Friday, 27 March 2009

Waiting For The World To Answer

Waiting For The World To Answer

Ayman T. Quader
28 March 2009

Taken by: Ayman Quader, AL Nuserat Camp, Middle of the Gaza Strip

It was an ordinary morning December 2008. Children were playing and having fun. They were digging between the rocks to get some space for their childhood.

This is the story of Ahmad , a little boy without sin who was killed on that morning. Ahmad was known among his friends as lively, bustling boy.

Ahmad and his family live in Al Zahra district in the middle of the Gaza Strip, exactly next to the building of the Civil Defense. On the morning of December 27th, Ahmad took his breakfast, put on his boots and went out to go for playing in his nearby garden.

"We are an extended family living in a house that comprises four floors. My family and I live in the second and my father in the first floor" says Ahmad’s father. When he noticed that Ahmad and his sister Mariam were going to play in the garden of the house, the father tried to stop him as the family was waiting for Mohamed, the older brother to take an early lunch. But his attempt was in vain.

"It was like an earthquake hitting our house and every thing was shaking" said the father. Doors and windows were broken, too. The Father tried to find out what had happened outside and searched for the source of the terrible noise he had heard. A cloud of smoke was covering the sun. “There was nothing else to do than to assure myself about the family as another explosion shocked the nearby building. I tried to make sure that everyone was inside the house, and then I convinced myself to feel safe.” Suddenly Mariam cried out: "Daddy, daddy, Ahmad, Ahmad…" The little girl Mariam broke out in tears, terribly afraid about her brother. "Her shouts froze my body" said the father.

Ahmad was found under the rubble of stones at the entrance of the house. The father immediately took Ahmad and rushed to search a car to bring him to the Hospital Shuhad'a Al Aqsaa. "While I was holding him, I realized that Ahmad was dead" said the father. Ahmad’s head was partially smashed; part of his brain on the ground and his back was filled with shrapnel. "I stood on the doorsteps, trying to understand the situation outside, searching for a car to drive my son to the hospital. I am a doctor myself, but now I could not help him any more" the father said. “When I left my home, I discovered that the Headquarter of the Civil Defense had been destroyed completely.”

"The sight at the hospital was tremendously dreadful when I arrived. It was full of dozens of killed and wounded young men on the floors". Ahmad was sent to the emergency department and although he still had some signs of life, after a while he passed away. At this moment, silence came over the father; there were no more words in him. Blood was everywhere and particularly the sight of young children who always are the symbol of innocence.

"I wondered what Ahmad and the other children might have done to be killed by this Israeli aggression. They always dreamed of safety and to live like any other child in the world" said the father.

While the father was sitting on a chair and thinking about the situation, his mind was busy at the same time with thoughts about his family living near the targeted building of the Civil Defense. Only when he arrived home later, he saw the massive destruction at the building of the Civil Defense. As he reached the house he was devastated to find out that most of his family members had been wounded in the attack. So the father decided to go back to the hospital to get news about his family. He found out that also Mohamed, the oldest brother, who was coming home at the time of the attack, had been wounded in his head as well.

The story of Ahmad in short sentences: by his father

Ahmad was a lovely little five-year old boy. His smiles will never be forgotten. He was the youngest brother and he was so clever. Any one who saw Ahmad immediately liked him. He was a very active boy. His favorite pass times were playing football, using the computer and take care of the birds. He left an empty space in our house - he was the most loved boy in our family. His sister Mariam will never forget Ahmad as she was with him in the last moments before he was killed. She said that she will stay waiting for her bother… Wait… and wait … and wait… - Waiting for the world to answer!!!

What was the sin that those young kids committed to merit the way they died? What they needed was to grow up safely and in happiness.

"We are not seeking to fight, to attack, to have weapons and all those means of death" were words always repeated by Ahmad before he was killed.

Marya before the bombing happened!

Innocent Ahmad days before he was killed!

Ahmad, an innocent killed by Israeli Army

Pictures taken my PT,

Ayman T. Quader
Peace Activist
Humanitarian, Child Relief Worker
Gaza Strip, Palestine
Mob: 00972599448628
Skype: peaceforgaza

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

When the Cupboard Runs Dry

Ahmad Saud Basal

Ahmad Saud Basal is an eleven-year-old boy from Tuffah, a village in the middle of Gaza. He lives in a two room house along with five brothers and sisters, his parents and a grandmother. Times are tough, much harder than before. The 2 year-long siege of Gaza has been devastating, and its effects will continue to take a toll. Education; health care; transportation; the economy: every aspect of a normal society lies in ruins, the result of a campaign of collective punishment carried out in disregard not only of international human rights law but also the underlying values of every major religion.

Ahmad and his family aren’t starving. This isn’t Somalia. Gaza was never the so-called “Third World.” But hierarchies of suffering miss the point. Compared to before, when factories were open, when farms could bring their products to market, when students could study at night by electricity rather than by candles, life today has grown desperate. Unemployment has hit 80%. Skyrocketing prices for basic necessities-food, clothes, medicines-force people to survive hand to mouth. In such an economic crisis, parents-however reluctantly- must enlist their children as wage earners.

