A visit to Jabliya to see my friends in the Ezbet Abed Rabbo region. Aboud (above) seems to be improving from his post-war trauma, as slowly does B, the teenage sister of my friends. Today’s visit was to catch up with them, but also to see the latest addition to the extended family.
Abdel Hakim, born roughly 1 month ago, is healthy and faring well, contrary to my concerns. I’d worried about his mother’s health, pregnant and stressed during the massacre. Another friend had had a miscarriage, and many pregnant women were having premature babies…
As we sat outside, in shade and breeze, and talked –she, her father-in-law, my friend, his friends…her oldest son came and asked to hold the newborn. Contrary to practices I’ve known from home, children here are encouraged to hold and care for their siblings.
“I showed him how to balance a baby in his arms, how to hold its head carefully, how to rock him to sleep. He loves holding his little brother,” she told me. And everywhere I go, I see little kids, not much older than their siblings, delicately caring for their precious younger brother or sister. It seems this would forge a closer bond than otherwise, the older sibling parentally taking an interest in the younger’s well-being.
*Abdullah, during the attacks. He remained very distressed, nervous and showing signs of post-traumatic stress for the 6 months after the massacre. Only now is he beginning to seem slightly improved.