Najwa Sheikh, a Mother in Nuseirat refugee camp, Gaza

The Struggle Home Page



Nuseirat is a refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, about 20 square kilometers in size, about the size of Clinton, CT (with five times as many people)[editor]

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Nuseirat Aug. 9, 2014

2015




April 5. Do you know how it feels when you discover that you will live your entire life in the same place, with no hopes of seeing different places, travelling, communicating with different people!! isn't so frustrating to stop planning for your life and the lives of your children because they are abandoned in the same place, and will be passing the same experiences, go to the same schools, the same universities, and will live the same concerns and worries, starting from the unsafe environment with frequent wars, to the rise of poverty levels, unemployment, desperation, and loss. This is all in Gaza, the forgotten place, the forgotten nation, where the smell of death is everywhere, even in the most a life thing


March 18. Finally my son admits that he couldn't sleep becuse he can not stop thinking of the war, though he tries many tomes not to, but his mind cannot resist recalling all the fearfull moments, the smell of death and the horrors every palestinian child went through the last war.... I advised him to read some of the Quran verses he knows, or to think of something that is more cheerful for him, to think of having all his family around, to think of his school and friends, to think of his new bike, but none of my suggestions sound intresting or can distract his attention away from the war, but I also wonder how can we do that while everything in Gaza is abattle, and we all know that the war is coming soon.....


March 5. A war is expected to break up in Gaza, again, in Summer, the season that we all are anxious and are waiting to get rid of the cold that sneaked not only to the walls of the houses, but also to our hearts, so now behold Summer, do not come, we are not in hurry for more fatalities, blood, destruction or fear.... Just keep away, and give winter the chance to protect us, to spread its cold on our frightened hearts and bodies.


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Feb. 25. Video: Gaza War 2014 – How are people coping with the aftermath of conflict?



2014




Nov. 26 Do you how hard to raise stable children in an unstable environment like Gaza, its exactly like trying to see through a hurricane, something totally impossible, specially when you start to realize the side effects that blown on the surface of your children. Gaza witnessed two uprisings, frequent IDF operations, three real Wars with too much bloodshed, fears, stress, concerns, death and destruction, and finally a blockade that seems to last for ever. I am speaking here about a personal experience which defiantly not limited to my motherhood. A trend had been so obvious in the youth of the Gaza strip, a dangerous indicator that should ring loud alarms in the minds and conscious -if still alive- of our politicians. Gaza youth are lacking for motivation, for high expectations, full of despair which is in our case more fatal that radicalism itself, wake up people, and help safe them, change this reality to give them hope.....otherwise, a dull, gloomy future is crawling toward us, where, rationalism will not work anymore.

Nov. 26 -85 days after the recent savage war and nothing changed in Gaza, exchange of excuses between the two involved political parties in Gaza is ongoing with no intention of practical steps to save time and sufferings of the Gaza people, destruction everywhere, people are angry, frustrated, all what we gain is lies, conferences, debates, accusations, and at the end Gaza people, women, children, men, youth are paying the cost of all this shit ...!!!!! — feeling angry.

Nov. 26 Two days ago, I was helping my younger sun Mohammed on his homework, when he interrupted me and said, Mom, in the year we have, Summer, Winter, Autumn, Spring and the WAR season, I paused, what I said, then he commented, the War is a season since we have it every year.... Is this normal! to normalize even the most unpleasant events in our lives. — feeling concerned.


Nov. 18 Israel still has the right to defend itself against the barbarian Palestinians, so burn our children, tourture our men, kidnap our girls, close our mosques, destory our houses, kill our humanity and will keep silent, we will do nothing, but time will come soon when the rules of the game will change !!!!


Oct 27

assar family (62K)



wrecked house gaza shot for fun (40K)


Sept. 17 They did not only destroy our house "my friend added" but they were having fun shooting at everything inside, they bulldozed all the trees which were planted by my my late father, they just disappeared as there was nothing here, it was a paradise planted by my parents, every tree reminded my mother of something common with my father. The Israeli soldiers destroyed the furniture, the closets and even the kitchen tools, they were having fun shooting at the kitchen tools, the shelves, they meant to cause as much damage as they can. In our bedrooms nothing was left for use, they gathered all our cloths and throw them away in the street, the trees were buried under the rubble and the sand, nothing can be fixed, we lost every thing, the house, the furniture, the cloth and most importantly all my mom memories with my father were gone, just like that without any feeling of guilt or mercy. The house meant a lot for my mother, and the garden too, it was the only thing that reminded her of my father, every corner, every tree had a memory and a story to be told and now there is nothing but destruction and loss.

Sept. 17 Gaza population is aimless, with the hard socioeconomic living conditions, young men and even complete families were looking to migrations outside Gaza seeking a better and more safe life for them and for their children. I am one of those whose looking for a better place for my children to live in, a place where we do not have to worry about affording them the basics of life, or about going through a harsh and inhuman war every two years. We are lost inside Gaza where our leadership in both sides is living in a sever coma, looking for self interest away from the needs of the people. We are also lost outside Gaza where death and injustice is our destiny, young promising men have to flee Gaza looking for the dream lands, families, children specially after the horrors of the recent war, but death was their destiny, sinking in the sea without anybody caring was their destiny. When we will wake up and care !!!


Sept. 10 Israel's devastating seven-week offensive against the Gaza Strip has left 2,000 Palestinian orphans in its wake, the Palestinian Social Affairs Ministry said on Tuesday


August 31

Being back to work does not give the feeling of normality that I am looking for amid these false moments of calm, the ceasefire announced doesn't mean that the WAR had ended, the ambiguity of our destiny here in Gaza creates restless minds, though the war had thought me not to think of tomorrow, I can not stopped my mind from doing so, I can not follow the advices of living the moment that my husband always keep repeating in an attempt to comfort my anxious status. Therefore, the fear of what is coming a after the one month, one year, or whatever is possessed me. The horrors of the War are still a life in my mind, in my daily life. — feeling tired.


August 29

Its so amazing our ability to shift from one status to another, just like that, so easily, few days ago we were not able to close our eyes at night, we were not able to leave our homes during the day, all what we were doing is following the news, wandering for a wish to end this barbarian chaos. Between day and a night a decision was made and everything just had amazingly stopped. The people of Gaza were given another chance to catch what they have missed, Its the peaceful time that we were all eager to reach.

