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Is this my House? Intifada diary

Contributed by Terra Sancta School For Girls on 11.03.2006:

Lyn Elias

In the night of the 4th March at 8:30 exactly we heard a noise of an explosion from the F-16 planes, I got very afraid and ran downstairs. That night me and my family were sleeping in my grandmother’s house.

The breaking news on the T.V were that the “mukata’a” was bombed, and when I heard the news I couldn’t stand on my feet, I fell down and sat on the floor without moving,my heart was beating very quickly, and then the telephone rang and someone told us that our house was completely destroyed. I couldn’t believe that. Many people then phoned to be sure that we’re out of the house and some of them told us that a rocket had entered into the house! Then after few minutes we heard another explosion, and another.

My mother went after everything was calm, she went at 10 o’clock and returned at 12:30. At that time I was sitting doing nothing, staring and wondering what my house will be after all this. My mother returned, all her clothes were white! I asked her, but she didn’t answer…she was shocked.

Now it’s 5 o’clock, I went off and dressed up so as to go to see my house, my mother refused..but then I went…..

Many metres away from the house I could see people looking around.

The first thing I asked was: IS THIS MY HOUSE??? I was completely shocked after thinking all the night and I couldn’t imagine that it would look like that.

First I saw that there were no garden, no walls, no windows, and even the doors were out of their places. I entered, and there was dust, broken glass and I couldn’t walk cause there were many people inside. Everything was broken,not in it’s real place and not good anymore, all the furniture were damage except few things. I couldn’t imagine that this was my house which my father used to tell me that it was built in 5 years and I realized that it was completely demolished in only 5 minutes!

Just at that moment I knew what it meant to lose a house. But thank God that we’re all still alive!

Date:January 16, 2003

Curfew is a common word we usually use it everday only in Bethlehem or in any other place in Palestine, and it has become something normal for what is happening during these days.

What a hard situation that surrounds us? These days under curfew, don’t make us feel that it is something strange because we got used to sitting at home 24 hours doing nothing! For someone else in the world this thing seems unusual but this is our life and we must be satisfied with it, even if no one would accept to live this kind of living.Till now we can’t do or change anything, but we hope that the next generations who will follow us will not suffer and live this way.

Life has become something boring to us because in situations like these you will not be able to do whatever you want or wish, you don’t feel like doing anything, and not being able to live like other people in the universe is something very disappointing. If I asked anyone the meaning of curfew he will say: the situation when you are unable to go out from your house…it’s true, but for us this gives us many deep and painful meanings.

Date:February 3, 2003

Today is Monday the curfew was lifted and I knew that yesterday, so I went to school as usual. First when I’ve just closed the door I heard a jeep calling that we are under curfew! I was confused and surprised, people were in the streets, and I think that it wasn’t something strange! After all I managed to go to school after I checked that everything was ok.

At school I studied, chatted with my friends,went home,ate lunch, watched T.V, studied my exams and listened to the radio… till now nothing extraordinary or new happened, but for me I felt that there is a big difference between today and yesterday because yesterday was curfew so no one was in the streets, no one was out of his house… The city was empty like there was no air to breathe in it, for that no one could live in such a city.

Today it felt like someone threw oxygen and so everyone can breathe and so people went out. This is really strange, when there is curfew, we are dead but when it is lifted we are alive again…

And there is an Arabic poet who said that when we are living we are awake and when we die we sleep, but I can see that in our lives we are sleeping…what will happen when we die?!

Date:February16,2003

Two days ago I was walking in the street and there were two women chatting together; they were arguing about what time they will announce that the curfew will be lifted the next day!

One woman said that she saw the news on T.V at 2 o’clock (ofcourse in the early morning!), and the other woman said that she was awake all night and saw the news at 1:30!!! I laughed and thought how the people are so silly! They are waiting for the mercy of other people so as to move, go out, work, do their shopping… I mean to start their daily things that they usually do, but now the people do all these things only in a few hours…only when the curfew is lifted.

I feel that when there is curfew the city is like the city of dead people, and when the curfew is lifted the people are alive again.

From: The Wall Cannot Stop Our Stories: A Palestinian Diary Project 2000-2004

Terra Sancta School for Girls/Sisters of St Joseph, Bethlehem, 2004

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