Name: Asma AbuMezied (26)
Location: Middle area, Gaza Strip
Profession: Business Development Specialist with a local NGO
Languages: English and Arabic
While her family home shakes under the bombardments, Asma writes about what it means if your home, your past, your memories, are taken away in a single moment.
Memories capture the moments of our lives that are gone forever. They become our own life companions whether in sorrow or happiness, whether we are surrounded by our loved ones or feeling lonely. A person without memories is a lost soul unable to neither look into the future nor live in the present. Memories and little things that we keep from the past give us strength when we need it and the drive to have a better life ahead.
Imagine all the memories of your life ruthlessly taken away from you in less than 10 minutes! All it takes is 10 minutes and in some cases – 5 minutes. That’s how much time the Israeli Army gives us to leave our home, to leave our past, our memories and run for our lives. Ten minutes to get what is important to us out of our houses to take with us. As if what is important can be materialized in a thing or two! What about the whole house? Is it possible to carry away the whole house in these minutes?
I fear the moment when our house will get “The Call” of evacuation. The Call is also called a “knock on the roof” warning when a drone fires a non-explosive missile at the roof of the building that is to be bombed by the Israeli air forces – nobody knows how long after.
How can I abandon all my memories and my life that I spent in that house! Among the stones of my house resides the history of mine, of my sister, my brother, my mother and my father. In my house, I have seen my tiny twin nephews, who were born premature, grow up and become these noisy and lively little kids they are today. This house has witnessed me growing up, graduating from university and becoming who I am today. It has witnessed our happy moments — graduations, birthday parties, my sister’s engagement party and the 2008 and 2012 wars that we survived. It also was our companion at the sad times when my grandmothers, my uncle and my aunts died.
How can I abandon my room and leave everything in order to save my life? How can I allow them to take away all my accomplishments from me? My room has all my memories; one wall has all my pictures and memories of my friends when I was in London pursuing my master’s degree as well as my pictures from my recent trip to the United States where I met so many inspiring people. My closet has the gifts I received from Japanese children when I was a kid as a participant of a UNRWA program to reward top students – the gifts I dreamt of showing to my kids and grandchildren in the future. Every corner in the room is a part of me. How can I see parts of me scattered among the debris of my house?
It took us more than three years to build our house – finally. Too long, isn’t it? But it was time-consuming because construction materials were rarely allowed to be brought to the Gaza Strip back then. My house is more that bricks laid on top of each other. It is a member of my family, it is our home, a living and pulsating thing to me that l don’t want to lose or think of losing it. So how can I see my home crumbling down in front of my eyes in one minute and stand still watching? How can the whole world expect me to stand still, watching and talking about peace when that rocket would steal my memories, my past, my house, my land, and, probably, the members of my family.
Excuse me, World! I stopped believing you and calling out to you to stop the killing of my people for all you will do is send some money after it is too late; as if money can compensate the sorrow, the pain, the hurt and the lost of beloved ones. Excuse me, World! I don’t want to listen to you demanding from us to stay calm and humbly accept the mass murder of our people – I haven’t been listening to you since I sat there seeing an F16 rocket kill another sleeping house in the middle of the night.
(Written while our house was shaking violently from continuous bombardment all night)