It's all over the news: Gaza is being pounded into rubble by the Israeli army.
The statistics: over 230 targets hit by Israeli air strikes, over 275 Gazans dead (including women and children), over 600 injured, over 150 in critical condition, and unknown numbers of people lying beneath the carnage.
Everyone around me is angry. Furious. I was in the mall with my family this morning and ran into some old Emirati friends: everyone replaced the customary small talk with a torrent of exclamations about Gaza. Back at home, we got a phone call from our Palestinian neighbors: they asked us to pray for their family members, who were cowering in their apartments in Gaza. I spoke to some friends and family: they were cursing the Zionists left and right, asking God to "punish the unjust aggressors." I logged on to Facebook: nearly all of my friends had some sort of tribute to Gaza on their profiles. Some had replaced their profile pictures with images of Gaza, others had updated their status to mourn the dead, and still others had written notes describing their horror and anger at the massacre that was taking place in the city.
But me? How do I feel? I'm numb. There's this little scratchy feeling deep in my chest somewhere, but other than that, I can't really feel anything. I should be riled up. Angry and furious like the rest. But I'm not. Maybe its because I feel that this keeps happening in Palestine, that everything is just hopeless, that to get angry is to hope for a solution that could extinguish that anger when I don't see any solution coming for a long, long time. Maybe I've given up.
All this and I don't even live in Palestine. I have so much respect - so much respect - for the people who live under occupation there, day in and day out, and still manage to have hope. I'm here in Dubai, living in complete comfort, with final exams my biggest worry of the day. I cannot imagine being walled in Gaza, with rockets raining over my head, and still be able to stand and fight for my survival, much less for my land and my people.
Palestine is an open wound in the hearts of many. Not just Arabs and Muslims, but people all over this planet who see a balanced reporting of both sides of the conflict. And this is the biggest bloodbath Palestine has witnessed since the 1967 war. Words, or at least my words, cannot come close to describing what we as a group are feeling.
As I write this, I'm realizing that I do feel something: immense sadness. Anger is there too, just bubbling slowly away under the surface of that sadness. I don't know what to do with that anger yet, or where to direct it, so I'm just letting it simmer for the moment. Writing is all I can do, so I'm doing it.
Right now, I'm turning you over to a person much more qualified to speak about the bombings in Gaza than I am. It's Mohammad, a writer on KABOBfest. As a resident of Palestine, he's experiencing all of this in a way most of us can only imagine. The passion and clarity in his post are extremely impressive. But most of all, it is the hope that underlies those things that gets me. If he didn't have hope for a solution to the problems of Palestine, he wouldn't be spending hours writing articles like this up:
Gaza: the slaughter of a people.
Thank you Mohammad, for keeping a flame burning for Palestine, while you wait for the rest of us to have the courage to do the same.