Eye Witness: Oxfam Advocate Blogs From Inside Gaza

Published: Thu 15 Jan 2009 12:01 PM
At least if I die, I will die with a little hope
Mohammed Ali, Oxfam’s Advocacy and Media Researcher, reports on the Israeli military operation from his home in Gaza city .
This morning I heard people chanting outside, I wondered what it was, and then, the lights came on – the electricity had come back on, hurrah! I immediately turned on the television, charged my phone, checked emails. For a moment, I felt somewhat liberated. These things that we often take for granted have become so precious of late.
We have no clean water left. Our water tank is empty. My father could not turn away the increasing amount of people knocking at our door with empty jerry cans in hand. He did not realise how much water he had given out until it was too late. Shops are running out of clean water; we were not able to find any in our neighbourhood. We can use the untreated water but we should really boil it first to avoid getting sick, but we face another obstacle; we have very little gas left. We will just have to drink the unsterilised water so that we can save the rest of the gas for cooking food. By the way, if you have never cooked with a gas burner, I can tell you, it makes the food taste of gasoline, the coffee taste of gasoline, we now even smell of gasoline.
I received a call from a good friend in Jabalyia, he was telling me how awful life has become for his family; sonic booms from F16 fighter planes constantly shake his home - there is no chance of his six children and wife getting any sleep. His sister has already evacuated and he wants to leave as soon as he can. He has a small bag packed and ready to go. I told him to bring his family and to stay with us - I am expecting him to arrive at any moment.
The news is getting more and more horrific as the situation here deteriorates. The latest report I saw was of a child clutching on to her dead parent’s bodies for four days before anyone was able to come to her rescue, dogs are starting to eat the corpses that no one has been able to bury…this reality does not seem to be reaching some parts of the world…is it censored because people cannot cope with the truth of what is happening to us?  If the truth did get out, would it make a difference?
Fortunately, we have a lot of solidarity and trust in our community, we share what we have - I guess this is why we have just about managed to feed ourselves. Some shopkeepers are allowing people to buy food on credit; people’s debts are quickly mounting up. But solidarity and trust will not feed us now that food and everything else it seems, is running out.
I applied for a scholarship in the UK several months ago. I was expecting to find out in early January whether or not my application was successful. I have been waiting impatiently for days. I could not wait any longer so I finally called the British Council; I wanted to know the outcome to put my mind at rest. They told me that they would call back in two minutes. During those two minutes I almost stopped breathing – this scholarship is the only hope I have at the moment for a better life. The lady called back and said, “ I am afraid we do not have an answer yet for you”. To which I responded, “ Please be honest with me, is it that you really do not have an answer or that you do not want to give me bad news at this point in time?”
 The possibility of going to the UK is giving me the hope I need to live. My wife thinks I am crazy, as I talk to her as if we are definitely going; I describe the friends we will have, the restaurants we will go to, the walks around the parks…

…at least if I die, I will die with a little hope, the hope that I will have the chance to live a better life, even if for now it is but a dream.
Donate online now to help people affected by the crisis in Gaza or call 0800 400 666.

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