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Grant us mercy: Testimonies from Gaza

By: Lucy Duncan
Published: July 31, 2014

Boy with bicycle in Gaza

Photo: AFSC / Ryan Rodrick Beiler

Note: Here are three testimonies of people who are experiencing the current bombardment on Gaza. - Lucy

Testimony from Mrs. Naji H. Al Jamel, a social worker at the Union of Health Work Committees in Gaza, a few minutes before her house was shelled and destroyed in the Jabalia Refugee Camp

My husband and I were woken by our neighbors’ screaming. I was confused but knew that something had happened. I hurried with my husband to find out more. The neighbors told us that our house was going to be bombed. We had to leave immediately.

I stopped and yelled, “Why? How? What did we do?”

Memories pass in front of me quickly and I see in each corner life’s pain and work. I remember each floor tile and how we saved money to buy them. I see the kitchen, the fridge, my bedroom, my clothes, our washing machine. We were planning on buying new books. The whirlwind in my head passes and I can no longer think. I don’t know what to take and wish I could hug my house and run away with it.

I woke up from this whirlwind of thought when my husband began dragging me by the hand while carrying our daughter Camelia. Halfway out of the house I remembered our other daughter Maya. I ran back through the house seeing nothing through my tears. I do not know how I reached my room but I grabbed my daughter Maya seeing nothing.

In a few moments everything was gone, disappeared. All of my savings, all of my husband’s savings, everything in our small house disappeared in moments.

This is a small part of my family’s story in the Jabalia Refugee Camp. We are now waiting in a state of extreme fear for something that is beyond our imagining.

I might not be able to write to you again because in Heaven there are no alphabets.

I apologize for this poor draft but the continuous shelling and cannon fire distracts my mind.

Testimony from Ahmad Mansour, 22, Palestine Youth Together for Change participant, Gaza City, Gaza

Ahmad, on the left, with a friend

To be honest, they are escaping from one death to another death. Yesterday the artillery shelled Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir Al-Balah killing five people who were already receiving treatment for injuries.….. I live in the Gaza Strip. As I am writing to you the artillery are firing indiscriminately toward the Al-Magazi and Al-Breij Refugee Camps. The residents of those two camps are fleeing toward us in Deir Al-Balah.

Do we really live in [the] 21st century? I don’t think so, not while we are witnessing this barbaric, savage, and unjustified genocide.

My home is filled with displaced people, but the artillery shells are coming closer and closer so we are preparing to gather our luggage [and] evacuate to somewhere else [along] with those who have already been displaced once and twice before.

BUT evacuate to where?

…This time I feel like we are going to evacuate to heaven!

Testimony from Mohammed Al Awoor, 24, Maghazi Refugee Camp, Gaza

Mohammed Al Awoor

During my whole life of 24 years, I have heard my grandfather and grandmother talk about how they were displaced. I used to listen [passively] while visualizing scenes in white and black.

Today, I have lived these scenes in the Maghazi Refugee Camp where I reside. I hear the continuous sounds of artillery. Whole families have been displaced. Children, women, and the elderly leave on foot and in various kinds of vehicles - some in cars, others in carts pulled by donkeys. I am once again living the Nakba*.

The scene was so hideous and so full of pain. It is as if the Lord has written that we should be eternally displaced.

O Lord, grant us mercy.

*Nakba, meaning catastrophe in Arabic, is the term used by Palestinians to describe the forced displacement of 750,000 Palestinians and the destruction of over 500 Palestinian villages during the 1948 War.

 

About the Author

Lucy Duncan

Lucy serves as Director of Friends Relations for AFSC. She has been a storyteller for 20 years and has worked with Quaker meetings on telling stories for racial justice and of spiritual experience. Before working for AFSC, she was Director of Communications at FGC, managed QuakerBooks of FGC, and owned and managed her own children's bookstore in Omaha, The Story Monkey. She attends Green Street Friends Meeting (PhYM) and lives with her son and partner in a Quaker cemetery.

More posts by Lucy Duncan