There are no words that can describe my feelings or the situation in Gaza. What is happening here is unimaginable. The war has been going on for more than 20 days now. I live with my family, my parents, siblings, nieces, and nephews all in one house. It is still intact. We still have a roof over our heads.
Mae is a pseudonym for a colleague whose name will not be published for security reasons. The name is known to the editorial staff. She is a colleague of ours.
The air raids are relentless, they happen both during the day and at night. We live in constant fear of the next attack, so we hardly sleep. If we have any respite, it is in the early hours of the morning. The ongoing lack of sleep is unbearable. We try to protect ourselves and stay together as best we can. We don’t have a bunker like everyone else in Gaza. The children don’t go to school because it's too dangerous. They don’t understand what is happening.
We try to make their lives as bearable as possible. But this is difficult without water and electricity. The generators for electricity stopped working a long time ago. There is no gasoline. Luckily, we can at least use solar energy to charge our cell phones. This makes it possible for us to talk to our friends and colleagues outside of Gaza and in Germany. Sometimes I don’t even want to answer the phone anymore.
My colleagues in Ramallah and Germany contact me regularly. I don’t like to talk about feelings. But I have to pull myself together and overcome the shock, because the people outside of Gaza should know what is happening to us. But to be honest, there are actually no words for the horror and the pain and for what we feel. Sometimes I feel like I’m in a nightmare and all I can hope for is that I might wake up. Gaza is being destroyed. We are being destroyed. Sometimes I think that Germany and the world have forgotten about us. I don’t know what to say...
Gaza is being destroyed. We are being destroyed.
The days are filled with trying to listen to the news and get the things we need to survive. But there is nothing left. At the moment, we are living off what we managed to gather up until 8 October. There is a lot of solidarity, and people are helping each other out. We share everything we have. But we have almost nothing left. If we do not receive aid, we will soon starve.
Everybody is having difficulties acquiring essential goods such as water, medication, and food. The healthcare system has practically collapsed, with new deaths and injuries occurring daily. The rescue services are unable to extract all the people from the rubble. Many neighbouring friends and families have suffered casualties. Medication is scarce everywhere, especially for chronically ill patients such as cancer patients. Diseases are spreading. There are too many people in too small a space. Because of overcrowding and a lack of water and sanitation facilities, we fear that epidemics will break out.
I have tried to leave Gaza twice. It was said that Egypt would open the large gate in the border fence. But the Rafah border crossing remained closed. Still, I hope to see you all again.
The text is based on several phone calls made on 27 October. Translated by Hunter Bolin for Gegensatz Translation Collective.