It has been almost 3 weeks since I left the Gaza Strip, after spending 1 year and a half and surviving the deadliest war the area has ever witnessed. The Gaza Strip, a Palestinian territory with an area of 360km2, located on the Mediterranean Sea, a completely isolated territory. It is a place where my family and friends are still living; a place where people are not struggling for a state but for freedom, libration and equality. In Gaza People seek living a normal life, they dream of having access to clean water, electricity, freedom of movement, medical care, and education. Yes, all of these basic needs are missing in that place. I come from a place that has been suffering for decades, where people have been imprisoned as long as I can remember… No words can describe what I have seen during my stay in Gaza. I cannot explain the pain, sadness and frustration I saw on the faces of the people there. Yet, I can’t just not talk about it and not tell the world about the injustice over there.
The Strip has been under an extreme Israeli blockade for the past 8 years. A human being cannot accept to witness injustice and remain silent…I can never enjoy my life and live it up to the fullest, knowing that my people are not enjoying what I enjoy, and seeing the sadness and hopelessness in the eyes of the children there.. I have an 11 years old brother who is growing up in that place, and it is so hard to accept this fact, knowing how sad and unsafe, unstable and with no promising future that place is. Yes, it hurts to see how unfair and unjust our world is.
Here I am now living in Washington DC, one of the most developed cities in the world, while my family and friends are still living in Gaza, one of the most damaged, most populated and poorest cities in the world. The 8 years of blockade have taken the Gaza Strip some 20 years behind, with no proper infrastructure to facilitate people’s daily activities, no developmental projects that could enhance the stability of the community, and no proper education systems that could help build a productive and ambitious young generation. These are true facts about a very condense place with a population of almost 2 million people. The percentage of individuals aged (0-14 years) constitutes 43% of this population. Almost 80% of them are refugees, and I am one of them. 51% of the population is unemployed, and almost 70% of them are under poverty line. These are some shocking facts that many of us are unaware of, or cannot even understand what they mean.
It is sad to see that what have been happening in Palestine for decades, joined by Syria in recent years, have become a normal and/or a used thing to hear of or see on television, to the point where people don’t care anymore. The value of human life has become so cheap, to the point where hearing about the death of 100 or 200 innocent people in the Middle East is no longer a big deal. THIS IS NOT OK! Injustice must be stopped. It is sad to realize that the time of courageous, honest and dedicated leaders, who devoted their lives fighting for peace, equality, and justice, leaders such as: Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, and others, are unmatched in our world today.
Money and fame have corrupted our souls. Power and authority have corrupted our systems. And our personal interests have killed in us the incentive to do good, to be just and to speak loud against the wrong. Maybe now the Palestinians and the Syrians are the ones paying the price, but soon, if this continues, the rest of the world will suffer too, if not already suffering. The escalation in the Middle East won’t be confined to that region for ever, and it will reach elsewhere, if not contained and treated equitably. You may not see this happening during your time, but it may happen during the time of your children, or grand children.