The Catastrophe of Losing Everything You Own (July Story Journal: Gaza)

Guest writer: Kamal* from Gaza

We received warnings from the Israeli military that our whole area in northern Gaza must evacuate. I left home with my wife and seven children and took shelter in the Oxfam office. I thought that would be a safe place for my children, but there were airstrikes even just 30 metres away from the office.

Where to go? We don’t have any safe place. Even if we want to leave Gaza, all the crossings are closed. This is the third round of military operations we have experienced in the past six years. My 12 year old son is still traumatized from the last one and refuses to be alone. My children will need years to clean their memory of these awful experiences.

We want to live. What does it mean to be alive? It means living in peace and seeing those you love happy and enjoying their life. I keep thinking not only about my children but also about my relatives, friends and colleagues. I am so worried about all of them. Life should not be like this.

I made one of the hardest decisions of my life when I fled my house, leaving my brother and mother there. She refused to leave. She said this was where she lived and this was where she wanted to die. I am here in the Oxfam office but my heart is there with them.

I say this is enough. I want this to stop, not for me but for my children. I have been doing anything possible to provide my children with all means to have a good life. My duty is supposed to be making my children happy and live with dignity, help them plan for their future. Now I cannot do my duty towards them.

At least in the Oxfam office I found a place to stay – others have no place at all to go. My 90 year old uncle is sheltering in a school. Most of the people in my area make their living from animal farming – but many of their animals are now dead and missing. Losing all your resources can be catastrophic.

Destruction in Gaza. Photo: Iyad al Baba/Oxfam
Destruction in Gaza. Photo: Iyad al Baba/Oxfam


*Given the circumstances, I am only posting this author’s first name. Thanks to Keren Simons for sharing this story.