Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Kathy Kelly, "The strongest weapon of all," Voices for Creative Nonviolence, January 19, 2009.

Kathy Kelly writes from Gaza

Dr. Atallah Tarazi, a General Surgeon at Gaza City’s Shifaa Hospital, invited us to meet him in his home, in Gaza City, just a few blocks away from the Shifaa Hospital.

Early this morning, he and his family returned to their home after having fled five days earlier when the bombing attacks on Gaza City had become so fierce that they feared for their lives. “Believe me, when I would drive from the hospital to the place where my family was staying, I prayed all the way,” said Dr. Tarazi, “because the Israelis would shoot anyone on the roads at night.”

  “We must experiment with ways of love. We are trying, with Jewish people…by feelings and actions. We need to succeed. We need to live together. We are trying to be in good relations with all the partners, all the views.”
Dr. Atallah Tarazi

Dr. Tarzi has been practicing medicine as a General Surgeon all of his adult life. Now, at age 61, he says he has never seen such terrible and ugly wounds as he saw during the past three weeks when he and a surgical team tried to help numerous patients with broken limbs, shrapnel wounds, and severe burns. Neurosurgeons, vascular surgeons, orthopedic and general surgeons worked together on patients, as a team, trying to save them, but there were many whose lives they couldn’t save. He described patients with shrapnel wounds in their eyes, faces, chests, and abdomens, patients whose legs were amputated above the lower limbs. Most, he said, were civilians.

“These are strange ways of destroying the human body,” said Dr. Tarazi. “Please, come tomorrow to the Burn Unit, and you will see patients suffering from the use of white phosphorous.”

Dr. Tarazi said that he began to understand the extent of the trauma and danger by listening to the stories of wounded and injured patients.

“Some were sitting in their houses when a tank bomb hit them. They didn’t know what happened to them,” said Dr. Attalah. “Survivors would reach the hospital after many of their relatives had been killed.”

Patients from Beit Lahia told him that in one home, an extended family of 25 people had been attacked while inside their home. When relatives came to help them, Israeli snipers shot eight of them. Many of the wounded were left to die. Ambulances and Red Cross relief workers weren’t allowed to enter the area.

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