Sunday, January 4, 2009

Eyewitness: The Diaphenous Faces of Ghosts Demanding Justice - Vittorio Arrigoni

Il Manifesto, Gaza, January 4, 2009 - ....We’re not going anywhere because we believe that our presence is essential in providing eye witness accounts of the crimes inflicted against the unarmed civilian population hour by hour, minute by minute. We’re up to 445 dead, over 2,300 wounded and many, many missing. While I write, 63 minors have been torn apart by bombs. At the moment Israel counts three victims in total. We haven’t fled as our consulates have advised us, because we’re well aware that our contribution as human shields on the ambulances in giving first aid could be decisive in saving lives. Once again yesterday, an ambulance was hit in Gaza City. On the previous day two doctors at the Jabalia refugee camp had died when they were hit by a missile shot by an Apache helicopter. Personally, I’m not budging from here because my friends have implored me not to abandon them. My surviving friends, as well as the dead ones, who crowd my sleepless nights like ghosts. Their diaphanous faces are still smiling at me.

7:33 PM, Half Red Moon hospital in Jabalia. While I was connected via phone with the demonstrating crowds in Milan, two bombs fell in front of the hospital. The façade windows were shattered, and by pure chance the ambulances were not damaged. The bombings have become more frequent and powerful in the last hours. The nearby Ibrahim Maqadme mosque, nearby, has just crumbled under the bombs: it’s the tenth in one week. Eleven victims for now, and about fifty wounded. An elderly Palestinian lady I met in the street this afternoon asked me whether Israel thought it was still in the Middle Ages rather than in 2009, from the way it continued to hit mosques with such precision. It’s as if it were concentrating on a personal Holy War against all the Muslim places of worship in Gaza....

Vittorio Arrigoni is an Italian volunteer who has worked in Palestine with the International Solidarity Movement since 2003. He is presently in Gaza writing daily dispatches for the Italian press. His previous articles can be read on his blog.

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