RAMALLAH, November 17 (JMCC) - Contributor Lara Aburamadan writes poignantly in the New York Times
of life in Gaza under the thunder of war:
In the last 48 hours, my mother and I have kept vigil by my siblings’ side — my twin, an adolescent brother and a sister within earshot of her high school valediction. We sit together, my mother and I, in an inner room without a view, watching the furrowed brows of my brother and two sisters straining to sleep.
And all the while, we hear bombs. Bombs that bear autumn’s scent and winter’s chill. Bombs that batter. Bombs that kill. I still have waking nightmares of the bombs that tore through our sky nearly four years ago, when a classmate, Maha, lost her mother in an Israeli strike. And a childhood friend, Hanan, who saw her mother’s leg severed under the rubble from another strike.
As I contemplate my own mother’s tired eyes, I wonder: What happens to those who lose a child? And will I ever see my own? So far, in the war that began on Wednesday, only a handful of children and teenagers have died. Hiba was 19, Omar a month shy of his first year on the planet. (Omar’s picture, I have since seen, made the rounds on Facebook. But he himself was wound in white and faceless, a corpse cradled by his wailing father.) As for Ranana, she made it to 5 before something very big and very loud fell from the sky, ending her time here. I don’t know her either. But then again, I do.
Gaza, after all, is a very small place. Pick a point, any point, along its 25-mile coastline, and you’re seven or so miles — never more — from the other side. The other side is where my grandparents were born, in a village that has since become someone else’s country, off limits to me. You call it Israel. I call it the place where the bombs come from. One thundered to earth just now, as I was writing this.
I hear there are children there — like Hiba, Omar, Ranana — who might appreciate the simple textures of a day spent outside, of a sky that beckons and does not bellow. I wonder: would these children trade places with me now? No, I would not wish that upon them. Better yet, let us take a trip together, to some other shore, where there is not a single pockmark — not one.