However, for those who were dramatically harmed by the WAR, those who lost a beloved one/ones, who lost their safe shelters, their lives will be never the same, their wounds will not be healed soon. Here at this place was once a house that is full of love, at this room, he/she was raised, the sound of their laughs and fights are still a life in the ears of those who survived, this is the book that they mostly liked, here at this wall,the signs I made to see how tall they become. And between recalling all of these memories, the tragedy exists and lasts for ever. For all of those who were killed in the Israeli offensive bombings, you will not be just figures mentioned in every report in the media, your stories will remain a life in the hearts of your beloved and in the hearts of your people. Your dreams and daily details will remain a life to tell the story of innocent children, women, elderly and men who were killed in their search for freedom and dignity.


August 28

Today as many normal people who enjoyed peace in their lives, we went to a small park at my neighborhood, its not a big fancy one, but at least its a place where you can sit and enjoy seeing your kids running and playing. Everything was just perfect though we are in Gaza, quiet night, nice summer breeze, and a sky that is full of shining stars, a very promising thing. My kids were playing and running happily, a feeling that we missed it over the last 51 days of fighting. I was sitting quietly enjoying the feeling of a peaceful night, when my Sarah "4 years old" was looking at the sky, I asked her why you are doing this, then she said that I am scared to that an Israeli plane would come and target us at the park, I tried to comfort her and told her that the Wat is over, when she replied, no Mom this is a Hudna "ceasefire", and things will be back again after one month!!!! could this be true, another part of the WAR will come and this is only to both parties to take their breaths without any consideration for the people who are living in this land.


August 27

Today My kids left the house to visit their aunts and grandfather, they were so happy that finally they will go out without being killed or injured if a missile hit a nearby area while they are in the street. The War had ended, they need ages to heal their wounds, the wound of the mind that are harder to be healed instantly, and that might take years. My kids, thanks to Allah were not forced to evacuate their house immediately in the middle of the night, they did not receive an F16 missile that is full of explosions while they were peacefully sleeping, they did not lose one of their beloved in front of their eyes, nor they were saved under the rubble of their house. Yes, they lived the horrors of this War, they could not handle the continuous sound of the bombings that drove my son Mohammed crazy, but they were lucky more than many others more. My heart is with those kids who were forced to go through what my children did not went through, and I hope that their wounds will be healed soon, and that they will be the priority of any upcoming plans and projects. I hope that they will regain their childhood that was stolen.

[earlier]

51 days of continuous shelling and bombings are finally over, just like that, by a decision and its over. For me as for all the Palestinians in Gaza, this War will not be the last, though we deeply hope it is. But from our experiences, Gaza and it's people are under the mercy of Israel, a fact that I can not deny. The horrors of the last Wars are still in my mind, and in the minds of my children, we are not healed yet, and the horrors of this barbarian war which of course was more harsh and extensive are still in our minds, hearts and eyes. We need ages to be healed, to be normal, to be humans again, and to regain our humanity. Our life will continue, we will go back to our normal life, going to work, kids to school, but the fight is still inside us, the fears of facing another War will live with every detail in our life.

[earlier]

The first time since 51 day I slept so peacefully, Mohammed slept with his brothers after spending the whole evening dancing and singing celebrating the end of the WAR, is soooooooooooooooooo happy and excited, I am so relieved !!!!!


August 26

I can understand the Israelis brutality against the Palestinians in Gaza, against human beings, but what I can not understand is their sever brutality and hatred against buildings, schools,clinics, houses, and recently towers, with the images of two huge towers falling down by the Israeli missiles, I could not sleep, thinking of all the children running aimlessly in the streets seeking refuge, thinking of all the families who were forced to leave their hard work, their memories, their safe houses behind, a horrible feeling that I don't wish anybody in the world to go through it. It is the first hours of day 51 of the WAR on Gaza, the sound of the F16 roaring on top of our heads haunting is leaving no chance for peace in our minds, I am tired trying to understand the silence, and injustice of the world towards what Israel is committing against the civilians of Gaza. Since 2006, unfair blockade, followed by frequent wars, destruction, starvation, denying freedom of movement, depriving us from the minimum basics of life, nothing is worth to keep hoping that justice and peace will once be a blessings for the people of Gaza.

[earlier]

The Israeli occupation is following a new strategy to spread terror and to increase the pressure on the people of Gaza, tonight The F16 jets destroyed another tower in Gaza that includes 100 apartments, the second tower in two days with no one rejects or condemns since this is a self defence ??? Thousands of families are now due to the barbarian attacks of Israel with the blessings of the mother of Democracy -the USA- are becoming homeless, and lost all their belongings, their lives' hard work, their memories, their past, their plans and their future, and still no one rejects or condemns. I lost faith in the world, there is no justice, there is only power that controlles every thing in this ugly world.

August 25

[she writes about a woman she met.]

She was speaking about her three children who were killed in one of the Israeli bombings to the houses in Gaza, her eyes were empty from any expressions or feelings, I thought that she is one of two things, either insane, or a liar, but unfortunately she was none of these two options, she did not cry or scream while recalling the event, all what she cares about at this moment to protect the rest and to register her name among those who could benefit from a welfare assistance!!!!

Could this be real, do we have the ability to deny our pain, our loss and not to allow ourselves to grieve or to cry, or may be the pain is huge that we can not handle dealing with it therefore, deny it easily. Or as if death has become the normality, life become so precious to live every moment of it without looking back!!

[earlier]

I still can not answer the question of my 4 years old Sarah whether the War ended or not yet, I can not handle the disappointment every time I give her a negative answer to her question. She used to follow the question of another one but she stopped, she lost the hope of having any hint that can end her fears.

[earlier]

50 days under the shelling and the frequent explosions, with the horrible news of the victims, children, women, houses, and men, death become everywhere, we quit hiding inside the house, now in an attempt to challenge the scary reality we are living in, we spent the whole afternoon in the garden, playing and enjoying tracing the sound of fallen missiles around. My son Mohammed who became very fragile and affected by every thing, asked me if I will cry if he get killed, of course I said, then he said, will you accompany me to the graveyard because I don't want to be alone. Mohammed is six years old only, all what he thinks of is death, how he will accept his fate peacefully without complaining. In an attempt to relieve the stress inside his mind, he told me once that if the Almighty wrote in his book that a missile will hurt him then he will be hurt but if this is not written in his book, nothing and nobody can cause him any harm.

