Generating a fearless and humanising narrative on Palestine!

Living The Nightmare

I went into a very deep sleep out of my control. Silence was spread everywhere. It was as if I was choking in my dreams, there was smoke so thick and stifling. I wasn’t sure if it was real or merely a dream. Suddenly I started coughing, I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t open my eyes, I still hadn’t realized what had just happened. Then I tried to pull myself together. I checked if I was ok; I was quite ok. I still couldn’t see, I couldn’t feel my body. Suddenly my hand touched something and then I screamed. Oh God, that was Ahmad, my four-year-old son, on my lap bleeding. I screamed with the loudest voice I could, “Please, help, please rescue my son.” He was bleeding a lot but nobody answered. People around were either dead or unconscious.

“Oh my other seven kids, where are they?” I said. I put Ahmad on the floor and went to search for them. I could barely see for the smoke. I found Ansam, my 2-week-old girl, she was crying with a throttled voice struggling to get out of her throat. I held her to my chest and continued searching for the other six who were not so far away. I was almost epileptic, crying, lots of bodies on the floor. Then I saw four of my sons in the corner looking silently and fearfully at one boy and girl lying face down on the floor. I stood for a while shocked in such fear that the sensations going through me were true, but then I thought that I should move quickly. Slowly and carefully I turned their bodies to the back. Yes, my feeling was right, that was my 8-year-old girl, Amal, and my 7-year-old son, Abdallah.

Amal was bleeding from her nose, ear, and head. She had some shrapnel in her head. The boy was bleeding from his thigh. I couldn’t bear it. I impulsively hugged my children and burst into tears. I didn’t know what to do. Then I went to bring my son Ahmad who was bleeding on my lap, I could see many dead bodies were under the rubble. I gathered my children around me; I was delirious but struggling to be strong for my kids. Ahmad was bleeding so much, and he seemed like he was dying. It wasn’t to be long afterwards that he would die in my arms. Amal and after that Abdallah opened their eyes, they were so scared of death. I hugged them and promised them that they wouldn’t die, I kept telling them to be patient. The ambulances will come soon, “Why are there no ambulances until now!” I screamed.

I wasn’t really conscious of what had happened. I asked myself “where is Abu-Mahmood, My husband?” Then I remembered exactly what had happened and a flashback sent the horror back through my head. Israeli soldiers executed my husband in front of us when he went out of the house putting his hands up just as one of the soldiers outside had ordered him to. The soldier had said, “the owner of the house must come out now!” He went out with his ID in one raised hand and his old Israeli driving license in the other. Then they killed him. And after that kids started shouting and crying begging the soldiers not to kill them, but they came inside and shot towards the kids randomly. It was then that Ahmad was injured in his chest, dying two days later despite struggling for life as the ambulances were not allowed to enter the area by the soldiers until the fourth day.

After that around 100 people from the same family including me and my kids gathered in a house which Israeli soldiers had forced us to enter. Once they’d herded us together like farm animals, the Zionist soldiers with no conscience and ice cold to the lives, love and history of our families inside, bombed the house that my kids and I were sheltering in with everyone else. It took only half an hour, but they were 30 minutes of indescribable hell with unending sorrow thereafter. Anyway, now I know why I had begun this deep, uncontrollable sleep.

10 responses

  1. Assalam alaykom. Good and nice work, please say hallo to Tamam and have all of You a nice day.Ghibli


    February 6, 2011 at 1:16 pm

  2. Salam. I must say it is wonderfully written and really makes you feel whats happening. Keep up the great work Shahd… :)


    February 7, 2011 at 12:26 am

  3. This story is taken from a real story about Samouni Family who lost 29 members of their immediate and extended family during the 2009 attacks on Gaza. for more information related to the tragic (and criminal) events that happened to this family read this: you for your nice comments


    February 7, 2011 at 12:39 am

  4. As I read this piece of art..I had a mixed feeling. It is not a hollywood movie.. rather something right in front of us..and we all chose to be blind..I know as long as the there is a word called will manifest itself in due time. And all system of oppression..all the Zionists and their leaders will be vanquished on that sunny day. thanks to my lovely frnd shahd for showing us the bitter truth time and again :) keep going on …I see a great writer and activist emerging. May Allah be with you my dear sis :)


    February 8, 2011 at 11:42 pm

  5. WHAT A BEAUTIFUL COMMENT! Thank you Rafi so much. When I saw your comment, I felt successful as I accomplished my target to convoy the feeling of this family that experienced this tragic.


    February 11, 2011 at 10:15 pm

  6. xiu

    This comment has been removed by the author.


    February 12, 2011 at 2:42 am

  7. Hi Sister, how are you doing and how is family? Please send them my regards. I read this out during a demonstration for Palestine we made in the capital. Continue writing Shahd for your words are the closest thing to actually living it and being there. Missing you very much xxx Bianca


    February 14, 2011 at 10:19 pm

  8. Bianca, you made my day with this comment.The family is very good and everybody misses you so much and you are still in our memories. Thank you very much dear for these nice words. You made me proud to know that Maltese people heard my story. Thank you again. Take care my lovely friend xxx Shahd


    February 15, 2011 at 8:31 pm

  9. This is so good, I read it again and it threw me into the horrific moment. The moment itself we don't think about when visiting the Samouni family. Perhaps because we feel we can't begin to even understand it, or we're scared to allow ourselves to comtemplate such horror. We have heard the story, the numbers, the days under the rubble, the calls to the Red Cross, the shouts from the soldiers of 'go unto death'. But what about the moment itself? The panic, the urgency, what the mind is doing – are we really able to grasp it? Writing like this requires such imagination and gets us so much closer to involving ourselves in what these unspeakable acts really mean. It shows the importance of such creative writing and which is even more poignant and chilling coming directly from a Palestinian writer..albeit a very special one. Only a giant heart and a compassionate mind can feel so much of what others are feeling, especially when trying to empathise with people going through such a tragic experience. The more we feel the pain the more we want to stop this brutality from happening again. Keep on writing.


    March 2, 2011 at 2:27 am

  10. Well said Adie. There is nothing I can add to these touching words. This family had and is still having a big impact on everyone who visit it. I am sure Alsamouni family inspires all people who hear about the tragic they have been through just like me. After all their loss, We are totally sure that nothing can make it up to them. However, the least we can do for them is to get their words out. This piece of writing was done for this target. Thank you adie for your kind words. You have been great support to me :).


    March 11, 2011 at 1:08 pm

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