Hossam Madhoun in Gaza
20th October 2023
I’m walking towards the market. Abeer’s cousin lives there and has internet access.
Walking – no fuel anymore in my car, and, of course, no fuel at all in the gas stations
as quantities entering Gaza from Israel (like all the goods from Israel) are limited and never enough for more than just one week. It’s part of the blockade and collective punishment against Gaza.
Walking and trying to find any vehicle to give us a ride.
After 10 minutes walking, a big van stopped and took us with him. He was a
gentle man. In the van there was a woman sitting in the back seat, she was also being provided a ride by the van owner.
About 100 metres from the market, near a shelter-school in a narrow side street leading to the main road where the market is – a big explosion behind us. A huge black smoke cloud rises to the sky. The van trembles, dust fills the car. The driver stops, many people start to run out of the school, As we leave the car, another big explosion in front of us, much closer, same wave of smoke and fire, people screaming, shouting, crying, running…I don’t know where to go, confused…
Shall I go back? Shall I continue? Maybe the market would be safer, as thousands of people are in the street there. Safety??!!!!
Immediately another explosion to the west side, and much closer to us, rubble above us, many people fall on the ground, some people injured by the flying rubble. I was beside the wall of the school. I could not breathe. Nizar, Abeer’s cousin, is selling tomato and onion in the market, could not think, ran like hell toward where he is located, absolutely stupid move, absolutely not rational. Who is rational in this mad war? Who is rational in this slaughter house, yes, it is a slaughter house. The Israeli butchers are using every single minute to slaughter like sheep as many Palestinians as possible, before the world wakes up.
The bombing was on a side street off the main market street, rubble, sand, mud, broken glass everywhere. The dust cloud was still in the sky, making the noon-time light look like sunset, yes, it is a sunset, no light in our life.
Arriving at Nizar’s spot, all his merchandise full of dust and sand, Nizar as well. He is OK, he has a small cut on his hand, never mind, he is alive.
I thought to call Abeer, so she won’t worry for us. She was OK, She didn’t think these bombings were near us. We hear bombing every minute. We have no access to news, we can’t know what is happening or where the bombing is taking place, there is no way. That’s why Abeer heard the bombing and continued whatever she was doing, as usual.
I decided not to tell her what happened. And went back home walking.
Walking is not the same as driving. While driving I see on both sides of the road
destroyed houses, many destroyed houses and, every day, newly destroyed houses.
While walking it’s different, I see these houses much more closely, I see more details than I can see while driving, I see how buildings of 3 or 4 floors are crushed on top each other, ceilings attached to the ceilings below, with people’s furniture and belongings spread over the street, some houses are cut in half, Could see half a bed, part of a kitchen, a bathroom with private clothes all around, books, school bags torn and full of dust.
The majority of these houses were bombed full of residents, many were brought out dead, maybe many still are dead under the rubble as there are no machines to remove it and reveal what is beneath. What a destiny, what a way to leave this unjust world!
Finally at home after 25 minutes walking, did not buy anything today from the market, we will manage with what we have at home for today.
Ending this episode with some good news from my daughter, Salma, in Lebanon, where she is studying for her Masters degree, the university granted her a full tuition scholarship.