I am tired as a mother from seeing my children childhood stolen away, I want them to be children, to think about what normal children are thinking of, to watch cartoons movies and not to insist to watch the news, to worry about normal children stuff and not about whether they will pass their night safely or not. This is not a life, and this is not the childhood that I want my children to recall and to tell for their kids on the future!!!

isn't this a war crime, destroying a housing tower that includes 80 families without giving them the chance to collect their valuable belongings, ya I forgot this is the self defence that Obama is giving Israel the right to exercise against the Palestinian refugees in Gaza!!!! DEMOCRACY of the USA


August 19



The phone lines are down, but somehow we could talk via computer

Stan: What do you hear about the attack on the Al-Qassam Mosque in Nuseirat. The Associated Press wrote an article blaming Hamas for using mosques to store weapons and such.

Najwa Sheikh: Ya I read the article, I heard the news, for me a mosque is a place for worship for everybody for Hamas Leaders and for normal people too

The Israelis destroyed 63 mosques in Gaza, and claimed that they all were used by Hamas leaders, The mosque is about 1 Km away, 4 were killed

Stan: I see you changed your Facebook profile to an artistic picture. What is it?

Najwa, Actually it is a painting, I don't know for whom, but I felt it expresses our status of loss, souls, unidentified are trying to find their ways

Stan: What is the situation with the drones and the planes?

Najwa: The drones are never gone from the sky, day and night, it really worse than the F16 with its ZZZZZZZZZZZZ sound, its inside your mind al the time, the F16 only when there is a hit coming, or when the Israelis need some fun as a change, so F16 break the sound barriers and its like hell, so terrifying

Najwa: Do you know that I am so scared, and feel that something wrong would happen this time, to me to my family, I can not figure it out, but it is so close

Stan: May God turn their bombs to rose petals

Najwa: I hope so Stan, then we could have paradise


August 18

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Her New Facebook Profile picture

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Her New Cover Photo


Since it was the last day of the truce, we decided to stay at the garden as the house was like a heated oven without electricity, the sky was clear and we were able to count the shining stars. The kids were happy enjoying such an almost normal night despite the sound of the drones which remind them of the reality of the War. As usual Mohammed started his questions, this time inquiring whether there are unoccupied countries. When I gave him examples, he expressed his wish to live in one of these countries, he selected Jordan. Then he continued, no Mom I wanted to live up !!!

Where up my dear, I inquired, beside Allah, the almighty, there Mom, he continued there is no War, no fear, no bombings, no killing just peace.

I commented do not you want to grow up here, and to make me happy and proud seeing you a nice man, he answered, no Mom, don't be sad, because I will take you all to live with me in heaven.... there Mom as he said, no Israelis, no permits, electricity all the time, clean water, and a nice beach !!!!


August 17

Again we are in a position where we are waiting a decision, a decision to live again, or to continue the cycle of horror. Today, my kids were continuously asking how many hours are left before the truce ended, and before hearing again the explosions that shake their hearts before their bodies. A heartbreaking fact that kids aged 4 and 6 are only asking if the war had ended or still continue. Its really heartbreaking that the kids games became only the War, destroying houses, being trapped under the rubble, losing a close relative, a beloved one.

I heard stories of women who stepped over the bodies of their neighbors when they tried to get out of their destroyed house when an F16 targeted a close house. I heard stories of small children who had seen a neighbor who instantly lost his upper limps while standing on the street, I heard the story of a young chap who received a call to evacuate his house while he was away from his house and could not alarm the rest of his family, ran the whole way back screaming, but it was too late,

I heard the story of the infant who was found under the rubble fed on the milk coming out from the breast of his dead mother,stories that are not imaginary, but are real. The question is not whether our political leaders will sign an a agreement of ceasefire or not, but the real question is whether those who lived the horror of this war will be healed or will continue holding their pain inside their hearts and minds, because I myself will never forget.

I wish I could smile, a smile that comes from my heart, I wish I could feel the happy because all what I feel now is nothing but grieve and agony, I wish I could be somewhere else.... — feeling down.

Suddenly they entered the house running scared, Salma, Sarah and Mohammed, what happened I asked" Mohammed while covering his ears he answered, don't you heard the F16, now it will send its rockets. No I said to them, we are still in the days of the truce, but Salma was not sure and inquired then why there are all these planes in the sky, I said to make you freak my kid, to spread terror and to annoy your peaceful time,however, all my words did not convince Mohammed who kept covering his ears with his hands, and Sarah who decided to play inside the house, The Israelis had to remind us that our life is controlled, our sky, our land, our sea, and even our smiles and our spare time, we are the place were they can hit, play and laugh freely.

I thought that my little children would care only about the five days of truce, enjoying peaceful sleeping, playing at the yard without feeling scared upon hearing the loud sound of the warplanes "F16" breaking the sound barriers, but I was wrong, with every morning I received the same question of whether today is a truce mom or not, a question that hearing its answer would give my little children assurances that they will not hear the sounds that scared them most. And since tomorrow is the last day of the five days break, and while we were sitting at the yard enjoying a calm afternoon watching a small kitten that we decided to adapt, Salma commented "Mom, we should prepare ourselves again, because the war is not ended yet".

August 13

Today was the first time I allowed myself to go out and visit my family in Khan Yniss, the kids were very hilarious about it, I went shopping with Mohammed to buy him the school uniform, jeans etc, hoping that the War will end by the time of the school which is due in September. Mohammed was very happy and excited especially when tried the new clothes, he was so cute and proud of himself being transferred to a new era, a school. When we went home Mohammed refused to take off the new Jeans trouser, but with the high sound of the drones and F16 alarming of the return of the shelling, his status completely turned to the opposite, he just laid in bed so quiet, and went to sleep while this is not what he usually do. I forget to mention that when my son felt so scared he went to sleep.

Waiting something to happen made you stressful and hopeful, but in my case waiting moments of peace, a right to live, a minute to feel the life is a moment of birth, every body is waiting in gaza, even children who were force to grow beyond limitation, waiting either to have a chance to live or a chance to die and to end their endless sufferings — feeling sad.


