“Guys, pray for my mum! pray for my mom! our house has been bombed” – this voice message in tremor and panic will never leave my memory. It was a message left by our friend Rewa to our students WhatsApp group. Since May 10, our group of 212 friends on WhatsApp has been transformed from discussing academic matters, to a source of information about bombings, injuries, survivors and death.
The haunting message from Rewa reduced many to tears, as we felt helpless and unable to respond or offer comfort. As we waited for the phone to ping with more information, the tension was unbearable. After a few minutes, we received another message informing us that her mother was injured but there were tragedies. Rawa’s pregnant sister-in-law, Guy with her 2-year-old baby were killed.
The message numbed our senses and what seemed after a lifetime I broke down into tears. The messages of sympathy and offer to help started flooding the inbox. It is surreal, but despite the dangers, the students risked going out to give a helping hand. When danger is all around you what drives to survival is the thought that you can be of help to someone else.
When we spoke to Rewa she informed that two F16 missiles targeted her house without warning. She was at one moment sitting on the sofa with her brother, the next moment all hell broke loose. There was a loud sound, dust falling and a fire. She says I started calling “mom, mom”. As the rubble was falling on us we were forced to get out of the house. She says, “as I saw the house I lost all hope of seeing my mum and could not understand how I survived”.
Rewa has lost everything and like most people who have their homes bombed they don’t care much about the material loss. But the loss of innocent family members is unbearable. Israeli attacks has scarred hundreds of thousands in Gaza. The siege of Gaza and routine bombardments has not only physically devastated Gaza but emotionally traumatized its population. We are desperately in need for the international community to help us escape this trauma. We only ask to be treated as humans.