Tears of Gaza

When was the last time you thought about death?

Was there a time when you felt you were so close to losing your own life? Have you ever experienced that scary feeling-except maybe in the movie theatres? …have you ever felt like not actually living, you’re still breathing … but you’re living as dead?

Most people live their lives never thinking about nor contemplating death. It is human nature. We were born to live and think about how to best enjoy our life while we are still alive. It is in our genes of survival. Something inside us drive us away not from death but from pondering at death. Maybe because death is the only concrete and dreadful fact we are sure of. But in some places and with some people death sometimes can be seen as their shadow on the ground.

When you can’t eat, drink, move freely, watch TV, have access to internet, have a decent job and home and send your kids to schools then DEATH could be a liberating thought.

…And when the world is celebrating the rescue of 33 Chilean miners trapped underground — whom we all are glad to see brought back to life again — but at the same time the world is playing deaf and blind to the 1.5 million Gazans virtually buried above ground and besieged like animals, then something is terribly wrong with the morality of the international community.

Gaza, this narrow strip of land — the aching remnant of Palestine — where the orange and olive trees have been growing for hundreds of years has lately turned into death fields and a hunting ground for the people who planted and watered those evergreen trees generation after generation.

Olive trees have always been the icon of Palestine something like the Eiffel tower for France. Uproot a tree and you simply tear out a page of history of the land. And if the official estimates of the uprooted olive trees by the Israeli bulldozers are around one million trees then we are witnessing a massacre of the history of Palestine.

Gaza: the history

The history of Gaza goes back to the 15th century BC; Gaza has been dominated by several different peoples and empires throughout its history. Starting with the Egyptian empire then the Roman and Byzantine Empire.

With the advent of the seventh century Gaza flourished as a commercial center under the rule of the Muslims and was incorporated into the newly formed Arabic empire. The crusaders left the city as ruins to be taken by the Ottomans in the sixteen century and to enjoy a period of stability, great commerce and peace that somehow lasted till the end of the WW1 when Gaza became a part of the British mandate of Palestine. 1948 marked the savage Zionist occupation of the land of olives. Gaza was captured by Israel in the Six-Day War in 1967, but in 1993, the city was transferred to the Palestinian National Authority. That did not stop Israel from carrying on its policy of ethnic cleansing towards the Palestinians and especially the Gazans.

The history of Gaza is the history of empires come and empires go but the people of Gaza always remain in the land, They do not go. They remain to grow more children and more olive trees. Many times they have been conquered but never have they been treated like prisoners. Never have they been terrorized nor punished except by the Israeli occupation. Never have they been humiliated nor the olive trees uprooted like this before.

The baffling thing about the Israelis is that they came and settled — by brutal force — in Palestine employing historical claims to the land which in fact says almost nothing about any ancient Israelites. The Promised Land seems to recall no memories of those who were promised the land. The excavations revealed abundant Egyptian, Roman, and Islamic archeological findings but hardly any Jewish relics that could parallel the enormously exaggerated history or rather tales of the bible. The honest Israeli archeologists — Ze’ef Herzog and Israel Finkelstein — argue that Israelis should be mature enough and grow up to the fact that the Exodus from Egypt, the holy patriarchs and the kingdom of Judea are nothing but mere fairy tales.

The only true history of the Jews in Palestine is the history of an integrated minority of tradesmen and herders (they were always on the move) who happened to excel at telling and propagating stories.

If the Promised Land could talk, it would talk in Arabic, scream in Arabic and yell at the Israelis to stop lying, to stop invading the fields of olives. If the land could talk, it would say “Israelis, I do not know you.”

Tears of Gaza: the documentary film

But the land cannot talk and neither can the international community. In these times of global marketing of terrorism and deceit, only free voices of artists, writers, and activists speak the truth. One of the latest examples of showing solidarity and compassion with the people of Gaza is Vibeke Løkkeberg, a Norwegian film actress and director who while watching the news coverage of the ruthless Israeli war on Gaza during the winter 2008-2009 became so deeply moved that she decided to make a documentary revealing the naked truth of what really happened in Gaza that winter. The Israelis called the inhumane raids “cast lead”, Løkkeberg called it in the film Tears of Gaza but the UN “Goldstone report” described it as “a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population.”