August 12

Mohammed is supposed to join his first year at school, he is so excited about it, but still the uncertainty if his school will remain or will be joining the list of destroyed schools taking the dreams of those little children away....

The War in numbers:
141 schools were destroyed, of them 22 schools were completely destroyed.
9886 injured. More than 1000 house were destroyed.

One day left and we will be back for the ugly sounds of warplanes, F16 missals whispering sharply before falling down, and the non stop sound of the drones, What a wonderful world, how can I explain this to my kids !!!!


August 11

I wonder how can we teach our children love while hatred is all over Gaza!!!!

The first question I received from my son Mohammed the first moment when he wakes up " did they announced the truce" yes I answered, "then we will go out today" he continued, again "yes I said", he ran to his father demanding him to plan for a long day out of the house. Where we can take them for a change while destruction is everywhere!!!!

Though a three days of ceasefire were announced, the sound of the drones is still in top of our heads, or may be I imagined this continuous zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz sound. To make sure I went to the house yard exploring the sky, the moon was full and beautiful but it was not the thing I am looking for, beauty and perfection are not my aim, while every thing around me is ugly and misfeatured. And here are they, three moving lights, sneaking a among the shining stars, searching for a life to take, for a joy to steal, for a safe shelter to destroy. This is Gaza, no time for peace, for love, for life

Every day my kids are asking me when this War will end, of course I don't have an answer, since nothing is clear any more. I guess they got used to the sound of the bombings all day, they feel scared, they scream but their minds created away to deal with all the stress they are passing through. My little Sarah used to close her ears whenever she hears the sound of the warplanes, and asked me if the hit is over or not. Mohamed, Salma and the daughter of my sister in low have created funny names for each warplane that passed over their heads, they even started to had the courage to stand and watching the lights that the airplanes drops at night . A kind of decorations said Mohammed commenting on the lights that replaced the stars at the sky.However, with all of that still the persistent unanswered question of when this war will end??? The nightmare of my sweet Salma (8 years) that she had to go the collage while the war is still existed. Shahed my sister in low daughter (9 years) commented that she hides her fears inside her heart so as not to stress her freaking mother!!!


August 9

nuseirat photo (63K)

Damage in Nuseirat

We were all hoping that the ceasefire will continue, saving our children, elderly and women another round of violence and horror. It breaks my heart that my children will be locked again in the house listening only for the sound of the warplanes roaring in the sky of Gaza dropping explosions full of hatred and a desire to kill.

In the last three days of truce we had the chance to take the kids in a tour to Gaza city hoping for a joyful time, but the devastating images of destruction broke my heart and disturbed any attempt of joy. Mosques, houses, apartments, shops, a huge desire of destruction and hate. I felt so sad.

The daughter of my sister in low freaked so easily, hearing the sound of the bombs and explosions could make her silent and pale for days. Her mother told me that the day before the truce was over, the girl kept awake the whole night listening to the news searching for a hint that might give her assurances that she will not any more hear the sound that scares her the most and drained her face from any smile, the sound of the explosions around.

Today, I invited her to spend time with my kids, she feels somehow secure and safe at our place, but unfortunately a big bang suddenly occurred, every thing was shaking the ears, curtains were blown in the air and fallen down, the sound of the broken glasses fell our ears, and a huge cloud of dust cover the place, a complete horror.

Every one of my kids was screaming, crying, hugging me so tightly, I could not do anything but to make sure that they are safe and unharmed.

At that moment I felt how hard and painful it is to be alive under the rubble of a house, how hard it is to be so helpless and unable to express what is going on and why to your children.

Another round of violence, extreme violence is happening now, in Gaza against the innocent civilians, children, women, while the Arab and international world are watching. No words can express the disappointment we all in Gaza are feeling, no words can express the horror we are going through, but actions in the long term will do, will express what words can not.

A British minister resigned in rejection to the role of UK in providing Israel with weapons that is used against the population of Gaza, I raise my hat in respect for her courageous step. I wonder when the supportive Islamic and Arabic countries that has relations with Israel will do the same, SHAME on ALL those who Supported Israel. — feeling broken.

Is this what we all in Gaza deserve, a three day of ceasefire, and then as simple as that a resumption of the cycle of horror, fear, destruction and death. Please Allah have mercy on us all


August 7

To leave or Not to Leave, This is the question !!!

Gaza has been under fire for about a month, no words can describe the loss, the grieve and the horror Gaza people are going through. Starting with the destruction of the infrastructure to the destruction of houses and ending of the destruction of human beings through creating a generation with a complete history of violent memories and childhood.

Destroying the houses of the Palestinian refugees which for them considered as a life time achievement is one of the collective punishment methods that the Israeli government implement against the Palestinians.

A house for a refugee family is the safe haven, the past, the present and the future. Every single penny that was paid to build this house had a story, an event, and a memory curved in the mind and heart of the owner.

What took years to be build, destroyed by only a telephone call from the IOF and a missal just like that, and suddenly all the hard work, the sacrifices, the dreams and the memories the sad and the happy ones are all gone.

Ring, Ring, Hello, this is the IDF, is this Mr. …, you have only two minutes to leave your house. Pause, shocked, surprised, ran out of the house screaming to alarm the neighbors of the coming hit, this is what normally is the reaction, if you were lucky, you would be leaving safely without any body being hurt or killed, with only the cloth you were wearing.

But if not, the missile will leave no time for you to think, to regret, to say goodbye to the hard work over the years, or even to collect anything of your belongings, you and your family will be buried all together with the memories of the house.

The endless journey of sufferings will continue, being hosted by relatives, neighbors, sons or daughters is not the solution rather being a burden on the families that hosted the evacuated families specially with the hard deteriorating economic situation availing in Gaza and with the fact that most of these families were not given the time to collect any thing of their belongings whether cloths, money, certificates, jewelry or anything.

Then comes appealing the welfare organizations for support which usually focus on providing a temporary solution i.e. providing blankets, kitchen tools, food assistance etc. which with all the respect to their efforts do not solve the main problem of providing a permanent shelter for these families whose for sure are willing to live with the minimum basic needs but to have a roof for their own, a shelter that keeps the only thing we all are fighting for, our dignity.

