Saturday, March 28, 2009

Amidst the Ruins: The Grief

The Gaza Blog (via the New Internationalist Blog), March 20, 2009 - For the last few days the sun has been shining and Gaza has been bright and warm. It makes you feel better, everyone says; more optimistic about the day ahead. But when it comes, the rain in Gaza is ferocious; it lashes down in torrents, soaking the streets, flooding the roads and chilling the bones.

The rain is particularly miserable for people whose homes were destroyed in the recent military offensive, many of whom have nowhere to go except tents or the overcrowded houses of their relatives, some of whom are hosting 30 or 40 people in their homes. At the end of last week I took two British lawyers to Izbat Abed Rabbo in the northern Gaza Strip. As we drove north from Gaza City the sky got darker and cloudier, and then just as we arrived, the rain began to lash down.

Izbat Abed Rabbo lies about one kilometre from the border with Israel. During the recent offensive it was decimated by the Israeli military, who drove their bulldozers over some houses, dynamited others and occupied many more. The soldiers trashed the homes they occupied; tearing the furniture apart, writing obscenities on the walls, shooting bulletholes into the beds, and sometimes even leaving bags of shit for the Palestinians to clear up afterwards. The area is now in ruins....

Louisa Waugh is a writer who is currently living in Gaza. She is the author of Hearing Birds Fly: a nomadic year in Mongolia, which won the 2004 Ondaatje Literary Prize, and Selling Olga: stories of human trafficking and resistance. She blogs weekly at The Gaza Blog.

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