I am writing this entry as my heart is pounding, my fingers trembling, my eyes in tears. . . so forgive me if I sound irrational. I thought it was over, I really did. Was I naive? Perhaps. But hopeful. Always hopeful. Now I simply feel stupid; and very, VERY afraid.
I was in the kitchen tonigh at around 11pm Gaza time, putting away a late dinner I had with my mother after filing a story for Pacifica Radio on a law suit filed against former Israeli army Chief of Staff Moshe Ayalon for war crimes. The suit came a week after a similar complaint was filed against Avi Dichter for bombing a civilian neighbourhood in Gaza with F-16s. How ironic that I file a story about F-16s bombing Gaza, thinking to myself-even arguing to dinner guests we had over-that that was an era long gone. International pressure would never allow Israel to use such diproportionate force again in such a densely populated area. "True" argued a guest, "now they are simply focussing on resistance leaders as targets."
The guests left, and just as my mother and I were chatting nonchalanatly, putting away the small plates of za'tar, olive oil, goat cheese, and persimmons, an enourmous explosion erupted following by the loud swoops of fighter jets-unlike ANYTHING I had ever heard- shaking our kitchen windows off the their hinges...the sound of Israeli fighter jets breaking the sound barrier over Gaza in a psychological war of terror.
I cannot begin to describe the sound except to say it penetrates into your very heart. Our whole building shook. I rand outside of the kitchen, fell down to the ground crying in hysterics, then screaming. My father woke up and held me tight, "its ok its ok", as my mother trying to calm me down. "what's happening, what's happening" I remember repeating hyserically. "We are being bombed, we are being bombed!"
It is that feeling of uncertainty, of vulnerability and fear in the face of an unseen, seemingly formiddible force, of feeling that death is at your doorstep, that gets to you...that strikes morbid fear in your heart and soul.
"It's nothing, it's an F-16 sound bomb, please calm down" said my father. Nothing but a sound bomb. It sounds so harmles, what is sound afterall compared to munition? In Arabic, they even call them "fake bombings." That is what I always thought to myself. Having experienced both, I think I can safely say the former has the possiblity to inflict far more intense psychological damage in a shorter period of time.
I ran like a crazy woman to check on Yousuf-last time this happened, while we were in the US, far far away, enjoying fall leaves and pumpkin patches, the windows shattered. So today, I immediately moved his crib away from the window and cracked the window open to relieve the vaccum, then called my cousins and turned the radio on. They assured me while this is the loudest sound bomb every fired by an F-16 (which means the F-16 was the lowest lying every) it happened with far more frequency last month. The bombings were decried by the international community.
But now, they have continued. THe planes are still overheard. They are swooping low.
My question is: why? Why PUNISH all of Gaza's Palestinians? Is it to make us all so afraid we can't close our eyes? To beg for mercy? To make it want to stop at any expense? IT is cruel. It is inhumane. It is collective punishment. It is psychological terror and torture in its rawest most disturbing form. And so the war on Gaza continues.terror and torture.