Therefore, I find myself in the status of wondering whether a family should leave the place where they have spent most of their lives planning and working hard to achieve the place that gathers them all.

Najwa Sheikh, 7/8/2014


August 4

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Kids Celebrate 7 Hour Truce As If it Were the Eid

"day 8 without electricity"

I forget what is the color of the sky, the trees. I was surprised when today I heard couple of love birds singing on the olive tree at our garden, amazingly, it seems they do not have the war we had, or maybe they don't care being killed. We rarely get out to set at the garden since in many occasions we found sharpeners of missals spread at the garden, but whenever it happens, I start to look at the sky and its clear blue color that attracts my eyes and wonder how beautiful it is, and how this war made us miss the beauty of many things in our lives.....

Mid night of Day 28 of the war on Gaza, and day 8 without electricity in my area, I am writing my updates while I am not If I could post them or not.

Nothing change on the ugly reality of this war, more killing, more destruction, more desperation. While Israel is continuous on the killing of the innocent Palestinian citizens on their houses without any regret or any sense of accountability from the international world, increased number of families had been victims to the Israeli killing machine, families that once existed but not any more.

The surprising thing to me is the silence and ignorance of the UN organizations and their shy reaction regarding the continuous Israeli massacres and deliparate killing of the innocent people in Gaza.

I got so tired staying awake all night following the news searching for a small hope that this will end soon, but nothing, a complete disastrous status of loss.

My kids become like small caged animals, so exhausted, so furious, and so nervous. This morning the IOF announced a truce from one side, a truce for 7 hours, When Mohamed my little boy knew about, he celebrate like a Eid, he was so happy, and all my little kids started asking their father to take them out for a walk, for shopping, or even to drink a juice at the market. While the oldest started calling their friends to arrange for their gatherings, it’s a truce Mom, we all wanted to go out!!!!

Our maximum requirement at the moment is having a seas fire to have a walk ?????

I am tired from seeing the images of death, and hearing the stories of the survived, all of this had drained me to the last drop of humanity….

Najwa


August 3

"death is the only normal thing in Gaza while life itself is the odd thing"

Day 28 of the war on Gaza, we got so tired and helpless, kids got so bored being locked at the houses become living all this stress, violence and fears, unbearable life, death become normality AND LIFE is the odd thing in Gaza. Yesterday, we wake up at 7:30 am by the loud sound of two F16 missals that hit nearby, I could not think at that moment, I felt how death is so close, all I could do is to lay on top of my little sleeping angles, wanting to protect their little bodies, nothing matters any more. My little Sarah wants to stay all the time around me, Salma complains from pain in the ears after hearing the explosions. I wish to have an answer for the daily question of my little Sarah of when this War is going to end!!, my sixth years old Mohammed experienced three wars, Sarah 4 years experienced two war, what is the kind of memories they will hold, I wonder!!! all their talks and playing time is about the war, the shelling, being killed, houses destroyed etc, no more fun, no more normality, death is the only normal thing in Gaza while life itself is the odd thing......



August 2

Dear all, I am sorry Najwa can not get in touch these days, no internet, no electricity even no water at home, we r all trying to stay strong holding with hope. Najwa husband , Taher


July 31

The Gaza Strip is overwhelmed in utter darkness and sadness, every one is haunted by this destructive war. In my area, we are without electricity for three days, no evidence of any modern life, the luxury of the century is detached from the people of Gaza, the power of hatred erased all signs of love, forgiveness or tolerance.

Gaza children are not any more children, the power of hatred fed on their missing childhood. Gaza people are not any more humans, they are controlled by the great power of pain, loss and fear.

My children are without electricity since three days, since IOF targeted the only source of electricity that fed the middle area.

Since that time, we had to cope with the minimum means of luxury we could have. No refrigerator, no TV, no internet, completely Nothing.

During the previous days of the war ,I managed to partially keep my children away from the war, and the news of the destruction, fatalities, and mostly the shelling.

Now, with no means to keep the children away from thinking of the war, as I lost my power to imagine things and stories for them, they become fully occupied in tracking the sounds of the IOF warplanes, and predicting if there is a shelling or not.

For me as a mother, things become worse, I don't have only to try comforting my children, but to do the washing manually, to bake the bread, etc another burden that my status at the current time can not cope with.

My children were chatting this afternoon, they were reminding each other that once upon a time they had electricity, a TV, a refrigerator were they could drink cold water, an internet where they can communicate with people from other worlds, a thing that they can not physically experience since the Israelis are closing the gate and controlling whose to cross the gate and whose to stay imprisoned.

They reminded each other that once upon a time, there was a beach, a nice one where they could spend their summer vacation and enjoy swimming.

With the current deteriorating situation in Gaza, I am afraid that they will remind each other that once upon a time, they had a house, a family, or even a life !!!
Najwa Sheikh


July 29

struggle podcast logo (28K)
Audio Podcast - After a Hellish Night in Gaza - Najwa Sheikh

we survived a horrible night last night, but I don't think we could manage another horrible night, death, destruction, fear, and agony is every where My heart is full of pain and agony. I can not stand it anymore, my kids and the kids of Gaza can not stand it anymore, please treat us as human being who deserved to live a normal life. Not like beast who had to be tortured their whole life. I had 12 more persons in my house today, evacuated from their houses due to the severe bombings> All I wanted now is to cry and scream until I clean all the pain inside my heart

No electricity , power station was bombed last night, on behalf of my wife Najwa, her cousin and collegue at unrwa- Muneer el hajaar- has just been killed targeting his unrwa car while helping ppl fleed their houses to shelters. May Allah bless his soul. Taher Assar


July 28

I am a 42 years old Palestinian refugee who was born, raised, and lived her life time in a camp that is densely populated in Gaza. I had lived the sufferings of my parents who fled from their homeland and settled in the Gaza Strip after the war of 1948.

I had lived their bitterness of losing a homeland that I never had the chance to see, to live at, and to experience acquiring the same experiences of my parents or to live the same stories they had lived.

The perception I had about my homeland was through the frequent stories and memories of my father who kept telling us over and over again as he was scared that what is left from his homeland would be stolen again if he did not manage recalling these memories frequently.

The long journey of my parents in raising 9 children was so hard and painful the same as all the Palestinian refugees who went through the same survival battle to guarantee a better future for their children.

