Photo from the New York Times.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, UN delegates, Goodwill Ambassadors and Messengers of Peace, representatives of Israel and Palestine, fellow Palestinians, our Jewish neighbors, journalists, guests, worldwide observers, ladies and gentlemen:
Maybe you are wondering why I greeted you in Hebrew. Well, that, of course, is probably because I was born and raised a Palestinian. I grew up knowing and practicing Islamic traditions and constantly praying to Allah. I am educated as some of you inside this great assembly hall; in fact, I even received my degree abroad and landed with a good job in my dear motherland.
But that wasn’t my dream. I’ve always wanted to build my own family — to conceive and nurture a child, just like you, just like what my parents did.
And I thought my dream had finally been fulfilled.
Ten months ago, after ten long years of trying, I had this morning sickness, which signified my pregnancy. My husband Mohammed anxiously watched me vomit in the washroom and later accompanied me back to bed.
“I am pregnant,” I said.
He stopped and looked at me intently in my eyes.
“Are you serious?” he asked.
I just smiled.
“Al-hamdu lillāh! Al-hamdu lillāh!” that is, Thanks and Praise to God was all I heard from him that Tuesday morning as he leaped to the door and then hugged me.
That moment was one of the happiest in my entire life. I could see my husband’s tears of joy everytime we went to the local obstetrician for my check-up. I could see his excitement as he announced my pregnancy to my neighbors, even though he learned that our first and perhaps our last child, was a daughter and not a son.
Fast forward to last two months when I was eight months pregnant, the world was bombarded with the news regarding the growing conflict between Israel and Palestine as the former attacked shelters and hit missiles in Gaza. To think of my own safety I was not anymore that shocked, but as for my child, my one and only child, I felt chills going down my spine.
“When will this war end?” I one time whispered to myself.
A month later, inside the delivery room I gave birth to Almas, meaning diamond. Yes, you heard it right ― a diamond ― for she is the most precious of all the blessings that Allah has bestowed upon us. I am thanking Him everyday for giving me the chance to breastfeed her and sleep in my arms. The same goes for showering her all the love and affection that every child needs.
But, just like how precious stones and expensive jewelries were stolen by treasure hunters and thieves, our little Almas was suddenly taken from us, from my own hands, and then placed on the rear of our old, rugged car … and I watched them … I watched them just in front me … those Israelite soldiers and invaders pulled off the AK-47 triggers and there was an earsplitting BANG! I no more can hear her loud cry nor her breathing.
“No … please, stop!” I cried.
A gunner heard me and just grinned. And he pulled again the trigger. BANG!
I felt so impotent and much more when they left. I juggled myself in a corner of our dimly-lit kitchen and wept, spending sleepless nights, waiting for my husband to arrive to at least comfort me, to share my grief.
And I got a piece of news from a friend from Nablus … and I saw the pain in her eyes as she was saying every word, every bit of information.
Mohammad was one of those abducted and killed. Behold, I looked around me and I saw emptiness, until everything slowly went black.
Now I am here in front of you, hungry for justice for the untimely deaths of my beloved.
So let me repeat my question before: When will this war end?
How many innocent children should be victims of genocide for the attainment of peace? How many husbands and wives should mourn over their dead family members? How long should Zionists try to occupy Gaza, our homeland, leaving Palestinians homeless and refugees?
But I am not here to demand another war against you, my Jewish brethren. I demand for peace from both sides. I demand for stopping the immense destruction of Gaza just to get from the Hamas what Israel government wants.
Is it too ideal? Yes, I know, but that’s possible. And I am saying this to you my fellowmen: the bond of Palestinians to protect our land will never be broken, and I am always praying to Allah or to Jewish Yahweh for peace in Gaza.
Peace? Yes. That’s possible. Israel and Hamas, please stop the war. Hold back your missiles and use your funds instead for feeding the hungry stomachs of our countrymen. To the allies of both sides, refrain from sending military support and focus on your own territories. Free the tiny piece of land left for us, Palestinians, and let us live peacefully.
I once dreamed of becoming a mother to my children. But now, I dream in behalf of Palestine for I am her daughter. I dream in behalf of those who grieve over the deaths of their children, husbands, and wives. I dream that someday, war will end and that peace will lastly be achieved.
Only in such way that I can seek justice over my beloved ones’ deaths, and I hope that one day when I die and my soul to goes up to Allah, I’ll truly and gladly tell him that I died in peace due to a disease, not due to my injuries after an airstrike.
Shalom and may peace be with you.
I had written this declamation piece a month ago and sent this to my writing mentors for proofreading. This is maybe outdated because of the on-going truce between Israel and Hamas for long-term ceasefire. Regardless, I am praying continuously for the complete resolution of this conflict and for the total peace in humanity.
This is the “summary in numbers for the war on Gaza, Palestine” according to Mohammed Zeyara’s Facebook page:
*2145 Palestinians killed.
-More than 100 families have more than one family member killed.
-15,670 houses damaged, of them 2276 were completely destroyed.
-190 mosques damaged, of them 70 were completely destroyed.
-140 schools damaged, of them 24 were completely destroyed.
-500,000 civilians were displaced. At least 200,000 took shelter in schools.
*69 Israelis killed. 64 soldiers and five civilians.
Sueju Takeshi 武