Hossam Madhoun’s message from Gaza December 2020
With Jamal Al Rozzi, Hossam is co-director of Theatre for Everybody in Gaza
Let’s look back at how Gaza was before Covid. As if life didn’t suck enough (forgive my language!), but let’s think it over!
Here we go:
2 million human beings trapped in a very tiny piece of land, called Gaza, treated as a hostile entity by all surrounding it; by the Israelis who find it very fortunate that Gaza is ruled by Hamas so they can bomb it whenever they want without being questioned; by the Egyptians who blame it for all their troubles in Sinai; by a sea polluted with shit and sewage!
With half of its population without jobs or any source of income, with a very poor health system, with water scarcity, with power outages most of the time, with hundreds of children begging in the streets, with suicides or attempts at suicide by hundreds of youth, and even children, every year, with a patriarchal society that believes that women are created to be servants for men in the kitchen and in bed, with a radical group controlling Gaza that believes that God chose them to have the sole truth and the ultimate righteousness to torture anyone who questions their rule, with a world that turns its back on our misery.
Covid 19 arrives. Welcome! Who cares? Another crisis hits Gaza. So what? We’re used to it! Really? How can you get used to crisis? Not because we went through devastating wars on us in 2008, in 2012, in 2014, not to mention some small wars from time to time, just for the Israelis to make sure that we don’t run out of fun.
We’re used to having curfews in Gaza, imposed by the Israeli army during first Intifada in 1987 – 1994, during all the wars: 2008 – 2012 – 2014. But today Covid 19 needs its share, so since 24th August we are in night-time curfew, and two weeks ago we (I mean the local authorities) added a curfew on Fridays and Saturdays, hoping to decrease the numbers of infections, yet the numbers do not decease.
And while infected people are increasing, jobs are decreasing, with cafés, restaurants, cafeterias and many other small workshops shut down, so thousands of people have lost their income.
But the local authorities are clever, they decrease the number of infected people by decreasing the numbers of daily tests! Isn’t it clever??!! But, they cannot decrease the number of daily deaths.
But you know, not everything is dark, the Friday to Saturday curfew increases socialisation with my neighbours. We meet in the basement of our building every night, we chat, drink coffee, some smoke Shisha (water pipe). It is fun but it does not last long as sadly one of our old neighbours who suffers from Alzheimer’s started to join us and kept telling his lonely story 50 times in 50 minutes.
Life is beautiful
With love from Gaza