‘There Is No Survivor In Gaza, We Are Dying And Everyone Is Waiting For Their Turn’: Palestinian Man On Life Amid Israel’s War

The day starts with running for shelter and then running from room to room in the hope that the next room would be safer, only to realise nowhere in Gaza is safe as Israeli planes bomb the Earth underneath, writes Tamer Najim.

Palestinians converge for a free meal in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Thursday, Dec. 21, 2023

Where shall we go? We are tired. Our lives have turned upside down. From the minute we wake up, we start to run. When the night befalls, it turns to fear and terror. We run during the day for a loaf of bread, a litre of water, and a bite to eat. We run from place to place, thinking perhaps we would be safe, but there is unfortunately no safe place in Gaza. Wherever we run, we are in danger and are bombarded — every place and every minute of the day. 

When the night comes and we are all sitting next to each other, we hug each other and lie to one another to forget the fear in our hearts. We keep moving from room to room thinking that this room would be safer than the other until we end up hiding under the staircase thinking it is the safest place! Do you see how our days are? Running and running in fear and terror.   

Every day is the same and anyone who can escape thinks he is a survivor.  Sadly, no one is a survivor. Every home has grief. Every memory that once existed has been erased.   

I don’t know what this is for and where the world is for us. Are our lives that cheap, sir? Consider us, as you said, animals! Where are the animal’s rights from what is happening to us? 

I don’t know what tomorrow is hiding, but what I’m sure of is that we are dying, but each one is waiting for their turn. Until our turn comes, we must suffer and die a million times. If this is the end of the story, then kill us all — we are basically dead!   

We have neither lived the past nor the present or the future. We have not tasted anything in life. It was all black amidst the darkness with no taste or colour.  

We always pay the bill. We know why. Because we are fragile. I will not forgive God is mighty. 

Now the winter season has started. Do you know what does that mean? 

Thirty of us are living in one tent. Unfortunately, every two people are on a mattress, stuck next to each other, head to toe. When the rain falls, the tent turns into a pool inside — may God let it not happen to any of you! We find ourselves in the middle of the water speechless. People start to cry, some people start to pray, and others try to fix the tent. What a miserable and sad situation!  

Do you know we wake up from our sleep and walk in the streets like ghosts, like a face that saw a snake? Everyone in Gaza is in a state of shock. We do not know what’s really going on. What is gooing on? Are we having a dream or is this a Candid Camera? I hope it is a dream or even a nightmare — as long as we wake up and nothing has happened for real. 

If I were martyred, then I would not have been martyred in sacrifice for anything or for the sake of anyone. I died oppressed with many unachieved dreams. I died while I was still longing for life. 

(By arrangement with Ashtar Theatre, Gaza)