By: Hala Alsafadi
a. Invasion, conquest, and control of a nation or territory by foreign armed forces.
b. The military government exercising control over an occupied nation or territory.
However, Occupation to Palestinians has a total different definition than that in the dictionaries, for it means Humiliation and Suffering and Victims and Dark Nights and Funerals and Bloodshed and Injustice and Tyranny and Isolation and Destruction and Homesickness and Alienation and Wars and Aggression and Violence and Siege and Inhumanity and Imprisonment and Death.
He knew exactly what occupation means without the need of going back to the pages of dictionaries in order to double check. He actually knew that the definition found in the dictionary does not satisfy him.
He was a young man with a dream of living a “normal” life just like all other “normal” people all over the globe who think that occupation cannot be defined in better words than those found in the dictionary.
He was born in June 19th, 1970 in the city of Gaza in a family consisting of four members and his widowed mother. He never got to know his father, for he was martyred when He was five. Even though He was the youngest, his dreams were the hugest dreams among all his siblings. He believed in himself and knew He can do whatever He sets his mind to. All one needed to do in order to get to know him more was to look into his eyes. Doing that would be enough to figure out how honest, smart, and ambitious He was. He succeeded in achieving many of his goals; however, how long can happiness, satisfaction, and success last in a place where occupation existed?
Sooner than He thought, everything He built started to be wiped out right in front of his eyes while He was moving through his life motionless, speechless, and helpless. The Israeli Occupation did, indeed, destroy that ambitious man and shatter all his dreams. The man who was looking forward to his future and life hopelessly turned his back to life knowing that He is left mentally dead, and physically vulnerable.
1. An effort to cut off food, supplies, war material or communications from a particular area by force, either in part or totally.
2. The isolation of a nation, area, city, or harbor by hostile ships or forces in order to prevent the entrance and exit of traffic and commerce.
To Palestinians, Blockade, categorically, is way more than “no food, cars, internet and mobile connections, and construction supplies.” To Him, it meant unemployment, loans, debts, loss, and loneliness. The supplies He needed as an engineer in his construction work were cut off for more than three years; therefore, He could not do any work. Thus, he gave up on many of the signed contracts. Eventually, He was unemployed and started to lose all his work contracts, therefore, became broke. He did not give up, yet. He never thought that He would end up in such a way. He decided to take a loan so that He would be able to start over from scratch and work again. But the blockade does not really care for those who try to start over, for occupation does not have mercy. He kept on losing more money till He ended up in more debts that any time before. (more…)
By: Hala Alsafadi
On the behalf of many Gazans, I am deeply sorry that some heartless Gazans are treating you this way. We are ashamed of those Gazans.
Upon hearing the news of the abduction of Vittorio Utopia Arrigoni, the Italian Journalist and humanitarian in Gaza, I could not help it but start crying. I remembered him coming over to our house many times before. He is my brother’s best friend who actually turned out to be a family friend. Everyone loves him in my family, for he is a person who makes you proud.
Vittorio or let me call him with his nickname “ Vik” came to Gaza as a young man who decided to devote himself for the Palestinian case. He is considered a “terrorist” by Israel and was actually forced to leave Gaza once before; however, he made it back again to Gaza through the tunnels. He is a pure humanitarian who insists on letting people know the real misery and situation in Gaza. Vik is not just a journalist that is in Gaza seeking the truth, but he is also a part of Gaza and Gazans. He has done many things for the sake of Gaza more than pure Gazans. I cannot forget how he has always made of himself a human shield by joining the farmers in the buffer zones that get shot by Israelis almost every day. He has always joined the Gazan fishermen who might get shot by Israeli boats in the sea anytime. He was ready to die for us. He was ready to die for Palestine. He was ready to die for Gaza. Is that how we are supposed to pay him back?