Owning a house is a life achievement of any lucky refugee family, therefore, working so hard was the only way to save money, and working in Israel at that period was a golden opportunity. I remember the long journey of my father to and from Israel, waking at 2 am in the morning leaving to Israel to work and coming back completely tired and exhausted.

I clearly remember when we started to build our own house, how my father used to collect the nails fallen from the building workers in the sand to save, I remember how my father demanded my elder brothers to lift the concrete and buckets of sand to the top floor to save the money that he could pay for external laborers to use it for other things.

It was a hard journey that needed many sacrifices and efforts, but we managed. The idea her is how hard for a refugee family to save money to build a house of their own. what this house with all the hard work and the sacrifices is meant to them!!.

After all of this, coming the injustice punishment of the Israelis, when deciding to target any Palestinian house giving them only a minute without even having the chance to evacuate their staff, their belongings, or even to stand a moment of farewell to all of their efforts and memories over the years.

Unbearable way of punishment that holds all the hatred in the world, The image of the old man in AL Shejaea area taking the afternoon nap over the rubble of his house is heartbreaking. With him recalling all the efforts, the sacrifices, and the pain of his long journey in his mind, a bitterness' that no one could imagine.

Najwa Sheikh (El-assar) – first day of Eid under fire .

July 27

Tomorrow is the first day of Eid Al Fiter, after the holly month of Ramadan, at this time, my kids like many other kids used to be busy with checking their Eid cloths, presents etc , thrilled out of happiness and excitement. But this is not what is happening today, my kids are so quiet, sad, depressed. Seeing many children at their age under the rubble of the houses, or laying at the hospitals after being injured or even screaming running aimlessly in the streets seeking refuge killed the joy of the Eid inside the Gaza children. Their perception of what is happening on reality is different ,they've become adults before the time needed to be!!

July 26 Once I had a house that gathered all of us, a family that loved me, a mother who used to cook me the food I always loved, a father who used to tell me about his wish of seeing me a doctor, a brother with whom I always fight, a little sister that I used to kiss her blushing cheeks. With them being around me nothing scared me. My mother used to comfort me and to tell us stories about a better tomorrow. Suddenly, the war broke again on Gaza, we thought that our little house is safe, because we were only Palestinians who wanted to live their day. I still remember that particular night, we had our Iftar meal though it was dark, and sat speaking and hoping for this war to end. We heard a big bang, and I did not feel anything, I wake up at the hospital, a lone, no mother,no father, no brother or sister, no house, only the pain of being alone, thanks to the IOF. This is what every kid has lost his house and family would say about their feelings!!!

July 25

After the IOF targeted UNRWA schools, displaced people felt unsafe staying there, today afternoon, the IOF artillery shells reached Nusierat Camp,hits some of the civilians houses freaking the residents. Displaced people at one of UNRWA schools at the camp were running aimlessly, women, old men, girls, children all were running looking for safe shelter, an endless series of migration. Pale faces, freaked eyes, chaoitic status, that stolen the humans inside us.

Finally, happy to have the electricity back after 30 hours, of course for 3 hours. No water to fill in the tanks, local water drinking stations are closed to the borders, therefore, lack of it due to the risk, cooking gas unavailable, food especially fresh food prices are sky rocketed, and frozen is expired due to the electricity cuts. Another war to survive — feeling down.

Hospitals have become among the bank of targets for IOF, Shuhada' Al Aqsa in the middle area where a patient and 3 persons accompanying him where killed, Al Wafa Hospital, Mohd Al Dura Hospital and Beit Hanoun hospital where the ICU and the reception were destroyed tonight by the artillery shells.

What hurts is not only living the horrible experiences of the war but also realizing the real impact of this ugly war on our kids, today my children were playing together, they were embodying what is happening now in their lives. Sarah and Salma were representing a family that is receiving a family which was looking for a refuge after their house was targeted. Mohammed was crying as a child who lost his family and the daughter of my sister in law was found under the rubble of her destroyed house. This is how our children are wasting their time. This is only the beginning !!!! — feeling sad.

Thank you USA through your Kerry for the wonderful and comprehensive initiative, truly fair enough.... — feeling disgusted

At the end of every day, my little Sarah asks me if the war ended, with the start of every day, she also asks me the same question. I have no answer my dear princess, I can not lie to you, because if I did the sound of the explosions, drones and F16s will expose my lies, will expose my fears, will expose my helplessness. Mohammed had been sick for two days, high fever due to the sound of the high explosions around, nothing helps in this matter, no pain relief nothing, just to pray that he will be safe.

Salma asks me whether there will be Eid presents though she knew the answer, but she wished to hear something different, something can deny her fears that this situation will continue. My little children as will as many other children in the Gaza strip are in a statue of trauma that needs ages to heal, to forget and to forgive.
July 24

It does not matter which day of the war it is now, for us the days are similar with more killing, more destruction and where the smell of death becomes in own breaths. I admit I had enough, I have no power to protect my children, or even to make any change.

We are all got tired with the continuous shelling, bombings, news of cleansing complete families, children, women who have nothing to do with this ugliness except being born in this spot of the world and named Palestinians .

Yesterday I received the news of the death of my niece husband, a great man with high morals, so human, I was shocked, today a relative, tomorrow you never know whom, names, lives, stories that almost started and stories that were about to start.

And the World is still watching, Israel has the right to defend itself against the civilians of Gaza.

While the rest of world is watching, here in Gaza, children were forced to live with the smell of blood, with the scenes of their families, friends, relatives dead.

Children at the Islamic world are now looking for the presents of the Eid, while children of the Gaza strip are looking at what is left from their houses, their families, their lives.

They might find a book, a photo that would remind them that once they were like many humans, had parents who can protect them, comfort them, and look after them, but not any more.

In Gaza, the children are now counting not what is left to celebrate the Eid, but what is left to join the rest of their beloved, families and friends.

My son Mohaamed ran screaming hysterically when he heard the loud sound of 2 F16 missals that hits nearby, he was in favor since two days, how come I can protect him, I can not my son forgive me... Hasbi Allah We Ni3m Al wakeel — feeling tired.

