I thought I had a lot to say after the last military attack over Gaza. I wanted to pour out my heart and vengeance and tell the world what had happened.
But somehow after the truce was announced, and in an attempt to find some relief, I found myself doing mundane cleaning to numb my mind.
The truce wasn’t a cause to celebrate. It only meant that the raining of missiles over our heads would stop for the time being. The midnight vultures of Israeli war planes had wreaked havoc, death and eternal pain upon us. Gaza would be in mourning for a while, again.
Throughout the five days and nights, my brain cells were being pulled into a tight knot that killed all energy and imagination. There was no room to think except of death, and I still hadn’t had the chance to grieve over the martyrs properly. My heart longed to hold my laptop and write away, but it was impossible.
During those day, I thought how absurd the notion of safety had become for us in Palestine. Home is where the heart is, but it’s not where safety lies. The attack began at 2:00 AM when war planes bombed a building I know well. A building I’ve been to numerous times to visit friends. I’d walked through its door and down its entrance where I met kids playing. I probably met Mayar and her brother Ali unknowingly during one of my visits. But after they were killed, their innocent faces are forever etched in my memory.
My doctor who lived on the sixth floor was killed along with his wife and oldest son, while four of his children survived. Dr. Jamal was someone with an angelic smile and demeanor. He was someone that exuded positivity and humanity. He was a dentist that made you feel that everything would be OK.
I was once due to have a surgery to remove one of my wisdom teeth. He scheduled my appointment for a week later. During that week, I tried to conjure all the courage in my body cells to be prepared. I’d been through painful operations before and I was literally scared to death.
A week later, he x-rayed my teeth, then smiled and said, ‘the tooth has moved a bit and it no longer pushes up against the one next to it.’
I lifted my head off the dentist chair and turned to face with bulging eyes and said, ‘What does this mean?’
He laughed and reassured me that I no longer needed the surgery. I was incredulous. I wanted to jump up and down from happiness and relief. This was just one of my stories at his clinic. Dr. Jamal is someone I’ll be missing for as long as I live, and will never tire of talking about him.
When I look at the faces of the martyrs and how beautiful their faces are, I’m in awe. I stroke their pictures gently and think how distant from us they seem, almost like they were never among us. I add their pictures to the endless compilation of martyrs whose names are impossible to memorize. The pace of killing has paralyzed my thoughts. I want to proper time to write each martyr’s story. They all had a life, a family, a loved one and a dream. Their stories matter.