How will the children of Gaza heal?

How will the children of Gaza heal?

In Gaza, your life can be taken away in an instant.

You have no control. Death is everywhere.

The most terrifying thing is that you will not have time to express your opinion, because your name will already be included in the registers of those killed by the Israeli occupation.

More than 10,000 Palestinian children have been killed in just over 100 days of Israeli bombing. This represents around 100 children per day.

How many of their stories have been told in the United States and Europe?

For me, the most traumatic aspect of Israel’s genocidal violence is what I experienced with young children during this assault.

I have two younger siblings, one is 5 years old and the other is not yet 3 years old.

One recent day, as we were getting ready to get some food, my 5-year-old sister said to my mother, “Mom, I want some chips. I haven’t eaten it for a month and a half”.

My mother looked at me helplessly, then said, “Wejdan is going to the market to buy food. There aren’t any snacks or chips at the market, but I’ll tell her to bring some chips for you and your brother if she finds any.”
My little sister was overjoyed, clinging to this simple hope.

She left the room and I turned to my mother.

“You know very well that there are only a few food items left,” I said, “and that there are certainly no chips. “and there are definitely no chips.”

She looked at me again with that helpless expression. “And what can I say to him other than what I said? ” she replied.

I went to the market, full of the pain and misery of war and want. I found part of what my family was looking for, but I couldn’t find the rest.

Of course, I couldn’t find the chips my sister wanted. She cried when she found out I didn’t make it.

Deep impact

That evening, occupying forces turned night into day by launching a hail of flares. This sudden brightness was a stark reminder of the constant threat of violence.

Moments later, the sound of shelling erupted, shaking the floor and windows.

My little brother woke up screaming, his eyes wide with fear. He rushed to my mother, burying his head in his arms.

My little sister ran towards me, hands over her ears. She clung to me, her body trembling.
“I’m scared,” she whispered. “The sound of bombing is so terrifying.”

After the bombing stopped for a few minutes, my little sister asked me an innocent question as I tried to play with her to make her forget what had happened.

“Are planes and occupation bombing the stars?”

I looked at her, heartbroken, and said, “No, they don’t. But why, my dear?”

“Because I love the stars and I fear for them. I don’t want them to be killed.”

I put my arm around her and held her close. “I like them too. I promise they will be safe.”

I looked at the stars and knew that at least I was telling the truth. The stars are far away, beyond the reach of bombers.

They are a reminder of hope, even in the darkest times.

The next morning, the bombing resumed. I was pouring water for my little brother when I heard the bombing.

I immediately picked him up and held him close.

“Don’t be afraid, my love. We are all here with you.”

He responded in a simple, innocent voice, “I’m afraid of fire.”

My brother wanted to talk about the bombings, because he knows nothing about it, except that it was a bright light accompanied by a terrifying noise.

He reached for my phone, his eyes begging for distraction. I handed it to him, hoping the games would help him escape the terror.

My little sister also asked to sit with him and look at the phone.

We sat together, staring at the screen and trying to forget the fear and violence outside.

The children of Gaza will be scarred for life. We know this terror will have a profound impact.

How will children’s minds and hearts heal?

I don’t know the answer to this question. I don’t even know how I will heal or how my parents will heal.

After enduring so much fear and death, is such healing even possible?

Wajda Wajdy Abu Shammala is a writer, voiceover artist and translator.

Translation: AFPS

The author’s siblings huddle around a telephone. © Wejdan Wajdy Abu Shammala