Posts Tagged ‘war’


Suheir Hammad: Gaza

July 26, 2010

Update from Sinai….

April 14, 2010

So I have been on my visa-trip in Sinai for the past few days. Im staying at a bedouin camp called Sababa in Tarabeen, a village near Nuweiba. I highly recommend it…

The camp is right on the beach, and we sleep in little huts with just the necessities–a mosquito net, mattress and covers, and now electricity. There are hammocks and other seating areas right on the edge of the red sea and a restaurant that makes amazing Egyptian food.

So I have been away from all the news and checkpoints and day to day drama of life in Palestine. Today, I briefly scanned the news and saw an article about a warning the Israeli government issued about Sinai–they said they had concrete evidence of a terrorist plan to kidnap Israelis on vacation here.

I highly doubt that any terrorist plots are in the works here…last week there were tens of thousands of Israelis here for passover vacations, so if it didn’t happen then, I dont think it will now. But they have “evidence”.

I told my friend from Ramallah who’s travelling with me and he said that it was probably just the Israeli government’s way of getting all the Israelis back into the country before they start a new military operation somewhere. There are two possibilities for a new Israeli war–Gaza or Lebanon (as a precursor to war with Iran).

The fact that Egypt closed the Rafah border crossing with Gaza this morning along with the Israeli government’s warning indicates that it could be Gaza–in retaliation for rocket attacks and the 2 Israeli soldiers who were killed a week or two ago in a skirmish on the Gazan border.

Time will tell…


Seven Days from a Gaza Diary…Part 1

January 16, 2010

In December 2008 and January 2009, Khulood Ghanem, a 27 years old girl, kept a diary and described the ordeal in Gaza during the Israeli military assault. The diary was adapted by Edward Mast into a performance for three voices entitled Seven days from a Gaza Diary. Ed interspersed segments of the diary with excerpts from various human rights organisations that “corroborate” or otherwise relate to the diarist’s entries. Palestine Monitor has decided to publish Khulood’s diary into episodes.


a performance for three voices adapted by Edward Mast from the diary of Khulood Ghanem, Gaza, 2008-9


from Amnesty International, July 2 2009:

On 27 December 2008, without warning, Israeli forces began a devastating bombing campaign on the Gaza Strip codenamed Operation “Cast Lead”. Its stated aim was to end rocket attacks into Israel by armed groups affiliated with Hamas and other Palestinian factions. By 18 January 2009, some 1,400 Palestinians had been killed, including some 300 children and hundreds of other unarmed civilians, and large areas of Gaza had been razed to the ground.

VOICE 2: from the diary of 27-year-old Khulood Ghanem in Gaza

The 27th of December

First day of the war.

I finished my work in Khan Younis at 10 o’clock, and rode a car to Gaza City. I reached there at 11. I decided to drink some coffee with my friend who was working in a company beside the legislative council and the academy for police. I stayed there till 11:30, I decided to leave, my friend told me to stay, it’s early, I stayed for 15 minutes. At 11:45 I was on my way walking in the street.

I heard the first rocket, the second and the third, many quick attacks, one after one, at this moment I could see nothing, all I remember was the biggest explosion I have ever seen. I started to run away, but to where? I saw the military planes in the sky at a very low level. I was scared and started to lose consciousness. All I was thinking was how to reach a safe place. The sound of bombs and explosions was horrible, the ground was moving up and down, I said, it is not a joke, it is a real, the war has started.

During this short time all roads have been closed, all streets have been overcrowded by the ambulances and emergency cars. I stopped beside a building looking at the sky, watching the military planes. At that moment I lost my ability to move or even to think. People, girls and children, all were shouting, running every where, it was the time for students to leave their school, I thought that if they started to attack haphazardly they will make a catastrophe. I reached Al Shefa hospital.

The roads have been closed to ease the movement of the ambulances. I decided to walk in another direction to reach any station to ride a car to the south. I walked a lot till I felt sick, the attacks increased and all streets started to be empty from people except the emergency and ambulance cars. I was worried about my family, sisters, brothers, friends, I tried to phone every one I knew to assure that all are safe but the attacks destroyed the telecommunication net.

My journey to Khan Younis took 3 hours. It was more safe to avoid the main street because most of the police stations that have been attacked were located at the main street. Finally I reached home. All my family were sitting glaring at the screen of the TV, shocked, pale, yellow and horrible faces, sitting like idols. I took a place beside them. The first scene was the police academy.

