Citizen reports are indispensable to our understanding of how recent Israeli military actions impact the people of Gaza. From such eyewitness reports we learn that Gaza residents are huddled inside houses and many face severe shortages of food and water. Prof. Said Abdelwahed blogged "I don't have electricity or water now. I am about to run out of diesel too. There is no way to go out. " It's not as if Gaza was a land of plenty at the outset of the siege. As blogger Sameh Habeeb noted on 22 Dec. -- just prior to the Israeli attacks -- "bakeries of Gaza are out of bread, people are hungry."
I have been surveying such posts quite methodically. To what purpose? Most importantly, I think that various "there live" citizen journalist accounts serve to humanize the victims of war.
What parent cannot relate to Prof. Abdelwahed's description of his wife's questions following an Israeli air strike:
My wife began involuntarily asking: Kareem! Where is Kareem? She continued: Kareem is off to school! His school bus is due but has not arrived. There is about 5 minutes for the bus to arrive! Kareem! Where is Kareem?We learn that Kareem survived, but "less than 100 meters from Kareem," Abdelwahed noted, "two sisters coming back from their high school died in the blast."
In another haunting post Abdelwahed writes:
It is totally dark. . . . outside, there are drones buzzing overhead, choppers roaming in the sky. Inside again, children are unwilling to go to bed despite their bed time! They are fearful of nightmares, bad dreams, bombing, explosions, and what not! The routine sounds of the air crafts has been going on for more than six days and nights. And when it suddenly disappears...I have compiled a list of "there live" Gaza bloggers at a new website. If I had more time tonight I would describe what some other remarkable bloggers are writing about the war. I highly recommend you check them out for yourself. Important insights abund.
... BANG ... continuous bangs! ... series of explosions. ... other horrible explosions. ... blasts ... flames in the distance. ... children jump up from their beds. Scared ... frightened. ... anxious ... they do not know what to do! They want to hide anywhere, but there is nowhere to go too? It sounds like the bang was under their mattresses. What to do again? Just nothing but wait! How can you convince your child to wait? And to wait for what? Next, one hears ambulances sirens and fire brigades. Thus, one comes back to himself to realize that he is in Gaza and he is operating a small generator to write this message to the world in the new year 2009.