an endless nightmare, without even the hope of eventually waking up. Gaza is strong, so we adjust to the hardships of our daily lives. Even though I'm used to this life for myself, I only wonder if my children, when I get married, will have to live the same life I'm living.

3.7 ·
2
Trending Today
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 12,997 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action · 6,649 views today · A more beautiful, just and sustainable world is possible. Take this library and use it to inspire global change!
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 1,981 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Obama's Hidden Role in Worsening Climate Change
Stansfield Smith · 1,266 views today · It should be a scandal that leftists-liberals paint Trump as a special threat, a war mongerer – not Obama who is the first president to be at war everyday of his eight years...
"Desert Goddess" Remembers Arizona's Glen Canyon
7 min · 673 views today · In this excerpt from the award-winning documentary DamNation, filmmakers Ben Knight and Travis Rummel interview the "desert goddess," Katie Lee. When the Glen Canyon Dam was...
18 Empowering Illustrations to Remind Everyone Who's Really in Charge of Women's Bodies
Julianne Ross · 427 views today · When Brazilian graphic designer Carol Rossetti began posting colorful illustrations of women and their stories to Facebook, she had no idea how popular they would...
Dinosaur explains Trump policies better than Trump!
8 min · 407 views today · Donald Trump is actually the corporate triceratops, Mr. Richfield, from the 90's TV show sitcom, "Dinosaurs". 
Make The Serengeti Great Again | Resource Scarcity, Demagogues and How Creativity Can Trump Hate (2017)
5 min · 344 views today · A Familiar Tale of Resource Scarcity, Demagogues, and How Creativity Can Trump Hate A quick, original, illustrated allegory that pokes at the demagogues we’ve got with an...
The Political Elite: Idiots... or Criminals?
Michael Emero · 340 views today · I've been seeing a lot of people convinced that the DNC and all establishment Democrats are total idiots. How could they not be, when they sabotaged an easy win (Bernie) to...
How Mindfulness Empowers Us
2 min · 338 views today · Many traditions speak of the opposing forces within us, vying for our attention. Native American stories speak of two wolves, the angry wolf and the loving wolf, who both live...
Why It's Crucial for Women to Heal the Mother Wound
Bethany Webster · 250 views today · The issue at the core of women’s empowerment is the mother wound
Defiance in the Face of Oppression - Iranian Artist Atena Farghadani Defends the Right to Draw
Gavin Aung Than · 241 views today · Atena Farghadani is a 28-year-old Iranian artist. She was recently sentenced to 12 years and 9 months in prison for drawing a cartoon.  
Baraka (1992)
97 min · 238 views today · Featuring no conventional narrative, this film presents footage of people, places and things from around the world. From chaotic cities to barren wilderness, the movie takes...
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 237 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
Deconstructing Hierarchies: On Contrived Leadership and Arbitrary Positions of Power
Colin Jenkins · 231 views today · Bosses don't grow on trees. They don't magically appear at your job. They aren't born into their roles. They are created. They are manufactured to fulfill arbitrary positions...
This Zen Comic Is Full of Timeless Life Lessons
Gavin Aung Than · 224 views today · Desiderata poem by Max Ehrmann beautifully illustrated by Gavin Aung Than
HUMAN (2015)
382 min · 205 views today · What is it that makes us human? Is it that we love, that we fight? That we laugh? Cry? Our curiosity? The quest for discovery?  Driven by these questions, filmmaker and artist...
The Invention of Capitalism: How a Self-Sufficient Peasantry was Whipped Into Industrial Wage Slaves
Yasha Levine · 196 views today · “…everyone but an idiot knows that the lower classes must be kept poor, or they will never be industrious.” —Arthur Young; 1771 Our popular economic wisdom says that...
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 195 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
90 Inspiring and Visionary Films That Will Change How You See the World in Profound Ways
Tim Hjersted · 170 views today · The world today is in crisis. Everybody knows that. But what is driving this crisis? It's a story, a story that is destroying the world. It's a story about our relationship to...
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
What It's Like Living Under Attack in Gaza