Now is not the time for despair, but for solidarity with Gaza

Now is not the time for despair, but for solidarity with Gaza

By Swee Chai Ang

Since October 7, every day has been a new day of assassinations by Israel of Palestinians in Gaza. Water and electricity cut off, food and medicine denied, all Gaza receives day and night is more bombs and devastation.

Twenty-two hospitals in northern Gaza were ordered to evacuate thousands of seriously injured patients or face bombardment from land, air and sea, leaving Al-Ahli hospital already in the crosshairs of attackers.

They may have led the hospital administration to think that it had already had its share of Israeli persecution.

News of the bombing of Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza plunged many of us into a state of paralyzing numbness.

As the death toll rose, the mainstream media tried to convince us that the attack was self-inflicted by the Palestinians, that it was a missile aimed at Israel gone wrong. Many of my friends chose to believe this.

This lie aggravates my pain and anguish, because no matter who threw the bomb or where it came from, the urgency is to prevent other hospitals from suffering the same fate.

I am devastated, because Al-Ahli is the only Christian-founded hospital in the Gaza Strip and is loved by everyone, Christians and Muslims. It was built by the Church Mission Society around 1900.

I worked and lived at the hospital in 1988-1989, after responding to a request from the Bishop of Jerusalem to care for the wounded from the first Intifada. I then replied to the bishop that I would take care of them and protect them.

This is what I did until the Israeli occupation authorities banned me from entering Gaza.

When the bomb hit, many people took refuge in Al-Ahli, a Christian hospital. There was no other safe place, and there is also a precious water fountain in the hospital courtyard where one can drink, which is a blessing with the current lack of fresh water in Gaza.

The bomb arrived without warning, targeting the center of the courtyard where hundreds of people had taken refuge. They were killed. Hundreds of bodies lay in the hospital courtyard, including many children. It was not a fake news.

Although I am not allowed to enter occupied Palestine, the people and my colleagues who work so hard despite desperate shortages are still in my heart as I am in theirs. Their smiles and the love they have for their patients come back to me again and again as I write this through my own tears.

I wish I could be with them at this terrible time. Professor Ghassan Abu Sitta is currently working there to help the injured, but I know he must be completely exhausted.

Please pray for those who were killed and injured. Console the bereaved and stand in solidarity with the people of Gaza.

Do not despair, because this is the time when we must all stand firm and speak out to protect Gaza and its people!

– Middle East Monitor – Translation: Chronicle of Palestine