I will not be exaggerating when I say that almost everyone in Gaza LOVES Vik, even the waiters in coffee shops and restaurants talk about him and love him, for he is always friendly to everyone. Whenever he is there, people just love him. Vik is as Gazan as I am and he deserves to be among us free. He has offered Gaza many things more that those who kidnapped him. I myself envy him every time I see him, for he is way better than me and he is actually doing many things for my country and for humanity that I myself cannot do. He is one of the best people I have ever got to know. You do not find many people who are ready to give up living in peace and decide to live among Gazans who suffer on a daily basis from the Israeli closure, killing, and destruction. This guy left his family, friends, and country behind him in order to live in Gaza and help Gazans. I refuse to address him as a journalist since he is a journalist and first of all a HUMANITARIAN in an age where humanity does not exist no more.
The Salafist organization in Gaza is not speaking on the behalf of Gazans. Islam does not approve what they are doing. Those Salafists are ruining the image of Islam and Palestinians. They are not reflecting who we really are.
If anyone would give it a second thought, one would realize that those ignorant barbarous animals are giving all reasons to Israel to declare war on Gaza. They are just making it easier for Israel to accuse Gazans of being “terrorists”, therefore, win the European and American sympathy once and for all.
Gazans are against what is happening to Vittorio right now. We all demand his release. We want him back among us. We are all angry and we will go down to the streets demanding his release and the punishment of those ugly creatures that kidnapped him.
Sorry for any misspellings or grammatical errors, but I am just writing whatever comes to my mind without giving it a second thought – so excuse me.
By: Hala Alsafadi
After I was done with my classes for today, I went to Remal with a friend. There, I ran into one of my friends who actually told me that they had organized a university students’ demonstration today calling for the end of the division. I told her how my parents do not want me to participate in the demonstration tomorrow, for they think it is really dodgy. However, she actually told me to do all I can to be there saying “ Hala, you must be there.”
Well, yeah! I so want to be there and I have to come up with a scenario that would allow me to be among the Palestinians who are calling for the end of the division tomorrow. I gave it a little thought and then I knew my plan. I am going to tell my family that I have to go to AMIDEAST to finish up some work tomorrow ( luckily enough, AMIDEAST is in Al Remal Area where the demonstration is going to take place tomorrow). I really do not like to lie to my parents, but I love to consider it a white lie since I would be very mad if I don’t join the demonstration.
So I got back home. I went directly to my mom’s room in hope to persuade her that it will not be that dangerous tomorrow since the Students’ Council in The Islamic University ( The school I go to) is going to be there. With that fake smile I had to put on, I was trying to convince her not to worry about me and that everything is going to be fine tomorrow. Nevertheless, she is a mom after all and she can easily figure out that I was lying. Well, I couldn’t help it but tell her that YES, I want to go and you should not be telling me not to go. Unfortunately, that did make her mad and she actually informed me that my dad is to pick me up as soon as I finish my classes tomorrow. No work + No university after 11 = No way I can go tomorrow. 😦
I left to my room to sleep and try to come up with an excuse that would make my family give me the bright green light. I think that was too hard that I just fell asleep losing hope in stepping outside the house tomorrow.
Once I woke up, I went on Skype to talk to my friend. While we were having a real talk, my mom came to my room asking me if I want to go with her to Al Jundi Square since people had already started demonstrating. Unquestionably, I just felt like my mom wants to see my reaction. I asked her if she was just picking on me, but then my dad told me that if I want to go, I can go! Upon hearing his words, I was beyond happy. I couldn’t believe that they are okey with it now. It felt like I have already won a revolution! I got ready in less than five minutes and I was good to go. I went along with my mother and younger brother who also had stars in his eyes.
As soon as I stepped out of the car and while walking to Al Jundi Square, I felt so proud of being a Palestinian. Songs calling for the end of the division were played very loudly. I looked at the flags people were raising up high, and I could not help it but feel as though I were over the moon, for I couldn’t see one green, yellow, or red flag no more. They were all holding the Palestinian flags regardless the party they belonged to. For the first time in a very long time, people did not seem to care if the person next to them is pro-Hamas, pro-Fateh, or even party-less. Looking at the people did make me so glad that I felt like saying thank you for every single person who was there at that late time at night. Those people who could not wait till the assigned day , March 15th, to demand the end of the division – those people who are now spending the night at Al Jundi Square counting the hours till they witness the big day.
