In the mornings that we are lucky enough to wake up after another night of Israel’s bombardment, we look at one another as if to make sure we are there.
Then, we start our grim tally: Who lost a friend? Who lost their family? Who lost their home?
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We reminisce about the beautiful places we’ve been in the Gaza Strip, where the sand meets the foaming sea. We replay our memories, trying to hold on to them in hopes that one day we will live them again.
Is there enough for today?
In the middle of the terror and wondering if we will survive, a seemingly ridiculous question presents itself.
As we huddle in the dark, terrified of the death raining down around us, an intrusive gnawing asks us: Even if the bombs don’t get us, how do we survive if we run out of food?
No one had planned to stock up before this started. I can’t remember, maybe we had planned to go to the market later in the week.
In all cases, we thought we had enough before the war began.
Now, every morning, we check our food stores, the refrigerator.
Is there enough food for the day? For tomorrow?
When the meat is cooked, my mother said hopes it will not have spoiled during the 30-hour power outages.
Maybe she’s used to the good old days when outages were only eight hours. In all cases, her wishful thinking doesn’t make it so. After so long without power, everything has spoiled.
Our neighbourhood is a quiet one – there are no markets or bakeries near us where we can buy what we need day to day.
What food there is in the small grocery shops has soared in price because everyone is running out of everything.
Anyway, the thought of venturing out to get food, even if it’s just 10 minutes, is terrifying.
The thought of losing a family member because they went out for something like that is unbearable.
It’s not like we have much of an appetite; the pain all around us every day, the news of friends and colleagues killed, and the endless explosions don’t allow us to have much of one.
But we have to keep ourselves alive. We don’t want to die of hunger either.
No lights, no phones, no water
The nearby hospital has power, so far. So when we’re desperate, we go there to charge our phones, which we use as little as possible to conserve their battery life.
But when the house shakes and an explosion sounds nearby, we need to know what is happening. Who was hurt? Did anyone die?
Yes, everything in our lives seems to depend on electricity, but more important than us are the hospitals themselves.
What worries me is what will happen to the hospital when Gaza’s electricity is completely cut off. I worry about how long the critical patients, who rely on life support systems, will survive without electricity.
The worry my father voices every day, though, is more tied to the immediate survival of his family: Water.
He reminds us again and again to use water sparingly, only what we absolutely need when we absolutely need it.
See, the water doesn’t run if there’s no electricity, so we can go for days without getting any. The desalination plants seem to have run dry.
I almost don’t know which shortage to worry about the most, when really all I care about is whether my family and I will make it out of this alive, if my friends and loved ones will be OK.
So the days when the mobile phone networks go down are the worst. For hours – heart-stoppingly panicked hours – we can’t reach out to anyone to make sure they’re alive, to see if that terrible boom was over their neighbourhoods.
Is that Israel’s goal? To isolate Gaza from the world so no one can see the crimes being committed here?