Mads Gilbert in Gaza 21.11 2012 00:40

Mads was one of the doctors who went to help at the Shifa Hospital in Gaza in 2008/2009. He is there now helping again. This post was sent the day before the ceasefire. It is translated from Norwegian (I have the original text if anyone wants it).

Midnight has passed but still no peace.
No peace for children, no peace for women, no peace for people.
The drones swarm like evil insects and are followed by a wave of explosions.

The curtains in the window near where I write feel the shock waves and so do I. All the windows are open so they won’t implode spreading deadly splinters of glass. There are so many deadly splinters here in Gaza. Grenade and bomb splinters and swarms of drones and swarms of leaflets fluttering down from the sky with threatening words to frighten the already terrified civilians.

It has been a terrible day.

It is difficult to describe the 13 bodies torn apart, decapitated, limbs torn off, burnt, small children cut in two – all come to Shifa. With desperate calls for help, cries of pain. Mothers collapse, paralyzed in desperation when a dead child is recognized again.

We work on.

Intubate – cut off their cloths – syringes and drips – a desperate search to find the wounds of those that are still alive.

Today there are 24 dead and 189 injured. Not all come to Shifa, but many do.

We lose two on “the table”, splinters in their pulmonary arteries and massive head injuries. A torn off cava inferior is repaired by a very skillful surgeon -one of a group of 40 Palestinian doctors from the West bank who arrived yesterday.

Solidarity. New alliances amongst Palestinians.

A large Arab delegation are visiting the hospital with shocked faces they quickly move on, to the sound of the ever detonating bombs that must remind them of their imminent political responsibilities.

One family came at dawn after an Israeli bomb had demolished the largest bank in the centre of Gaza City, an angry father calls for revenge, the children are frightened.

A short break at 00:44: God, now they are bombing us. Serial bombing…
How can they manage to comfort their children through a night like this?

I am frightened. Evil seems to be winning.

I don’t know if “the world” understands what it is actually like in this million person prison? Here it is not possible to find quiet, shelter, protection or escape. And the same power that imprisons them is the same power that bombs them – one of the worlds mightiest military powers.

What would have happened if Michele Obama was here tonight with her two daughters. Living in a house in Beit Lahia on the outskirts of Gaza City; a poor neighbourhood, without any light, without any safety. What if she came running in with one of her lovely daughters in her arms, terrified without any possible escape – would we have seen some changes then?

I can’t understand how Norwegian politicians, who reacted so well to the terror and the political violence that hit Norway not so long ago, can accept this without comment or even openly defend Israel’s right to defend herself.

Defense?
No they attack, yes, just as they have attacked for the last 60 years.

Haven’t we learnt that this unfairness must stop now, in our time, while we can do something about it, and not wait until it is an archeological exercise where all can be solved with hindsight – a cold historical fact to distance our responsibility and shame.

Don’t send more bandages, doctors, food nor meaningless declarations.
Stop the bombing.
Open Gaza.
End the occupation of Palestine
Let the children live in peace
Let their mothers feed their young
Let the fishermen fish and the farmers farm
Let teachers teach and children be taught
Let the young travel and know something other than imprisonment, blockade and fright.
Let nighttimes’ soothing sleep drape the years of longing for calm over the people of Gaza
Then they won’t have to defend themselves against overwhelming might
Let the weapons be lowered powerless to the ground
‘If we create a world of dignity we create a world of peace’ (Nordal Grieg)

Gaza, in the terror of the night
00:40 21.11 2012
Mads G

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