When you don’t have the distraction of electricity –and hence computer–you have time to think about other things.
Like the din of the few generators running in the harra (neighbourhood) or the last gasps of my low budget candle or the calls from mosques throughout the town –and surely the entire Strip –on the over 500 prisoners to be released from Israeli jails today (it’s 7 pm and they still haven’t been released. Another 5000 permanent prisoners, many of them still with 10 or more years of captivity, remained locked up and throughout the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, new prisoners –including youths accused of throwing stones at the heavily-armed Israeli occupation soldiers –are daily abducted from their homes and streets).
A clementine. From Gaza. Juicy, delicious, not picked early and sent halfway around the world. Not long ago Gaza was known for its wonderful citrus fruits, olives and dates. This clementine didn’t come from the Israeli bulldozer-ravaged border areas.
The flashlight my brother gave me: compact, a few dollars at army surplus, and so helpful in these blackouts when one has few candles.
The blankets we are lucky to have, many of them, to make up for the lack of any sort of heating in the house. And my wool socks from home.
The tent families who don’t have enough blankets, candles or likely any wool socks.
The families sitting like me in the dark (candle no more), bored to tears without one of the few pleasures they have: cheap TVs which broadcast cheap Turkish dramas. The majority of families won’t even have this, are listening to battery powered radios or, if lucky, sitting around a fire of bulldozed trees’ sippingh teeth-achingly sweet tea, a small glass per person and a lot of good humour despite it all.
The dark and generator hum lulls into drowsiness. Little left to do but sleep till the power comes back on and the laptop can re-charge.
This is the routine every 3rd evening, with the previous morning and afternoon’s cut power. Instead of planning around family schedules, many plan around power outages.