Our friends and colleagues who contributed to The Book of Gaza have been describing the situation on the ground. Here’s a sample of their messages:

From Atef (12 July):

“Dear Ra. we are ok so far. bombing is everywhere, u cannot walk safe in the street, or even saty calm in ur bedroom. sometimes you feel you live by chance, you could die suddenly with no a laert. how many chances are in one’s life.
the other night the F16 bombarded 30 meters away from my place. we all were sleeping in the corridor in the middle of the flat. we beleive that it is the safest place, the broken glass flowded over our bodies. fortunately no one was injured. the kids canot sleep waiting the next bomb. little Jaffa is terribly scared and screaming. always you have to think of a better moment in the future, remember!!!”

From Talal Abu Sharwish (16th July):

“Dear Ra 
I’m very pleased to hear from you..as you know its very important for humans under critical situations to hear from people outside. This makes me feel that we are not alone! […] As im writing i heard extremely painful news: Israel killed 4 kids and 5 were injured on the beach near their houses while they were playing football….! When these crimes will stop??? I look to my family also especially Ghassan 11 years old and Kholoud 12 years old. I encourage them to draw and i published their drawing on fb my page (Talal Abu Shawish).
I hope the future would be more peaceful and safe to all people.
Love and solidarity.”

From Atef (17th July):

we had 5 hours truce, so everybody went out shopping and looking to see what happened around. you smell destruction everywhere, heaps of destroyed houses and places. i liked however how people move and push their life. it looks that that want to continue nonetheless. they accustomed to this may be. but what other choices they have.
the bbc english called me…. and gave me a timing to interview me then they did not do…actually they did it twice with me”

From Mona Abu Sharekh (16th July):

‘hi Ra, yes I am online while hraring souns of bombs around, some of them close and others faraway… I am trying to be ok. by talking to friends and writing my diaries.. no thing else i can do.. my mother refuse to let me go to the hospital to contribute my negative blood becuse there is no place safe here .. they kill people in streets …’

From Mona (early hours of 17th July):

“again, life is postponed.. can you believe that I send my will to my ex-husband regarding our baby!!!!!!!!!!! I myself can’t believe that I did) 
I will keep writing, it is the only way to keep my mind, without writing I become someone else I hate […] I think war will be present in all my works. this is the third war I live, still I remember the first Intifada and I was 17 when the next one aroused. how can I avoid these experiences, hard.. my grandfather was lost in war of 1948, my brother( he was a child of 13 years old) was killed by Israelis in the first Intifada. and I was 7 years old when I Israeli forces breaking into my home after midnight to arrest my father.. and I don’t remember how many times they took the ID of my father because my mother prevented them to enter our home to catch children who throw rockets.. boarder closure, power cut, orphans, widows, how can I neglect all of these victims in my stories?”

From Atef (21 July):

“hi, i am sorry for late response. we have electricity for few hours. max 4 hours. i have to move from my place as a friend of mine was under tank attack in Beit Hanoun and we performed a miracle to get him out with his family, phonecalls to the red cross. we finally managed today at 5pm to get all the family in two ambulances and hosted them in my flat. thus i have to move to the little room in my father in law’s house in Jabalia camp so we give them a space. no there are some 50 persons in my flat.”

From Atef (19th July):

“Ciao Ra, we are ok. waiting the unknown. it is hard to feel helpless and unable to predict what is coming even in little things which relates to ur existence. this feeling makes ur life unbearable. though u have to bear it. 
two nights ago the strikes destroyed the house of my good friend the poet Othman Hussain in Rafah. Othman spent his 30 years of saving in building this 2 stories house in a rural area east of Rafah. i remember that night 3 years ago when we celebrated the new house.. we grilled fish and ate and drank and sang until the down. now even my memories of the moments are broken images amid the destruction.”

From Najlaa Ataalah (20th July):

“The situation in Gaza is worse than ever… Now we just have electricity for a few hours and some areas just have it for [only] 2 hours per day, the sounds of shelling and bombing rip the ear drum and that’s if you are lucky and live little way off the targeted place; if you are any closer the bombing may harvest your beloved friends or family members. Please Ra sends my regards to all who are thinking of Gaza in during nightmare; tell them that we Gazans feel fear and horror just like anyone else in the world, but we don’t have any choice except to bear it till this nightmare is finished.”

From Nayrouz (21 July):

“I try to be okay, but I feel tired due to lack of sleep, and the increased pace of the bombing; every time we get near to achieving calm the parties on either side try to impose new conditions; ultimately it’s the ordinary humans who die… But we are trying to hold out to the end; The warplanes’ try to bomb us out of our humanity, to unbalance us; you know the number of Palestinian martyrs increases constantly, but I will continue to write and share the sorrows of others. The number of hours for using electricity has become less than before. I do not feel reassured, anxiety is on each side. I draw my strength from the far reaches of my imagination, not from here.”

From Najlaa, in the middle of the night (July 24):
“I wish that I could tell you I’m OK. But frankly I’m not, I can’t sleep nor take any rest, I can’t stop thinking: will I be the next target for the warplanes. It is 4:35am here and I don’t know why I’m still awake. Maybe because I want to scream with every breath I have left. Recently they targeted houses in my neighbourhood. Thank God, so far, I’m OK and my family too. […] Hopefully something will happen in coming days that will end the daily massacres.”

From Najlaa, 26 July:

Ra, Im stronger than ever, however last night my sister was in great danger; they were bombing near her house,,, thank god she is still alive today and still has a house….I will continue writing, it is my condolence at the moment…






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