Bad Son – Messages from Gaza Now – December 2023

Bad son

Yes, my mother is angry at me, and she is right, she should be, I am a bad son.

I came back from work today and she was crying. Yes, my 83 year old, bed-ridden mother was crying. At first she refused to say why, she kept saying: ‘I want to go back home. Bring me back to my home.’

I explained to her many times that this had become impossible since we left our home in Gaza City on October 12th and came here to Nuseirat. I told her many times that the Israeli army isolated Gaza City and the north by cutting off the road at Netzarim Junction, the junction between North Gaza and the middle area of Gaza Strip.

She doesn’t believe me. She says Netzarim is in Jabaliya, it has nothing to do with Gaza City. Whatever I say makes her more angry and she does not believe me. She doesn’t know that maybe reaching the moon is easier than reaching Gaza City without being shot by a sniper or killed by shelling or a bomb strike.

I gave up trying to convince her. I sat on my mattress in front of her bed and listened to her complaints. 

“You are not the same son I used to have, since we came here you prevented me from seeing my daughters, sons and grandsons. At home they would pass by every day, I was able to see them every day. Now I see no one, I call no one. You deprived me of everything, you don’t bring me coffee or sweets, candies or even fruit, not any kind of fruit. You used to bring me bananas, peaches, dates, apples, strawberries, many fruits, now you bring me nothing. You claim it it the Israelis preventing it from reaching Gaza. How come? How do you want me to believe you? 

When Aroki comes I will tell him how you have changed. He used to bring me namoura (eastern sweets). How long has it been since you got me some? You know I like it. It’s your friend, Aroki, who remembers and when he visits, he always brings me 2kg not 1. Wait until he comes back. I will tell him how you changed. How you became bad. This can’t be. You are not the son you used to be.”

How can I blame my mother? I don’t. I understand that this can’t be easy to believe. How could any sane person believe that we can’t reach our home which is only 9km from here? How?

How could it be that I can’t find coffee in the market? How?

How could it be that there are no candies, sweets, fruits in the market? How?

I don’t blame my mother, I blame myself for being unable to fly and cross all the borders and get to a place where I can find fruit, chocolates, candies, coffee and all that my mother wishes for.

I blame myself for not having the ability to reach Khan Younis or Deir El Balah or Rafah to bring my brothers and sisters so my mother can see them.

I blame myself for not having a magic wand so I can fix the communication network with a magic touch.

Sorry, mother. Please forgive me for being a bad son.