Gaza, December 27, 2009 (Pal Telegraph) –

It has been a year. The scene is pretty the same, but of the one-year ruins of what is left of houses lying lifelessly on the streets where there used to live people breathing life into them. The rubbles are left unremoved, for what is the use of lifting them when those whom the houses couldn’t shelter are no longer alive, and even if some are still surviving ; the rubbles would still be there, for all infrastructure needed to rebuild them are not allowed into the Mourning City .

It has been a year, the ruins are still the same, the scars are clearly seen on a child whose innocence would raise thousands questions in your mind of the claimed justice in the world, a world where a boy lying in his mother’s lap is a threat to mankind. Dying, peacefully, there, his breathless body on a lap that is no longer rocking him, he would pay the price of the world’s justice. It has been a year, people walking in the street are still defying a 4-year siege imposed three years before the war, still defying after the war, faces are filled with the challenge of survival.

A year ago, I took this particular street for home when what seemed like hell broke out. Surrounded by columns of dense black smoke, I stood still. Yes, I was shaking with fear at the scene of what seemed as arbitrary targets, hit with rains of bombs falling from everywhere. I was standing still, and my whole world around was collapsing in seconds. It didn’t stop, the bombing was still deafening me every single second, and I was standing still. It was not because I was super strong that I could defeat all fears inside that I was in such a state, but was it because I was too afraid to move one step further and fall a victim, ripped by a merciless shell? Or was I thoughtlessly trying to make reason of those unjustifiable attacks? Or was I wondering how many people whom I loved or knew or didn’t have I lost under the intense smoke? But probably, I just couldn’t know where to go amongst the chaos that broke around.

My first signs of motion were of that of a child who was crying for his mother, and I started sobbing asking for my mother whom I didn’t want to die but in her lap. In an hour, I was lying in her arms with hysterical sobs that even she couldn’t comfort at all. It has been a year, and I still cannot forget the scene of the un-numerable bodies on the TV screen, they said they were 120 people, no, wait a second, the number is still increasing, they have probably reached a number of 130 or 135, no space for mourning them and honoring their names, they all were gone in 2 minutes, and war broke out.

“One Day War”, they said. That day lasted for 23 days of death, grief, fear, and prayers of survival. Clinging to a radio working on batteries, for electricity was amongst the rights we were deprived, we would thoughtfully listen to others stories, thinking of how much time we still have to live. “We’re not attacking civilians”, they said. Ironically, the war claimed the lives of more than 1400 Palestinians, of which more than 300 hundred were children and more than a hundred women besides medics and journalists. “We target Hamas Organizations”, they said. And thousands of houses, mosques, schools, hospitals were bombed and destroyed sometimes upon their residents. They said, and the international world watched for 23 days Israel’s lies and their inexcusable crimes silently.

Today, a year passed, and we, who are left behind to endure as we always do, would never forget those who paid their souls in that brutal war. Today, we shall commemorate them, for the least we can do is to lighten a candle and send them a prayer, ” May Allah Bless their innocent souls”.

By Sameeha Elwan