Thursday, November 27, 2008

This is Gaza

"Image by David Baldinger

This is Gaza
Amira Hass

If it`s not the power getting cut, leaving entire neighborhoods in darkness, then it`s the water not reaching the top floors or the cooking gas running out. If you have an electric generator, some small part of it is bound to be broken and unfixable, because even before the hermetic three-week siege, Israel prohibited bringing in any spare parts for cars, machines and household electric appliances.

And if you somehow manage to find the money for a generator that was smuggled through the tunnels (its price has doubled or tripled since last month), it`s at the expense of buying a heater (not electric, of course), English lessons, clothes for the children and visits to the doctor.

This is Gaza in November 2008. Just as Gaza is the emptying of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency storehouses and the farmers who sowed and watered, but cannot market, their tomatoes, guavas and strawberries out of the Gaza Strip because Israel forbids it, it is also the calmness with which people receive the sudden darkness and the jokes that there is not much food in the refrigerator to spoil anyway.

Gaza is the ability to tell jokes in any situation, and the burning insult of having no running water for three or four days. And yet, the children go clean and neat to school....