Gaza City – Our peaceful Gaza morning was abruptly shattered by relentless streaks of fire and thunderous explosions, enveloping more than 2.3 million residents in a cloud of distress and bewilderment.
As the sound of hovering warplanes grew louder, my anxious family and I sought refuge, huddled together in a dimly lit room, hoping – foolishly perhaps – that it was the safest place in our home.
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Beside me, my wife, wide-eyed and trembling, held onto my side as we descended the stairs to the room. She repeatedly reassured us that we were safe but the tremor in her voice betrayed the anxiety gripping her.
Even as I tried to convey a sense of hope, I couldn’t ignore the fear etched on my family’s faces and the tangible vulnerability that hung in the air. My mother, a woman whose wrinkles bore witness to a lifetime of battles with Israel, clung to my two-year-old son, her only grandchild, attempting to shield him from the deafening roar outside. Her whispered words of comfort were a gentle effort to drown out the noise of F-16s soaring overhead.
In that room, we all gathered – my parents, wife, son and sister. Our voices, once filled with morning laughter and curiosity, now spoke in hushed tones with suppressed tears and silent prayers.
Beyond our shelter, the news brought haunting images of destruction, with residential buildings crumbling like ancient ruins and clouds of dust and smoke choking the air. Each explosion sent tremors through the ground beneath us, while the cries of people in the streets and the roar of fighter jets above amplified our collective concern.
In that surreal moment, I clung to the belief that my voice was not only my lifeline but also a connection to the world that had often turned a deaf ear to our struggle. As a journalist and writer who miraculously survived five destructive wars with Israel, I know my voice is a link to a world that can, at least, help amplify our calls for safety.
Throughout the day, every couple of hours, we exchanged phone calls, reaching out to loved ones across the city. Neighbours checked on one another and even strangers shared words of solidarity and encouragement. As I write this, I continue to stay strong, even though I am deeply worried inside that we could be a target at any moment. Anytime.
But beneath this display of courage, after enduring a day of relentless confrontations, we can’t deny the toll of psychological exhaustion that has settled in. Fear still lingers in the eyes of those who have witnessed the early hours of the conflict and the echoes of explosions haunt our hearts.
Every moment is now a battle against grief and the weight of uncertainty presses heavily upon us.
Yet, in Gaza, unity and resilience have become the people’s only solace. Amid the fear and destruction, voices of hope and determination whispered as the night unfolded. It is a testament to the unwavering spirit of Palestinians – who are standing together across the occupied territories, united against the occupier attacks.