Empty head, full heart – Messages from Gaza Now – October 2023 – January 2024

Empty head, full heart

My head is empty.  There is nothing in it, like a stone, closed, blocked, do not receive, do not send.  My heart is full, can’t take the pain anymore, can’t be moved anymore.  I am not going to talk about people I meet anymore, like my colleague, Shereen whom I meet today for the first time since October 5th.  I could not recognise her, very thin, very small, very dark face, the very best image of a broken human being.  I am not going to tell any more about how many times she had to evacuate, from Beach Camp to Nasser Street in Gaza,  from Nasser to Bureij Camp in the middle area, to Zawayda, to Khan Younis, to Rafah and with each displacement losing part of her family, losing part of her soul.

What am I doing?  I said I don’t want to talk about these things.  My head is empty and my heart is full, no more space for any sad stories.

I want to dream. Yes. I will dream.  I dream now. I am dreaming that I am having a nice meal, a big meal, a meal with no canned food, only fresh food, fresh chicken, and a steak, a very soft, juicy steak of meat. Beside it a big plate full of all types of fruit, bananas, apples, oranges, strawberries.  And the dessert is a big cup of ice cream, topped with a shiny, red cherry.  Yes, this is what I want.  

I don’t want to think about the dead around me.  I don’t want to know how many were killed today.  I don’t want to know that there is no more blood to spare at the Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis and that injured people are bleeding to death.  No, I don’t want to talk about people in Gaza City, more than 600,000 people are starving to death because the Israelis do not allow food aid to reach Gaza and the north. I don’t want to talk about people outside with no shelter, no food, no clothes, in the cold, under the rain.  I don’t want to talk about the children who suffer hunger, pain, fear, panic and no-one can assure them safety or secure them food.

I want to dream.  I dream now.  I am with my wife and my daughter driving on the sea road, having hot cups of good coffee, listening to music, recalling nice memories and laughing together, yes, together, myself, my wife, Abeer and my daughter, Salma, having fun, with no fear, no worries, just having a good time.

I am not going to talk about the hundreds of messages I receive every day from people I know and people I don’t know, asking for help, asking for a tent, or plastic sheets, or clothes for their children, or food, or any kind of life-saving items. I am not going to talk about my feelings when I receive these messages and I can’t meet 1% of these needs.

I want to dream, only dream, dream that I am waking up at 6.30 am in my bed, in my home, taking my dog for a walk and then come back, have a shower, have my morning coffee, getting dressed and going to my job.  Nothing more.  This all I dream about.