Today, Israel shutdown Zikim Beach in Ashkelon due to fecal contamination from the Gaza Strip. The city’s municipality couldn’t handle a small percentage of leaked pollution that was resulted by Gaza’s waters being over-flooded with sewage that has reached unprecedented, alarming and infectious levels due to the contrived electricity crisis.
Gaza has roughly the same size of Malta, but quadruple the population. Long time ago, the two lands were slightly similar in their Mediterranean atmosphere and inordinate ambition. Now, and after three major wars that have sat the city hundred years backwards, the besieged Gaza Strip differs enormously from the free EU country by a lack of livelihood and green landscape, but an abundance of ruins, rubles, warfare drones, tunnels, clerks and everything that is abnormal and can lead a man to get out of his mind.
Life in Gaza is always obstructed from normal by the paranoia that “the inevitable is imminent,” and the war is coming, and this time, “there would be no civilians!” In the midst of that exceptional psychological chaos, and to make things worse, the PA president Mahmoud Abbas saw fit recently to pressure his political rivals in Gaza by punishing and degrading its anguished population in order to cause unrest amongst the repressed masses.
He suggests that the people of Gaza are getting too much, and the PA has been sacrificing too much for their sake, but enough is enough! The Gazans have been spoiled for so long and they are too fat to march against Hamas. They need a strict diet! How come after all these years the unemployment levels in Gaza are only about 76% amongst the aid-dependent population! How come they still have few drops of water left and some loafs of bread! How come they are still breathing!
Abbas wanted to display his political prowess and sovereignty to the world. He wanted the world to see that “yes! I too can get angry,” and just because he had never shown his frowny face to Israel, it doesn’t mean that he’s a pacifist.
When you have nowhere to go, and you lack options and resources, the least you may need in an extremely hot and humid summer is some water and electricity, so he took both away from the Gazan people. He spent the last few months exhausting himself trying to drown Gaza into darkness and sewage waters, and he has succeeded. He also sought to defund Gaza’s health sector and economy and guess what! He did it. Now the PA president could at last boost about his “achievements” that the people of Gaza are begging him nonstop to conclude this chapter of agony and he’s turning his back on them like a real dictator.
And the worst is yet to come, as Abbas has been repeatedly promising!
I talked to my family in Gaza earlier yesterday and asked “how do you sleep the nights nowadays with no electricity?” My 12-year-old sister answered “We don’t!” She explained that if they try to sleep, they open all windows, they drink a lot of water, but still they can’t breathe. They would be sweating profusely all night while listening to the drones’ intimidating noise and nowhere to go! Instead, they would stay awake all night until their tired bodies can no longer resist their closing eyes. Then insomnia, however, would frequent on their sleep, and they would be woken up several times. If not by an insufferable nightmare, then by Apnea, and they would be literally drowned in sweat.
In the morning, they would go and spend their day in the “Capital mall;” the only mall in Gaza equipped with internet, air conditioners and private electrical generators. Or they would go and visit a relative who has a big battery to turn on a small fan while they speak. They can no longer go and sit by the sea, when the risk of catching diseases from the contaminated water is so high, but some others have stopped really caring about getting sick or not, as a friend of mine says “the sea is 99% polluted, we swim in the 1% left.”
But despite that picture in my head about how difficult things are nowadays, I couldn’t control my monthly occurring sense of nostalgia; to Gaza, to my friends, to my family, and even to the hardships and challenges. So I called a promising friend from the Haniya family in Gaza to get the most insider perspective, and after a long and thorough conversation, I said “My friend, I feel it was a mistake to leave Gaza, perhaps I should come back!”
My friend’s voice promptly changed, and it felt as if he had to step on his heart to say “DON’T BE STUPID! You’ve just came back from the dead. Why would you want to lay back again in a grave?”
He continued “Remember how crazy, unbearable, insufferable things were in Gaza before you’ve left?” I said “Yes!” He sighed and said “It’s nothing compared to now… We are now living the absolute worst!”
My mind strayed from the conversation for a moment, and I recalled an e-mail that I got from a friend who’s by the age of 33 has never been able to find a job since the beginning of the blockade, despite having a very fine education. He graduated as the blockade started, so he was another number in the statistics of the unemployed quarter million people in Gaza.
In his letter to me, his words were trembling, his feelings were chaotic. He was saying that there’s no hope, it’s too late, and everything is dead. He said “The war is coming, and I have developed a belief that I would die before I even experience living. I haven’t made a family; I haven’t accomplished much, and my only hope is venture out, and leave this prison, but would I ever be able to?”
My absent-mindedness was interrupted by my friend on the phone saying: “Wallah if Rafah is to be opened tomorrow, everyone would leave. Top of all Hamas!”