The UN report was right this time. The Israeli occupation was not about claiming historical right. It is becoming more evident everyday that what Israel really after is creating a new geopolitical reality despite all contrary historical facts and findings. And the Israelis are pursuing this aim with utmost ruthlessness relying not on historical rights but rather dependent on an arsenal of formidable weaponry and the everlasting American blessings.

In her opening address at Abu Dhabi Film Festival 2010, Lokkeberg said: “I was furious at the sight of these victims, and felt obliged to give these people some of their dignity back. Since the media is censored and there are very few realistic scenes displayed about what’s really happening in Gaza, I decided to go for this film. I couldn’t just sit there and watch.”

In the film we hear the story of Amina, a 10-year old who had witnessed her father being blown into pieces. Amina’s brothers were all shot while running out of the building in which they lived, after the bomb blast.

The little girl was left alone, with an injured leg that she describes during the 82 minutes screening as “a leg that looked like chopped liver”.

“I wished I could have died with my brothers and father,” she said.

People in Gaza don’t fear death anymore. They don’t fear the Israelis; this is the final cut of the documentary and of the real life: the Israelis are the ones left in fear of the future and of their crimes… for no crime is left without punishment.

A lot of people among the audience at the opening of the film couldn’t endure the whole 82 minutes of the documentary scenes of bodies of innocent children, men and women being dug out of rubble, with missing body parts, gaping abdominal wounds, amputations and burns (shown to cover about 50% of one 3-year-old girl’s body) caused by phosphorous bombs, which only burn hotter if doused with water

It is just too much for an ordinary person to watch. But sadly, this is what has happened in Gaza, and is still going on.

But the Gazans are willingly enduring this unbelievable suffering and humiliation in the hope that one day the so called free world will come to quit the silence and the stigma associated with it over the Israeli crimes against humanity in the besieged Gaza — the land left of what used to be the olive fields or Palestine.

Dr. Ashraf Ezzat is a medical doctor who writes articles about ancient Egyptian history, ancient Near Eastern history, comparative religion, and politics, especially the Arab- Israeli conflict. He can be contacted at: amenhotep.55@gmail.com. Read other articles by Ashraf, or visit Ashraf's website.

7 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. mary said on November 6th, 2010 at 7:23am #

    Thanks Dr Ashraf. A terrible reminder of January 2009. It seems like years ago and nothing has changed for the Palestinian people who survived.


  2. mary said on November 7th, 2010 at 6:10am #

    Totally shocking and horrific. Were no lessons learnt from the horrors of WWII?

    Israeli government documents show deliberate policy to keep Gazans at near-starvation levels
    Saed Bannoura IMEMC, November 6, 2010

    Documents whose existence were denied by the Israeli government for over a year have been released after a legal battle led by Israeli human rights group Gisha. The documents reveal a deliberate policy by the Israeli government in which the dietary needs for the population of Gaza are chillingly calculated, and the amounts of food let in by the Israeli government measured to remain just enough to keep the population alive at a near-starvation level. This documents the statement made by a number of Israeli officials that they are “putting the people of Gaza on a diet”.



  3. mary said on November 8th, 2010 at 2:00pm #

    Israel denies doctor entry to Gaza

    08/11/2010 21:28 GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities denied entry to a doctor visiting Gaza as part of a French group Sunday, medical sources said.

    The Iraqi doctor holds British nationality, and is an anesthestist. He was part of a delegation with Professor Christophe Oberlin, a specialist in hand surgery, a statement from Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis said.

    The hospital’s director Yusif Abu Ar-Rish welcomed the visiting delegation, and said Gaza’s health ministry sought to provide the best medical services by bringing foreign delegations.

    The French group would examine more than 40 cases and hold over 20 operations, the hospital said. Since Oberlin’s first visit in 2002, he has performed more than 400 operations in Gaza and trained 10 Palestinian doctors in peripheral nerve surgery.