Beginning early each morning, Ahmad and his ten-year sister, Hadia, go to work with their father. The three of them sell tea in the street. For an eight hour day, each of the children earns between 6-10 shekels ($2-$3.50). Added to what their father makes, the family brings in $12 dollars a day, not much when meat cost $15 a kilo and fruit, which Ahmad hasn’t tasted in a year, $3 a kilo.

UNWRA food packages help but the rations, given out four times a year, are basic: 30 kilos of flour; 5 kilos of rice; 5 kilos of sugar; 3 kilos of lentils, 6 litres of oil; and sometimes, 5 250 gram cans of sardines. For a family of eight, this doesn’t go far.

Children like Ahmad represent the germ seed for the future. It is true that Palestinians have honed a collective resilience in the face of historic hardships. But this strength should not be sentimentalized. Children, who remain exquisitely sensitive to their circumstances and surroundings, need a healthy environment in which to develop and thrive, explore and play, hope and dream. The captivity imposed by the siege has robbed them of this freedom.
Restoring this freedom to Ahmad and helping him recuperate from the deprivations he has endured, remains a challenge that has only just begun.

Ayman T. Quader
Peace Activist
Humanitarian, Child Relief Worker
Gaza Strip, Palestine
Mob: 00972599448628

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Living Without a Bathroom

Humanitarian Case under Siege

Living without a bathroom

Shaban El-Bobali is a 47-year- old man living in EL-Maghzi refugee camp in Gaza strip. Shaban represents one of many families that living in the same situation or even worst because of the drastic Israeli siege on Gaza Strip. Shaban and his family are living in a very miserable situation where they live in a 45-meter house without bathroom and without any resources. 'Death, Destruction, Casualties, Martyrs, and Siege also' Words chosen by Shaban's wife to describe the suffering they are living. Due to the imposed Israeli siege that has been continuing for almost 25 months, Shaban El-Bobali was left unemployed and unable to support his family as many Palestinians citizen. Shaban wishes to live in an acceptable life, dreaming to get stable job that will help his kids to complete their study and have a better future.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Black Rain in Gaza

Black Rain


The 23-days cruel war on the Gaza Strip has attracted the attention of the media correspondents and camera crews. Although the media has reported stories about families who experienced these atrocities, the images of massive destruction of houses that left thousands of Gazans homeless and casualties among civilians are still striking

Husam Darweesh Al Louh is a 10-year-old dynamic boy dwells with his simple family in Al-Moghraq village, south of Gaza city. Husam and his family were obliged to evacuate their house as it is just 300 meters far from the missiles of tanks. "After the war had started, we decided not to leave our home and we thought that the Israelis wouldn’t reach us" said Husam. On the 4th of January, the Israeli tanks were positioned at the former Israeli settlement Netzareem as they settled their for long time. From that position, the Israeli soldiers launched strikes and shells against civilian areas like the rest of the Gaza Strip territories.

"We were fleeing from death to death" the mother of Hussam said. she was confused; her simple family was sheltered into two different places. What used to be a safe place was no longer safe anymore. There was no safe place in the Gaza Strip. "We had spent days and nights full of horror and fear" the mother said in a very grave condition. The situation was worsening in Hussam’s neighborhood , his family found itself was compelled to leave their house under the dreadful Israeli shelling and bombing. "We were forced due the enormous shelling to fell out of our home" said the mother. It is worthily to mention that the house of the family is made of tin sheets which for sure not safe from the ceil.

Darweesh , the breadwinner for the family, had not words to tell us when I asked him. "What did you think as a father? What feelings did you go through at that time? What happened to your sons Hussam and Rami?" questions I couldn’t be able to control myself when I ask him. Darweesh took a deep breath; "I called one of my neighbors to take shelter in his house as it was safer than my area" said Darweesh.

Darweesh has four young children and three girls. He split his family into two groups: one stayed in his neighbor’s house so they would not be in one place and the other group of the family sheltered in one of the UNRWA schools. . For two days the family was leaving its house and taking shelter in the neighbor’s house.

Mid day of January 6th, the two young siblings, Hussam, Rami and other 13 members of their neighbors were directly targeted by three Israeli tank shells fired from the Israeli position near their house.

“I alongside with my brother and other 13 of my neighbors were walking in the street, Salah El Dean main Street when the shells began to be fired". The whole group was close to each other “I don’t know why they targeted us as it was known for the Israelis that we were all civilians".

Omer one of the injured people said " I was in my way to get some food from the market for my family when the soldiers were firing the indiscriminately shells over our heads and everywhere around us."

The shrapnel of the internationally banned shells fired against Hussam and the others dismembered their bodies over the street. Hassam suffers from severe injury in his legs; doctors diagnosed that he needs immediate physiotherapy treatment. “My life has gravely changed and I got to see the whole world from the dark side. I will never forget that day" said Hussam.

We would find no words to describe the situation in the Gaza Strip. The Israelis has always claimed that what happened in Gaza is an act of self-defense against terrorism. However, the number of casualties refute the Israeli claims. The Israeli operation has resulted in thousands casualties among Gazans who were either killed or wounded or traumatized. Half of the casualties were children and women. That war has resulted in incredible devastation among which schools, universities and mosques. It was a war against humanity, justice and freedom

Where Hussam was hit

The main Salah Al Dean Street where Hussam and his group were targeted by Israeli missiles.

Xray of Hussam

Inhuman Crimes against innosence