Palestinians are expert at this, with over 6 decades of practice at getting on with life after tragedies.
As I’m riding in a taxi two days ago after sunset, the Israeli massacre of Flotilla passengers on every radio and tv channel, the driver starts to chat.
“Allah yerhamum, God bless their souls,” he begins. He is friendly but expressionless, doesn’t smile and has fatigue written on his face.
“I’ve got 9 martyrs in my family,” he states, same voice, same expression, barely glancing my way.
Allah yerhamum, I reply, and begin to learn the details.
He lives just before Deir al Balah, the cental coastal town, and his loved ones were murdered in the brutal ways so many perished from during the Israeli massacre on Gaza last year.
Mohammed (45) and his son Suheil (14) and daughter (18) were the first killed, although the 9 were all slaughtered in the same period of time.
“We live near the coast, there was heavy shooting and shelling from the sea,” he explains. I remember it well, remember that all along Gaza’s coast homes, hotels, restaurants (mostly empty anyway) were evacuated. Many were bombed, by F-16s, drones, or from gunboats on the sea.
“After the first missile killed Mohammed and his kids, more missiles fell.”
The driver lost many of his brothers and first cousins in the bombings. He lists their names and ages, carefully, staring ahead.
“After they were killed, ambulances couldn’t reach us. When I tried to go out to collect the injured or the dead, the Israelis shot at me. It was over three hours before an ambulance could get to us.”
He describes one brother who is living, but just barely. Shrapnel to the head and arm, he motions how his brother’s head was torn open. The shrapnel to his wife’s face disfigured her, but she has undergone plastic surgery and healed well.
At no point does he implore for help or ask for anything. He just talks, tells me what I’ve heard from so many Palestinians over the last year and a half.