Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Audrey Stewart, "Why I am in Gaza," Voices for Creative Nonviolence, January 19, 2009.

Lots of people have asked me why I chose to leave my children and travel to Gaza in the middle of a war. If you knew three year old Omar it might be easier to understand.

  “Please tell the world that we are people with dreams for ourselves and our children - we are just like you.”

Omar is the youngest child in the family of Abu Yusif, one of our host families during our time in Gaza. Yesterday Omar’s family was able to return to their real home for the first time since the bombing started. Omar proudly packed up a plastic bag of clothes to bring back to the family’s temporary housing. He repacked it three times to get it just right. Then he brought it to me to tie the bag. Omar’s father, Abu Yusif, spent the day working on the house, repairing shattered windows and a section of one wall.

Gaza is full of families with children like Omar. For example, we visited Shifaa hospital in Gaza City today. A four year old child, Azad, lay in one bed, worry in his eyes. His father explained that the family was in the kitchen when a bomb from an F-16 landed near the house. Azad was hit in seven places in his legs and back by shrapnel. Azad’s mother is in another wing of the hospital with a broken leg and shrapnel injuries. The ambulance that came to bring the family to the hospital was delayed four hours by the bombing.

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