War through a child’s eyes – We Are Not Numbers

The first Israeli prime minister of occupied Palestine, David Ben-Gurion, once said, “The old will die and the young will forget.” Maybe he was right about the first part, but he was completely wrong on the last. Like most Palestinian youths, I have survived three bloody wars, each unforgettable, haunting my mind and soul to this very day. Healing takes time but forgetting is out of the question.

The first war was the most terrifying, launching with a massacre of more than 500 people in the first few hours. It started on December 27, 2008, and lasted for 22 days. Israelis called it Operation Cast Lead, which gives you a sense of how atrocious they intended it to be. I was 12 years old.

Just over two weeks later, we once again anticipated death. At 8 p.m., on January 14, 2009, the Israeli army called our neighbors and shamelessly told them to leave their house because they were going to bomb it. My relatives and I gathered in our apartment, waiting for the F-16 to do its job. Women and children crammed into our three-room apartment, with mattresses placed in rows to accommodate everyone. We were all huddling in the same place, which did not make much sense to me; we could all have been killed at one time. But that is the thing about war: Nothing makes sense. They had declared war to bring peace to the region, eventually killing 1,383 Palestinians, including 333 children and 114 women.

I remember the day when the war was finally over and we returned to school.  The teacher asked, “Who lost one of his relatives or had his house partially or completely destroyed?” All raised their hands. This was our solidarity. A fragile war of resistance against a brutal occupying power is always devastating, and children pay the cost. They never forget.

War through a child’s eyes

Published by TCTTNews

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