Messages from Gaza Now November 2023 – Sounds

Hossam Madhoun in Gaza


Hossam in Gaza

Lay down on the mattress, complete darkness but for the slight light of a poor, small candle. Closing my eyes, hoping to fall asleep, it doesn’t work. 2 days and nights, not a single minute of sleep.

It is amazing how human senses become stronger and more sensitive when you lose one, like people who have no eyesight, their hearing becomes sharper. This is what happens to me while closing my eyes. 

During the day, lots of noise, lots of sounds, mixed sounds of people, chats, speaking, shouting, bombing, explosions, drones, airforce planes cutting the sky in pieces. All mixed so I can’t and don’t concentrate on any one sound. 

In the dark, in the supposedly complete silence, and while laying down with eyes closed, I started to focus more on the sounds surrounding me, the sound of a plastic sheet covering the window which has lost its glass, moving in the night breeze, the breathing and sighs of my mother beside me, my heart beats, the squeak of the field cockroaches, the sound of a bird back late to his nest, or flying out of his nest due to an explosive sound, a little baby crying at the nearby neighbour’s home and his mother cradling him, the swish of branches in the trees, moving slightly, a whoop of an owl coming from the distance, street dogs getting crazy and barking when bombs happen, sounds of some cats fighting. 

All those sounds mean life, mean hope, mean tomorrow will come despite anything. 

Other sounds are coming, over all other sounds, making all other sounds vanish, occupying the air and the atmosphere, invading the silence to say death is coming. The sound of the military drone, the only similar sound is the electric shaving machine doubled a hundred times, filling the space with its annoying noise that no one can ignore even for a moment. Every live creature is obliged to hear it, at all times. Humans, animals, birds, trees, even stones could crack out of the madness the sound causes. It reminds me only of one thing, the Middle Ages’ slow killing by torture. 

The passing military airplanes – F 15 – F 16 – F 32 –  F I don’t know what, cutting the sky like a knife goes through a piece of butter, carrying death wherever they go. 

The sound of the artillery shelling, boom. Each shell makes three sounds, the echo of the sound repeated:  boom, boom, boom, starts huge and echos out three times. 

The sound of the rocket strikes, very loud, very sharp. If you hear it, then you are alive. It is so fast that if it hits you, you won’t hear it. Anyone in Gaza who hears the rocket, immediately knows that it has hit some other people, leaving death and destruction behind it.  We all know that by experience; we learnt the hard way through several wars against Gaza.  

Sitting in the dark, trying to ignore the loud sounds of death and concentrate on the little  life sounds. Not easy, but this is my way to pass the night, hoping to overcome the insomnia for a few hours.