‘We Didn't Expect The War To Go On For So Long’: Palestinian Journalist Adel Al-Hawajri On How This War Is Like None Before It

Adel Al-Hawajri, a journalist from Gaza, says people are mentally and emotionally drained because this war is very different from the previous rounds of violence.

Ground Report: Al-Hawajri says Palestinians have been witnessinng a war-like situation for years

I have been working as a freelance journalist in Gaza since the beginning of the war. I live my life like other fellow journalists. We want to make our voices heard by everyone.

In the first moments, or, the beginning of the war on Gaza, like most of the Palestinians, I was in my house, doing my daily chores, following my morning routine, something that I do in a certain light mood. But when the bombings started, more than my life, I was scared for my family and my loved ones.

As messed up as it sounds, this war initially felt very normal because, for Palestinians, wars have become normal. We have been witnessing a war-like situation for years now. But the scale at which it is happening now was completely unexpected.

This war has affected me personally because I did not expect it to go on for so long. Thank god, I have not lost someone dear to me, but we feel mentally and emotionally drained, because, frankly speaking, this war is very different from the previous rounds of violence, at least on the human level. Each day is getting more difficult. We no longer live in our house. We loved that house. My children grew up there.

Apart from working as a journalist, I help around in the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital sometimes because my wife is here. I see the hopeless faces of the doctors who are trying their best to treat different health conditions.

As a journalist, I find it very difficult to make these voices heard. That is the major goal at this time — to make the world hear. But Israel has blocked roads, cut off communication, and taken our food, water, medicines, and supplies. For me, while the situation was under control in the beginning, it has taken a 180-degree turn now, towards the worst.

Even before the war started, there was limited food and water. Now, the situation is different. There is neither food nor water. There has been no electricity for approximately over seventy days.

One wonders what this place will look like after the war ends. Questions arise. At this point, I imagine the post-war homeland to look like a garden. But as days go by, this garden is getting filled with more and more anxieties.

(As told to Anisha Reddy)

(This appeared in print as ‘We Didn't Expect The War To Go On For So Long’)