A day in an abandoned memory: Gaza

A day in an abandoned memory

I stumbled into this facebook note from the Memories and thanks to facebook things are carefully organized for the passing moments of our lives in an order that maybe Mark decides). By all means, its invaluable to come across what I called back then a day in my abandoned memory. As I started reading it, the emotions I had on that day flashed back like a thunder striking an unexpected light. It was the first time for me to visit Gaza since I was a child. Gaza was recovering from another vicious aggression that took place a couple of years earlier (2008-9). I was lucky to have the opportunity to make that visit. It was with the accompaniment of the Italian diplomatic staff, so it was not what a regular person would necessarily experience. As I visited Gaza some years later with my work, with the capacity of Human Rights organizations, I realized, of course, the difference. I have to say I always realize the difference. My Italian encounter was too privileged on many levels comparing it to what I know of my life, and yet, it showed me life through two different angles. I am lucky to have the chance to have such an opportunity to delve into the different layers of human kind. Anyway, what remains remarkable for me here is my own emotions. Experiencing things through a glass shield. Somehow it was true, I was most of the time in an armored car pacing out the existence before my eyes with gaze. Everything seemed beyond what I can realize as reality, and yet it was all real.. A kind of reality that is closer to my own reality as a Palestinian. It is a reality that only oppressed people who live with injustice as an everyday norm can comprehend. Thus, I was there in the safety of a privileged group who came to visit and leave. I had to deal with my feelings through that glass shield. And then let go to my regular life.. That seems at that moment as a heavenly one in comparison. It felt like entering a different time… and yet I needed to remind myself.. it is this time.. and these are your true reflection as a people.

That was 10 years ago…. Sadly… not much has changed.. but my feelings and emotions that went down that car and strolled years later in the streets freely, and allowed myself to embrace that reality and capture the beauty that lies within despair.


Entering a different time zone ,after striding a kilometer or so inside a tunnel of pre-existing spaceship that belonged to an outer space of a famous Hollywood creation ….Gaza welcomes me with some vague memories of a time i don’t know if they have ever exist . 

A city of a strange  existence … people weirdly moving in all directions and no directions in what should be called roads ..i am not sure if i am in this day on this date of this century , or is it a day and date of previous decades in another century that history has dwelled . 

Donkeys visibly taking the streets , in which seems a major mean of transportation . Another funny tuktoks as they call , some small motorbikes attached with trolleys . A challenging competition between the donkeys and the trolly attached motorbikes all over the city . Cars I remember back to my memory of Gaza as a child visiting with my father and family … At some point I saw in front of me the memory of a fading past so visible.. it was so confusing .. except that I grew since then thirty years . 

The thirty years of the older woman I became from that child back then , could have added to me some maturity and beauty that evolves by age …. Something that in this part of the world women don’t grow to become more beautiful , but exhausted and drained from life burdens and frustrations and above all patriarchal system abuses that made them overgrow their age and their beauty. This city seemed like a woman i wanted to escape from becoming some years ago . 

Women walking veiled , young women carrying infants in this rainy day , a scene that so remarkable to see .. I was noticing a woman out of every three walking with an infant cuddled in her arms . Posters of martyrs occasionally decorating the streets with green flags  , slogans on every wall and empty space …except on some walls that belonged to the “police street” . Mosques built in different colored domes ,some unmodified architecture that reminded me of Afghanistan .

A gracious sea standing so powerful and grey , with high waves and angry moves ,attached to a mixed grayish sky . another long scene of a fantasized memory of a sea that can embrace a lover’s dream ,and yet , it was a deserted beach with haunted memories of an exiled nation , hanged from both sides in refugee camps with steel sheds and mud structure. watching carefully from the top of the other side of the scene , refusing and agitating any form of acceptance to a normal sea . 

After touring the city …..long and mixed with destroyed plantations and obscure rubbles … of huge buildings that have been marked with bomb shots and sheds. strange meaning of survival ….movements unharmonized and so often meaningless and definitely hopeless inside an encircled city that spins around itself …i found myself again crossing the twilight zone through the open passage that is wired by steel and enclaved by a cement wall … cockroaches speeding and crushed by un-noticing eyes … all desperately moving that passage of de-existence … entering inside a series censored boxes and steeled doors , buzzing in red and green , scanned by machines and monitored by some observers from a higher floor through a distance ….

Finally out … to another day of occupation .

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