July 23

e second day the Israeli planes through a strange gas on the sky which smells very bad, burning in the through, nothing known about what is it exactly, may Allah have mercy on us...... this is not a war crime, Free World, USA, this is democracy and of course a self defence

"Are we going to die?" " How does it feel to die?" "The burned bodies of the children, will they be fixed in heaven?" "Are you going to leave me, Dad?" "Are you going to leave me, Mom?" Please give me the answers, so I can tell my little children. -- Najwa Sheikh, a Gaza mother

questions that I need answers for " are we going to die? how it feels? are the burned bodies of the children in Gaza will be ok in heaven? are you going to leave me dad? are you going to leave me mom? please give me answers for my little children>>>>:(

No electricity since yesterday, no water to fill in the tanks, no clean water for drinking since there is no pumps to bring water, Prices of Fresh food and vegetables are so high and frozen food expired due to the lack of electricity,this is the current situation Gaza, horrible life ...of course in addition to the frequent shelling


July 21

Mohammed my son become hyper active, laughing hysterically all the time, I can't neither control him, comfort him, nor help him, I am a total mess...

Forgive me for the frequent updates, I only have three hours of electricity!!!

To waste time and fear I asked my little children to imagine something nice and tell me about it. Salma imagined a castle where we were all princess, and have lots of jewelry. Sarah, imagined " aksef" in her words, a shelling, While Mohammed imagined that Israeli soldiers came to our house, so he puts them all in the washing machine with lots of detergents to clean their hearts ,

Finally we had the electricity back since yesterday, for three hours only which means to stay the rest of the day with no TV to amuse the kids, no refrigerator to preserve the food or to ice the water to drink after 15 hours of fasting, no pumping of water into the tanks, nothing, a complete paralyzed life.

still awake since last night, could not sleep after seeing the horrible images of the killed in the streets, pain overwhelmed my soul, and squeezed my heart. Spent the whole night closing the ears of my little Sarah and Mohammed and holding the hand of Salma whose attempt of being courageous had failed her. After receiving many phone calls from the IDF asking us to leave the house, my kids became so pale though I explained to them that it is a recorded massage, I wish I could hide you in my heart my little angles, but my heart is so weak to hold you inside, full of anger, bitterness and pain that could misshape your purity, I wish i could hold in my eyes, but images kept their might hurt your childhood... forgive my angles for bringing you to a world that is full of deception, pain, and ugliness — feeling pained.


July 20

"My little Sarah finally admits she gets scared when she hears the F16s and the shelling. When the electricity came on briefly I turned on the TV so she could watch a children programme. But Sarah, 4, and Mohammed, 6, refused - they only wanted news channels to see the news. What can I say....May Allah have mercy on us all." - Najwa Sheikh, a mother in Gaza

The Jews proved that they will never change, from Sabra & Shatilla, deir Yassin, and many other massacres, with the recent one Al Shajeya one. A Genocide against Palestinians. The images of the killed lying in the streets, women aimlessly running, and children faces are full of terror, this is the democracy that USA seeks and Israel is implementing... feeling disgusted

Still sleeping at the Salon with my five kids, my sister in law kids and my husband's niece, it is horrible as a mother to see the scary looks at their eyes when a missile hits nearby.... I cant handle this pain any more, Oh world, please wake up, unite and say the truth, expose it, and help the opressed

Day 14 of the third war on Gaza, hundreds of injuries every where, continuous shelling, sever targeting of civilians houses in the north, west and east areas of Gaza, a complete genocide war against civilians. Nothing left that could be done, except sincere prayers for the little angels to be safe. My little Sarah finally admits that she got so scared when she hears the F16 and to shelling. Only half an a hour ago the electricity was on again only for three hours, I put on the TV for the children for a change, on children programmes, but Sarah 4 years and Mohammed 6 years refused to listen, they wanted news channels to see the news. What can I say.... May Allah have mercy on us all.

This is what our children in Gaza are keeping in their minds, this is the memories they will hold forever, and this is what will form what they will be in the future....

children crying after 4 killed on beach (521K)

what is happening in Gaza now is bringing shame on those who claim that they are the defenders of democracy, martyrs are in the streets of Al Shejaea' area, paramedics are targeted, RC could not respond to the appeals of people asking for help, people, families, women and children are all targeted, no place is safe. The Israelis are creating more tools terrifying the children while they are sleeping, today at 2:30 in the morning at the Sohour time, the F16 flies low with its loud sound shaking everything, my little kids were suddenly on between my arms, I still could not realize how.... The martyrs are now peacefully in Janna, but we those who still a life had to pass through these terrifying moments.

My son yesterday hoped that the IDF would collect us in one place and send a nuclear weapon that might end our pain.

July 19 I could be in your place, so please do not cry

Do not cry my sister, your baby is safe now, lives in peace, enjoy love, plays in heaven with little angels. Do not cry, pray for Allah to give you peace and patience. woman hugging dead infant (420K)

It is the 13th day of the war, being trapped inside the house is tiring, the kids become so nervous, they want to enjoy their time, to go out, to visit their friends and relatives but on the contrary, they are imprisoned. Even the TV can not help since electricity is only for 3 hours due to targeting some of the main lines. Nothing is easy, hopes to end this soon. Playing in the yard is a threat since in many cases Israeli drones targeted children in their houses. Today we receive two recorded calls by the IDF asking us to leave the area to a safer one, its so funny how polite and human they sound in this recorded call.

Yesterday I watched a report on the TV about the military pilots of the F16, and how they make sure that no civilians are injured during their raids, and that they make sure that they count the members of the family they are targeting their house, yah sure, and this is why there are many families who were found barried under the rubble of their houses

July 18

Voices of the Najwa Sheikh' family played at rally for Palestine in Hartford, CT

Its now 1:30 Friday morning, I finally managed to force the kids to sleep after hearing many explosions around by the Israelis F16, the situation is escalating, a ground operation is currently ongoing on the areas next to the borders, there is no signs of any expected truce.

People are freaked out, many families ring received recoded threats by the Israelis of evacuating their houses including us, and to flee to more safe zones where I my self is not sure if these zones really exist since no safe zones in Gaza where every place is a threat for the Israelis hence targeted.

It is the 11th day of the war, I am writing on the light of the laptop where electricity had been off since 4 pm of yesterday. It is really hard to keep your sanity in such circumstances.

