In the Heart of Destruction, Gaza's Young Ones Crave Justice and Revenge! Featured

“The time in Gaza is not a neutral element; it doesn't lead people to contemplation but pushes them to explode and collide with reality. Time there doesn't turn children from childhood to old age; instead, it turns them into men in their first encounter with the enemy.” These words are taken from a prose poem by the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, written over 15 years ago. They vividly depict the resilience of Gaza, its people, and its children resonating anew amid the events of the “Al-Aqsa Flood” battle and the ruthless “Israeli” aggression on the Strip. It's as if the poet was foretelling the future while writing his poem.

When we speak of a child in Gaza, it's far from the stereotypical image in our minds of ordinary children's lives. This is not a child who chooses their own toys from among dolls, nor is it a child who falls asleep to their mother's bedtime stories. This is not a child whose meals are carefully prepared with high nutritional value or who is eagerly waiting for the bus outside their home to take them to school.

The child in Gaza has grown up amidst the oppressive blockade, choking the land and depriving it of the essentials of life. Under the ruthless occupation that controls even the tiniest drops of drinking water supply.

This is a child who knows the meaning of pain and loss. Not a single child in Gaza has been spared the scenes of successive wars on the Strip, each one accompanied by their mother's embrace, fearing the buzzing of planes, the sounds of destruction, the smell of smoke, and the mourning of the martyrs.

 The child in Gaza has grown up amidst the blockade, suffocating its land and depriving it of life’s essentials

 One of the children in Gaza was asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” His striking, chilling response was, “The little ones here don't grow up.” Just like that, he was able to reflect the perspective of the children on the life they navigate along with their shattered dreams.

Gaza has nearly a million children, as those under 15 constitute approximately 40% of the population in the Strip, according to “UNICEF” estimates. Health Ministry statistics in Gaza indicate that 9,000 children have been martyred, with children and women making up 70% of the 7,000 missing persons. The World Health Organization has estimated that 160 children have died daily in the past month, not to mention the thousands of children injured due to destructive bombings.

Hundreds of newborns have died due to the absence of incubators, and more than a thousand children have undergone amputation surgeries.

The children in Gaza can be found in a long line, holding a bowl to receive a handful of rice or flour to give to their grieving mothers, which will serve as their sustenance throughout the day, or clutching an empty bottle, searching for drops of uncontaminated water to quench their thirst. Often, they resort to drinking polluted water, making the children of Gaza vulnerable to epidemics, Intestinal diseases, and skin infections.

“There is no safe place in Gaza” has become the stark reality seen by every child in the Strip. Safety is no longer an option, even if they seek refuge in a mosque, church, hospital, or school. Every inch of the land has become a target, and the father's embrace is no longer a secure haven, as this fortified fortress may crumble at any moment.


Children of Resilience

Amidst this misery and hardship, the young ones in Gaza experience a unique condition not shared by other children worldwide, for they have gotten accustomed to severe adversity. Rockets fall around them at night, and they play in their craters in the morning. They have surpassed the initial shock of losing loved ones, now speaking of their casualties as if they have traveled away and not perished!


Children in Gaza are experiencing a unique state, unlike any other, for they have gotten accustomed to the severe calamities they face

 Look into the eyes of Gaza's children, filled with helplessness, sadness, and terror from the beginning of the aggression, now reflecting defiance in the face of death, resentment towards their enemies, and a desire to join their loved ones.

Children in Gaza have been brought up under the eyes of Allah, raised by Him through trials and hardships, enduring what humans could not bear. They have become bearers of a cause, with some acting as journalists, conveying news of the aggression and the people's conditions to the world. Who instilled in them this sense of public responsibility?

Remarkably, a child barely over ten years old, being tended to in the hospital, reassures them, saying, “I'm fine; there's nothing wrong with me.” What kind of child is this, and what spirit does he carry?

Another girl, around 8 years old, asks the paramedics in the hospital to first attend to the injuries of her brother and her family. Who taught her this selflessness, sacrifice, and sense of responsibility?

Yet another child says that they are not leaving their land, regardless of what the Zionists do to them, speaking of martyrdom or victory!

In the midst of such continuous aggression that spares nothing, it is natural for the child's focus and concern to be on the destruction that befell them, their families, and their land, not on the aggressor. However, in Gaza, the situation is different. The child is aware of what is happening, understands the nature of war, recognizes their enemies and their goals, and comprehends the Zionist hostility towards their homeland. But how did they reach this level of awareness?


Await for Revenge

The direct answer lies in what their innocent, clean slate memory has stored of the crimes of the Zionist enemy. They grew up questioning every deficiency, every loss, and every ruin, only to find that the answer is always one: the Zionist enemy.

The awareness of fathers and mothers in Gaza about the cause, the nature of the conflict, and Gaza standing in the face of the Zionists' attempt to swallow Palestine has naturally transferred to their children. Every child in Gaza knows who’s their enemy—the one responsible for the destruction.

 The occupation has filled every child in Gaza with revenge, as the scenes of their loved ones deaths are vividly imprinted in their memories

The occupation committed its greatest stupidity by instilling in every child in Gaza a sense of vengeance. Scenes of their killed loved ones will remain etched in their eyes. They will not forget a father lost under the rubble, a mother who died while embracing their infant sibling, a sibling whose remains were gathered, or a friend who once shared dreams and childhood joy but now became a mere memory.

This aggression has created a generation that knows no fear. In the past, Muslim leaders used to terrorize their enemies with the message, “I bring you men who love death as much as you love life.” The ultimate fear for humans is death, but what if the one before you doesn’t fear death but instead sees it as rest and a reunion with loved ones?

Some empathizers speak of the need for psychological treatment for the children of Gaza, but with the continuous onslaught, destruction, and martyrs, I believe that Gaza's children have surpassed such matters today. Their psyche has been shaped based on the understanding that there is no remedy for them except revenge and retaliation against the Zionist enemy.



Read the Article in Arabic


Last modified on Sunday, 10 March 2024 11:30