Just a tad detached from reality.
Gaza is a tough place; it’s tiny, overcrowded and besieged. But the people are kind. The food is delicious, and the beach, though filthy, allows us to pretend that we’re free. The sunset at sea is a spectacular scene, despite the Israeli warships dotting the landscape. Take a stroll down the street, and you’ll meet vendors, mostly young children hawking their wares. Take a taxi, and by the time you get off, you’ll be exchanging phone numbers with your newest friend, the taxi driver.
Our markets are complete chaos, an experience for all five senses. Rush hour is when school children, dressed in UNRWA uniforms or Barcelona and Real Madrid t-shirts, finish classes and flood the streets on their way back home. It is when I realize how young Gaza’s population is. Night is as lively a time as daytime. Smoke shisha at a beach or downtown café or chill with the family. The people in Gaza, too, are humans.
But this isn’t the scene in Gaza anymore. The streets are deserted, and so is the beach. Schools have become makeshift shelters crammed with displaced people fleeing death to a supposedly safer place. The beautiful noise of life has been replaced by a horrid one of death. Drones are humming overhead, and jet fighters are roaring. […]
A ceasefire might be negotiated and agreed upon. Hamas might soon stop firing rockets, but then will Israel cease to exercise its violence against Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank on a daily basis? The reality is that if Palestinians stop resisting, Israel won’t stop occupying, as its leaders repeatedly affirm. The besieged Jews of the Warsaw ghetto had a motto “to live and die in dignity.” As I sit in my own besieged ghetto, I think how Palestinians have honored this universal value. We live in dignity and we die in dignity, refusing to accept subjugation.