  4. shabnam said on November 8th, 2010 at 5:55pm #

    Palestinians have lived in their land continually for the past 21 centuries. The history of Zionism is a myth and they have no relations with Palestine. The colonists are from the Turkic tribe, Khazar, who lived around the black sea who converted to Judaism in 9th century. Thus you are, Mr. Ezzat, correct when you write:

    {The history of Gaza is the history of empires come and empires go but the people of Gaza always remain in the land, They do not go.}

    These Zionists have supported Jewish crimes against Palestinians and humanity over 70 years. These judeofascists have always supported Israeli crimes in Palestine and against other groups including Iranians, Syrians, Lebanese, and Africans as well. They are active among the phony ‘left’ in the West, the labor Union, the Nobel scholars, Artists and Academician including Historians (Benny Morris who wants to exterminate Iranians to help Israel to erect ‘greater Israel).

    Last week, 38 Nobel Winners, majority of who are Zionists, have written a petition to condemn boycott campaign against the apartheid state of Israel who have committed genocide in Gaza and is trying to wage a war against Iran through its 5th column in major western capitals. It is interesting to note that these Zionist Nobel winners have no problem with destruction of Iran, but are against anyone who supports the boycott against Israel to help the right of Palestinians.

    We read in the News:

    Under the auspices of the initiative Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), 38 Nobel peace prize laureates have signed a declaration condemning international attempts to boycott, divest from or sanction Israeli academics, institutions, and research or training centers. Of special concern are the continued threat of a boycott by South Africa’s University of Johannesburg of Ben-Gurion University in Israel, student divestment efforts in the University of California system, an attempt to get signatures for the California Initiative to divest pension funds from companies doing business with Israel, or Israeli companies, as well as the initiative to shut down the Law Enforcement and Education Center at Georgia State University which has training and research connections with similar institutions in Israel.

    I should warn you that SPME is controlled by the Zionists where 2 years ago held conferences in Germany and Austria where Benny Morris was the main contributor suggesting nuclear holocaust for Iran to help the ‘jewish state’, where more than 4000 zionists signed SPME’s petition against Iran. Benny Morris’s call was published in NYT where James Petras wrote an article to attack both Benny Morris and NYT (NYT Making Nuclear Extermination Respectable) in July 30, 2008.

    The 38 Nobel winners write:

    {We, the undersigned Nobel Laureates, appeal to students, faculty colleagues and university officials to defeat and denounce calls and campaigns for boycotting, divestment and sanctions against Israeli academics, academic institutions and university-based centers and institutes for training and research, affiliated with Israel. }

    These Zionists, who have done NOTHING TO END GAZA BLOCKADE or GENOCIDE IN PALESTINE, are trying to fool the international community by writing:

    {We, and many like us, have dedicated ourselves to improving the human condition by doing the often difficult and elusive work to understand complex and seemingly unsolvable phenomena. We believe that the university should serve as an open, tolerant and respectful, cooperative and collaborative community engaged in practices of resolving complex problems.}

    Majority of these Jewish Nobel winners along with a charlatan, from the holocaust industry, Eli Wiesel, wrote an open letter to Obama, in February of 2010, to demand severe punishment of Iran to help Israel. These Zionist Nobel winners in their letter against Iran wrote:

    The letter to Obama against Iran reads:

    {We the undersigned urgently appeal to you and the other leaders of the world, to use your prestige and power to put an end to this outrage. The situation in Iran is not improving; in fact, it is worsening every day. The cruel and oppressive regime of “Supreme Leader” Ali Khamenei and President Ahmadinejad, whose irresponsible and senseless nuclear ambitions threaten the entire world, continues to wage a shameless war against its own people. Human rights violations have now attained new levels of horror. Thousands of the regime’s political adversaries are being arrested, imprisoned, tortured, raped, and killed, many by hanging…opposition leaders assassinated…human rights activists … behind bars…indiscriminate firing on unarmed, peaceful demonstrators…and riot tanks in the capital…}
    Shame on you all.

  5. shabnam said on November 8th, 2010 at 6:01pm #

    38 Nobel winner laureates condemn boycott campaign against Israel:


  6. 3bancan said on November 8th, 2010 at 6:28pm #

    shabnam said on November 8th, 2010 at 5:55pm #

    The names of those 38 Nobel genociders are found here:


  7. mary said on November 9th, 2010 at 1:42am #

    I think these young American Jewish students are more concerned about how Israel is perceived as opposed to how the crimes being committed against the Palestinians are viewed.