As I Walk on Gaza’s Streets
Take a walk along one of Gaza’s streets. Gaze into the eyes of its people. Try to guess what they are dreaming about. Gaza is a place full of dreamers, but too often it’s also a grave for their dreams.
As I walk in the street, I see an old man sitting by the entrance of his door looking at the movement of the sun in the sky. From the expression of his face, I imagine that he is thinking he might be dead by the next day without having another chance to see his own land—now in the land called Israel and “forbidden territory”. I see fathers seeking to earn some money to take care of their children. I see mothers carrying their babies, looking at them in sorrow, wondering whether it would have been better not to bring them to this vile world!
I see many Palestinian youth with lost futures. Some may think it is funny how enormous the number of youths is who are crowded into the cafés smoking shisha. However, it’s not surprising. There are many graduates among them who have lost hope of finding a job. Others got frustrated of getting work in the profession in which they have trained, so they are laboring as mechanics, builders or they applied for the government to work as policemen—places where they shouldn’t be!
Many 18-year-old youth work hard to earn good grades in high school so they can qualify for a scholarship for advanced education outside of Gaza, only to find the border closed to them crashing their dreams. It’s as if there is a sign at the reading, “NO, WE WON’T LET YOUR DREAMS TAKE YOU FAR AWAY.” No wonder that so many youth lose their motivation to better themselves. the siege is surrounding them in addition to many others who got their degrees and sitting hopeless, jobless, and useless. No progress, no ambition, no country.
As I walk in the Gaza streets, I see many children with bare feet, dirty clothes and pale faces carrying sweets and chasing cars to beg taxi drivers and passengers to buy some! I look at them with anger, blaming the circumstances that have led them to this early heavy responsibility. What has forced those children to working while they should be at school?! I wonder if there are similar scenes in the streets of Israel. Many questions preoccupy my mind but I still get no answers; the international community is still speechless and does nothing!
I see many fatherless children shouldering many responsibilities, too early when they should be playing games and enjoying their childhood like other children around the world! Mahmood Al-Samouni is the eldest son in his family. At the beginning of 2009, while many people were celebrating the New Year, he was crying so terribly because since that moment he must accept to continue living with his father and his youngest brother absent in his life and just keep wishing that he would see them each night in his dreams! I accompany Adie Mormech, an English activist, to help teach him and others of Al-Samouni family—which lost 30 members in the Israeli invasion. We hope that they will someday be able to make their voice heard by learning English. I heard Mahmood once say that “I want to grow older more quickly so I can handle some of the responsibilities that mum takes.” Can anyone imagine how hard it is for an 13-year-old child to wish for the wheels of life to move faster so he can replace his father and be the man of the family?
You might find it strange that children here are not really children. Gazan children become mature at very early age. Children here wait for Eid so that they can collect money from relatives to buy a fake gun, so they can play a game called “Arabs and Israelis.” I remember when I played this game with my neighbors in the evenings. It’s funny that we had a rule that “the one who plays the Israeli soldiers should die.” However, we realized that the roles were inverted in reality, the soldiers don’t die but kill.
As I walk in the Gaza’s street, I see a mountain of sad scenes; which can only be banished once Palestine is free. But, I will never give up hope that I will someday walk in the Gaza streets and look in the people’s eyes, seeing them shining from happiness, not glistening with tears.
Beautifully written. Your words and your portraits inspire those of us with love in our hearts to do all that we can to ensure a brighter future for everyone. Thank you for sharing something so personal with me.
January 11, 2011 at 1:28 am
my dearest friend shahd! This is really a great piece of writing! But I am optimistic! I know everything has a reason! And everything falls under the universal plan! I know that oppressors will have the miserable end one day! And I am waiting for it to come! Darkness would pass soon and I hope to see you laugh in a free Palestine!
January 11, 2011 at 8:47 am
I really love your painting and your writing it is so amazing …. I'm very proud of you Palestine need girls like you…. wenshalla Palestine will be free soon.
April 28, 2011 at 7:28 pm
Have you had an exhibition of your drawings and writings in Australia? If you haven’t yet I would like to try to arrange one.
February 4, 2012 at 10:47 pm
Great Idea! Let’s talk abut it! I would love that!
February 5, 2012 at 12:39 am
I guess you haven’t then :)
Let me know item numbers (include the poems et al that go with them) sizes and any other information you think would be relevant. It would also be useful to let me know if you have any thoughts on how you would like them presented.
I am not an art person here so it may take me a little while to make the proper enquiries and establish the best contacts. I will add that the Israelis have only a small foothold here but the mainstream press is essentially american (read Israeli) owned.
February 5, 2012 at 3:53 am
It would be awesome if you can do that. If I can present them myself and talk on behalf of Palestinians, that would be GREAT! All your efforts are appreciated dear. Thanks you.
February 7, 2012 at 4:48 pm
Just remember that I am NOT an arts person so I am dabbling in the dark at the moment and cannot promise anything but I will try my best. I do believe that your message needs to escape from the closed field it is in at the moment and try to penetrate the mainstream. People like myself have to search to find this information eg your work and words, it needs to be available and ‘in your face’ to the rest of society.
February 7, 2012 at 11:04 pm
I admire you even for the way you think. It doesn’t matter if you succeeded or not :) Good luck with finding this information ;)
February 8, 2012 at 2:21 am