My Nakba …After 58 years of Al Nakba
Fadi Abu Sada
The hour was approaching 10:00 at night, and as usual I was updating the Palestine News Network site, with what was the latest news. My child snored quietly in his sleep after a long day playing with the children in the house. At the same time I was keeping my eye on one of the political programs on a satellite channels. This is what I remember.
And in a moment, split seconds, huge explosions began and violent shooting hit near the house. Our home is just meters the expanding Israeli Abu Ghoneim (Har Homa) Settlement and Bethlehem on the other side. Often Bethlehem resistance fighters exchange fire with the settlement. But this time was different because the shooting was thicker, the sound fuller with noisier explosions.
The first thing that flashed through my mind was my child asleep in his bedroom which is in the general direct line of fire when there is an exchange between the Israeli soldiers at the settlement and the Bethlehem area resistance. I ran quickly and seized my small son from his bed, waking him from his free childhood dreams, so that I could put him in a safer place in the house. Usually I chose the kitchen as it is the safest room.
I was thinking that as usual the shooting would stop within moments and life could go back to normal, as with regret I say that this is routine and part of our daily life.
But my thoughts suddenly seemed out of place and I was filled with doubts about what I had become accustomed to because the shooting was increasing with a peculiar sharpness, and the sound of explosions rose in volume. Nothing came to my mind about what was happening outside other than the first night of the war on Iraq when American planes began to rumble through the sky, directing their fire on to what they turned into a battle field.
I felt that I did not possess many choices and that I was not moving quickly enough to decide what to do, considering the time-factor extremely important. I was trying to clear my mind in order to know if I wanted to leave the house and my family, taking a huge risk, in order to see which direction the firing was coming from, still having no idea of the truth of what really was taking place outside.
In my decision-making it came to me alone that I must go outside to the main balcony, directly in the line of fire between Abu Ghoneim’s settlers and Bethlehem. This seemed my only option as to go outside blindly with my entire family was impossible without knowing the exact direction of the shooting.
All of this took place in just a few moments, while the shooting and explosions seemed to be coming from all sides. I began sneaking several meters toward the gate leading to the main balcony, the line of fire, but still sticking to the wall that would soon end and leave me exposed to the line of fire. But at least if I knew, I could make a clear decision.
For a few moments I could see the settlement and what can I describe other than that I found the sky lit up as if it were Doomsday. And then it came to me. I knew what was taking place. And as I stood, still feeling the terror that had seized me, I realized the painful truth that my last moments were in vain. In that moment I did not know whether to laugh at the intensity of my stupidity or to weep from the pain I had felt from what I saw.
But the truth is I could not hold back my tears because I realized then that Israel, through a beautiful display of fireworks in all colors, was lighting the sky. They were celebrating their Independence Day, while I am still living in the Nakba, my Disaster, that I toil to forget, and do often forget. But even if I can and do forget the creation of their state, which is our Nakba, our Disaster for 58 years, they will remind me of it, even in this way.
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