Correspondence with my Gazan friends during the 2014 crisis
September 2, 2014 by skip schiel
Ban al Ghussain, Islam Madhoun, and their son, from their Facebook page
After the Israeli assault on Gaza, yet another, probably the most damaging, with Palestinian deaths topping 2,100 and injuries 11,200, most of them civilian, more than 106,000 displaced in UN shelters and with host families, one half million children unable to begin the new school year, restricted electricity and severely threatened water supplies, and with 71 Israeli deaths, 66 of them soldiers, and Israel’s astronomical financial and political costs, after a cease-fire, I wrote some of my friends in or from Gaza. Knowing electricity is often limited to 3 hours daily, I’m even more appreciative for their replies (and for those from my Israeli friends, living in Sderot and Netif Ha’asara within one mile of Gaza and under attack, and another in Jaffa, threatened while protesting the violence):
Thank you very much for your loving wishes and mail … love you so much. I really hope to see you soon (Ban al Ghussain)
Thank you my friend, miss you. I hope everything going to fine after ceasefire, See u in Gaza closely (Islam Madhoun)
I hate the fact that we reunite only after a devastation hits Gaza. However, it’s always nice to hear from you. You are missing a lot in here my friend. Thus, you should come over as soon as you can. Meanwhile, Keep safe. (Hisham Mhanna)
Hisham with his father, 2012
Hi dude! I hope u r ok. we hope it will lead to a permanent solution. u are mostly welcome…..just tell me when u come to celebrate your coming. stay safe. (Muntaser Abu Kmeil)
From his Facebook page
Mr. Skip, Thanks a lot.. We trust Allah, everything will be okay in shaa Allah We will heal our pain . Thanks for sending me (Suhair Hajjaj)
Suhair’s secondary school in Shuheya
Thank you Skip for your lovely and compassionate support of Palestine. Actually, you are one of the people who made the Palestinian justice work more lively in New England Area and beyond. I hope our paths will cross again soon. (Ayman Nijim)
Here are two other articles offering perspectives, the first from Rana Alshami in Gaza:
Whatever was going on in Gaza for the past 51 days has finally ended. People can finally breathe, sleep, live! My family and I lived and experienced the worst of times, but we are still alive. We survived….
And from Alex Cane, a form of reality check:
The cease-fire that ended seven weeks of hell in Gaza is only two days old. But the countdown to the next round began as soon as the ink dried on the agreement between Israel and the Palestinian armed factions….
This is what I earlier wrote Gazan friends:
with you perhaps i celebrate the extended cease-fire. i’m sure you’re relieved that you can now return to a relatively safe location and situation. “relatively” is a tricky word. will the cease-fire lead to the end of the siege, reconstruction of gaza, and freedom and a just peace after so many years of suffering? i pray for all this and for you personally.
my most recent blog outlines what might happen, a fantasy which could become a world-shaking reality.
I hope to see you again sometime next year, inshallah.
Your enduring friend,