struggle for freedom

On the return to Gaza from visiting families living in tents and other families whose lives have been dramatically altered by the Israeli war on Gaza, the taxi driver nonchalantly shares his own problems.

“My son is 18 and deaf. He went to a school for the deaf and, thankfully, got an education. But after high school he had to stop studying. Now he mainly stays at home. He tries to help out, tries to add to our income. Sometimes he’ll bring water to people in the area for 1 shekel a piece. Sometimes he’ll move or carry things for them.|

I ask about his deafness and his answer reminds me of Nidal, who we have just left.

“He was a normal child. He wasn’t born deaf. But during the Intifada we were always under curfew [lockdown: no one leaves their homes, this can last for days, over a week. There are still regular lockdowns imposed on occupied West Bank villages and cities by the Israeli occupying forces].

He was just an infant then, and he developed a fever. The Israelis wouldn’t let us leave our house to take him to a doctor, and wouldn’t let a doctor come to him. He got worse and the fever went to his brain. He lost his hearing as a result.”

The driver bears his family’s suffering as well as most Palestinians do, telling his story as though he were telling that of someone he read about. Whatever parental pain he might be feeling is hidden beneath layers of resilience and resolute persistence under the harsh conditions of an economy-shattered, massacred Strip.

*Tel el Hawa, Gaza City: resistance graffiti, near the Israeli-destroyed Minsistry complex, bombarded multiple times by Israeli warplanes during Israel’s massacre of Gaza one year ago

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