The number of martyrs was big, about 180 in one place, the scene was horrible, really can’t be described, blood in every place, severed parts, heads, hands, legs and arms, couldn’t be described. I spent my whole day sitting on a chair in front of the TV. I did not expect one day that I will face such catastrophe, hour after hour, number of martyrs increased and increased.

At 8:30 this night I had a call from my sister who lived in Gaza city. She was walking beside the fence of that school, she saw the heads of young children, bags colored with their blood. One child with his blue shirt, she taught him once before, he was thrown on the ground, bleeding from all parts with no legs, he was shouting and raising his hands, but no one could help.

She started to scream, what should we do? I kept silence and started to cry loudly, the vision was so hard to imagine. She started to lose her breath. I told her that is enough, please stop talking, I can’t tolerate. I closed my mobile and took my diary and sat in the living room.


from the Report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, September 15 2009:

The timing of the first Israeli attack, at 11:30 am on a week day, when children were returning from school and the streets of Gaza were crowded with people going about their daily business, appears to have been calculated to create the greatest disruption and widespread panic among the civilian population.

The treatment of many civilians detained or even killed while trying to surrender is one manifestation of the way in which the effective rules of engagement, standard operating procedures and instructions to the troops on the ground appear to have been framed in order to create an environment in which due regard for civilian lives and basic human dignity was replaced with the disregard for basic international humanitarian law and human rights norms.


That night was the longest I’ve ever seen, the sound of attacks, rockets from sky, the borders and the sea. That night we decided to sleep in one room, so we chose our room in a far corner in the house. How silly we were, when I remember that I laugh because rockets did not make a choice. So we prepared the place.

We were 5: me, my sis, my brother, and my parents, so I arranged the situation to sleep with my mother on my small bed, my father will sleep on another bed, Mona my sis will stay on her bed, and finally my brother took a place on the ground. The first night was dark cause they attacked the electricity station by 4 rockets. And we used to stay in the dark before, so the situation was not new; the new thing was how to close your eyes under the horrible sound of the army planes in the sky, under the bombs every minute and attacks. I started to pray to god.

The sound of bombing increased and got nearer and nearer. My father told us that we have one god and it is one death either by rocket, by car, by gun, there is no difference and you have to die with your dignity and get rid of your fear. The night was so cold, but we opened all doors and windows to avoid damage from them if we were attacked. I slept that night with a coat beside a cold wall, and did not sleep till dawn. I was afraid but not from death.

I was afraid to lose all my family and to be saved from death. So I prayed to my god to be the first not the last. In the late night, I felt that I should go to the toilet but I was so afraid to reach the toilet and thought that maybe in the moment I will be there, they will attack the house, so I decided not to go. I suffered a lot in my bed.

In addition to my discomfort, I was next to my mother and didn’t move left or right cause the space wasn’t wide enough for 2 persons. I waited and waited listening to the small radio all that night. The number of deaths was increasing. I called my dad but he was sleepy. I called him again, he answered me: “what is wrong?” I told him “stay awake with me, don’t sleep, I can’t close my eyes.” He told me “don’t say that, god is greater and stronger than Israel so you have to sleep and calm down.”

But I didn’t, I waited till I saw the light from the window. I started to feel better cause night is full of fear. At 6 o’clock, I went to the toilet., We prayed our usual prayers, my mother went to her room, left the bed for me. I decided to sleep 2 hours, I was so tired. I slept half hour and then waked up again when I heard a strong attack in Khan Younis. It was the good morning greeting.


Note on Seven Days from a Gaza Diary

This performance piece for three voices is adapted from an actual diary kept during the Israeli assault on Gaza 2008-9. The diary was written in Arabic and the diarist herself, Khulood Ghanem, translated the first seven days into rough but clear English. This adaptation retains many non-grammatical usages common to Palestinians speaking English as a second or third language, though correcting and clarifying when necessary. Somewhat less than half the original diary text for those seven days has been used.

Khulood Ghanem was trained as an architect and now works for a women’s program at an international agency in Gaza. In March 2009, Khulood volunteered to help with translation for a CodePink Women for Peace delegation that managed to get into Gaza for International Women’s Day. Two of the delegates — Tacoma WA resident Linda Frank and Canadian-Israeli Sandra Ruch — learned of the existence of Khulood’s diary, and they asked Khulood for permission to read the diary and to make it public. After receiving translated sections, Linda Frank brought playwright Edward Mast into the process to adapt the text for performance.

More questions or information:

Linda Frank – Edward Mast –