I admit I am shaking, scary thoughts and scenarios are racing to conquer my exhausted mind. The scenarios of "what if", what if a missile hits next to my house, what if the kids were injured, what if they get killed, what I am going to do, what if we received a phone call to evacuate our house in only two minutes, what should I take, what should I leave?!!.

People are advising of collecting the important paper and certificates in a small bag to take in if you had to pass through such a situation, I wonder if this could help!!, if some papers can alleviate the pain, or compensate the status of loss and bitterness that I would feel later.

What is the benefit of some papers if it can not give the right of existence, right to be recognized as a human being, and this is why I do not take this advice, what I am actually thinking of to prepare a small bag of each one of my kids containing their best toys, a thing that can bring them a joy among this madness.

The stories of this war are much similar to the stories of the previous ones "2008-2009 and 2012", underestimating the lives of innocent people becomes a trend, 100 fatalities, 200, 2000, it does not matter how much the number will rise, since people in Gaza are considered numbers to be reported on the media, ignoring all the stories in the lives of these numbers.

Looking at the faces of my little angles sleeping peacefully making me pray for their safety since surely they deserve to have a life.

Najwa sheikh -Friday 18/7/2014




July 17

Flashing lights in the sky,sharp whistles followed by explosions, this is what we are experiencing now in all the Gaza strip

Falling in darkness, hearing the sounds of the drones and F16s, and the explosions which sake every things even the inside of us, it is not easy to be a mother in Gaza, it is not easy to live a normal life while we are not beasts, we are human beings who are forced to live this life, to be exposed to hatred and genocide.

five missals hit the area, my kids are so pale and terrified plus the nieces of my husband who fled to our house seeking safety !!!! what should I do

squeezed among five kids trying to comfort them while I am shaking full of anger, this is not a life,my little sarah slept out of fear, please Allah save us all and have mercy on us.

Heavy shelling by the Israeli war planes, and war ships shaking every thing, the kids are so terrified:( May Allah save us all

The 4 children killed while playing at the beach by an Israeli fire... sleeping peacefully while the whole world is letting them down with many other oppressed families

4 children yellow burial robes (482K)

share if you care, expose the truth, Israeli war on Gaza is not a self defense its agenoside Timeline of how the four children of Baker Family were hit by #Israel! A shack was hit near them, they ran, then they got hit! Its deliberate! #Gaza #GazaUnderAttack

Omar Ghraieb

4 children killed red circled (674K)




July 16

sleepy arab legislators (490K)

Mom are we going to die, are the Israelis able to target our house,Am I going to be killed, where we are going to hide, will we feel any pain if the bombing was in our house, I don't want to be killed, why the Israelis are killing us, are we bad people, will you cry if I die, Are Sarah and Salma will be killed too, please Mom don't go upstairs, the drones will see you, please ask father to stay around, don't put the lights off, sleep next to me, don't leave me alone...... Every day story before going to sleep, May Allah protect us all. — feeling sad.




July 15

Click on image to hear interview

struggle podcast logo (28K)

Najwa Sheikh interviewed July 15, 2014 in her home in Nuseirat camp, Gaza Strip as drones fly overhead. She describes the physical damage to the camp and Gaza and the mental suffering especially to her children. Heart rending explanation of why she gave end of Ramadan presents to her children weeks early.
from 2008

"I spoke with him a little, but when he sees me he begins to cry … the situation in Sderot in general is very difficult, and I do not know how we can continue, how we can stay in the city."

- Sderot resident Rima Haimov, whose ten-year-old son Yossi was wounded by a Qassam rocket. (“Doctors save hand of Sderot boy hurt by Qassam; 4 Palestinians killed in Gaza,” Haaretz, 26 February  2008)

Dear Rima Haimov,

When I read your words the only thing I can say is that I feel sorry for your son, and that I can understand you as a mother and the traumatic events that your child is experiencing. I cannot deny the fact that life becomes very difficult in such circumstances when you realize that you and your family are in danger at any moment; I fully understand your worries, your feelings and concerns. I am addressing this letter to you with the hope that you will understand my pain too.

Like I feel sorry for your son, I feel sorry for my Palestinian children who are born and will die in Gaza, unable to have the chance of seeing other worlds, and who have to face F-16s, Apache helicopters and the Israeli army’s brutal invasions into Gaza. However, my children are not fortunate enough to have the excellent medical care that your son has. My children do not have the chance to run to a shelter and there is no alarm to tell them that there is a strike coming. My children cannot be guaranteed the love and care that your son found because all of their family might be killed in one strike, they might witness the death of their parents, or any of their dear family members as the Palestinians are targeted everywhere, even in their homes and among their children.

My children cannot find the counseling that your child will have to help him deal with his appalling experience. They have to keep their pain inside them, and recall it day after day. Even in their dreams they suffer from remembering the things they have witnessed.

My children are not children anymore; they lost their innocence and are forced to act like adults so they can protect themselves. They no longer cry to their parents because they realize that even adults are scared and also need comfort and security. Instead they swallow their pain and deal with it on their own.

When your child is sick or injured he has the chance to go to the best  hospitals to receive treatment while my children have to live with their pain and injuries because they cannot go to a good hospital like you have in Israel. In Gaza, they can only wait for the pain to pass or count the days waiting for the end. They have learned how to face death fearlessly, because they hope to find justice and a better life in heaven.

While your child enjoys his new schoolbooks, my children have to use old, disreputable books because the borders are closed and even schoolbooks cannot be brought in.

My children have to face the extreme temperatures because of the electricity cuts. They cannot enjoy sitting in front of the electric heater in winter or the fan in summer. Â While you as a mother can plan for your child’s future, I cannot because my child is locked in a prison called Gaza, and he cannot dream of having the chance to receive a better education and work outside of Gaza.

While you as a mother can give your child all the promises of a better life, I can not give my child these guarantees, simply because we are both eligible to die in any moment by an Israeli strike, without any plans, dreams, nothing.

After all of this do you think that my children deserve their pain only because they are born to Palestinian parents? Do you think it is fair that they are treated in this way? Is it fair to be subjected to the sanctions that your government has imposed on us? I hope you can understand my pain too.

Sincerely,
Najwa Sheikh

Najwa Sheikh is a Palestinian refugee from al-Majdal located just north of the Gaza Strip. Shiekh has lived in refugee camps in Gaza her entire life where she is married and has three children.