Even though the demonstration was not well-organized, but one can feel that the leaders are trying their best to put it in order. They were trying to give information and set the rules of the big day tomorrow. Hearing that loud voice from a distance, a man was calling for showing unity by not holding any flag other than the Palestinian flag. He said “ Even if we belong to a specific party, let us leave it behind us tonight. We are here as Palestinians and only Palestinians.”
As I was leaving, I looked back at Al Jundi Square with delight. All I could see were the flags of Palestine raised very high in the far sky; all I could hear were angry Palestinians shouting right out loud“ End The Division”; all I could feel was the pride of being a Palestinian.
I hope tomorrow is going to be the day we have been waiting for since June 2007 since Palestinians do really want to draw an end for the division. We are fed up with it and we want it to end. That’s is why we are demonstrating tomorrow. The first step towards a free Palestine is a unitied Palestine, indeed.
By: Hala Alsafadi
I stood at the window looking outside to come across a black blanket wrapping the whole panorama in front of my eyes touching the horizon line far away from my window. I checked my cell phone to know what time it was. The first though that came up to my mind was that there has been no electricity for the past 8 hours so far! It went off at 3:00 pm, according to the “electricity schedule” we still have some more hours to fill up with time-killers before we let the black blanket slip.
Although black is my much-loved color, I didn’t get pleasure from that black scene not even a bit. It made me feel like Gaza is drowning in its sea. The sea that has witnessed all the Israeli crimes against the innocent Gaza throughout the history. The sea that enfolded the tears of the gloomy sky. None but that sea has cared for those tears which have been falling for a long time now. The sky that recorded in her own diary the history of every blood drop, mothers’ cry, fathers’ concealed tears, and land stealing whilst the voices of those who call for the human rights were kept silent.
The raucous sound of the generator, which I am lucky enough to have, successfully turned my attention back to the light in my house. I got to admit that I cherish the guy who invented the generators but I believe he could have found a better alternative for the gas used to switch it on since gas is a PROBLEM right now in Gaza. If you are wondering why is it so, here is the answer. To make a long story short, most of the gas in Gaza comes from Egypt. Egypt is dealing with its own problems at the moment. Therefore, no tunnels and borders are closed. No Egypt. No Gas. No gas = No electricity. And guess what? People in Gaza have to deal with that one too. It doesn’t surprise me that we are off the news those days and no one cares for or even knows about the crisis happening in Gaza right for the reason that Egypt is under the spot light. (more…)
By: Hala Alsafadi
After a long day at work at AMIDEAST, I and my best buddy, Khalid, walked down the street to stop a cab. By hook or by crook stopping a taxi to Tal Al Hawa can be a pain in the neck. Therefore, Khalid always makes sure that I get in a cab before he leaves home, which is so damn sweet of him
Anyways, he did actually stop me a cab. Once I looked at the driver I was like “ Khalid, I believe this guy is high!” He told me not to get in the cab and he would stop me another one. However, I was really tired and didn’t actually like the idea of waiting God knows how many more minutes to get a ride home. I got in the taxi and I wasn’t shocked to realize that the cab driver has some issues.
The moment I got in the cab, the driver started cursing out Gaza. He complained about the horrible situation he has been living in for the past 5 years. His words made me want to look at his face. I wanted to guess how old that guy was, (more…)
One of the hardest plots of life is losing someone you love. Once love bonds unite you, it would be really hard to break those chains. When life tears people apart, some enjoy, some suffer, some expect the worst, some decide to work it out, some think about it, some cry their eyes out, and simply some just don’t know what to do.
This is the story of life that we, as humans, are forced to deal with. We might lose people we love due to a break up, divorce, problems, or death. I got to admit that all those tragic falls are quite hard, however, death would get all sympathy votes. Going through a break up or a divorce full of problems and leaving behind people you once had lived with and shared with your feelings and thoughts is not fun at all. Nevertheless, such things mostly occur due to an excessive amount of problems which draw an end as a best solution; sooner or later, your life goes on.