From Gaza, with Love

Monday, December 29, 2008

Gaza Under The Attack -No Place is Safe -

It is extremely difficult for me to be here in the UK watching events unfold on the ground in Gaza from this very far distance. With a broken heart I watch the news from this unprecedented and savage Israeli attack on my friends, family, and colleagues in Gaza. In the last two days around 300 Israeli air strikes have hit dozens of locations in the overcrowded Gaza Strip. Their “military targets” are mixed in with homes, schools, hospitals, and universities. As of this writing, 294 people are dead and more than 600 injured.

Unnecessary deaths

I am distraught thinking about the fate of these injured people. I know the situation of hospitals in Gaza well through my health and humanitarian work. The siege of Gaza has left our hospitals without one hundred basic medications and many important diagnostic and laboratory equipment is not working because spare parts aren’t available and the fluctuation of current from our irregular power supply has left some equipment beyond repair. In this period of crisis, Gaza hospitals are also lacking crucial medications and supplies for their operation rooms.

I’ve watched the chaotic scenes inside Gaza hospitals as staff struggle to find space for all of the injured and dead. The unprecedented numbers of casualties come in from ambulances and cars in a near-constant stream. But emergency situations are nothing new in Gaza; it is the impact of the siege that has changed the odds. I know that we would be facing a different situation if the 18 months of siege hadn’t drained our supplies of medicines and food, making it difficult to treat and feed patients.

I’ve spoken to several of my fellow doctors in Gaza and each one of them is overwhelmed and demoralized. Even with all of their training, the material conditions in Gaza are preventing them from doing what they are capable of. They could have saved many more lives.

I remember how ambulance drivers were not allowed to reach the injured in previous military attacks on Gaza. Many lives could have been saved then too if the ambulances reached the injured at the right time. A few minutes can be the difference between life and death. I wonder whether we will hear reports like this again once the emergency situation is over and there is time for truth and reflection.

No place is safe in Gaza

The first military air strikes struck at the exact time that school children make their way home. W here I live in Gaza City, several primary schools are very close to the police headquarters which were among the first targets. These horrifying facts explain the high number of women and children amongst the dead. Thirty children and nine women have been reported dead and another 130 children and 38 women injured.

I’ve spoken with friends and family in Gaza and my heart sunk further with their first-hand accounts of the death and destruction. On a personal level I am mourning the loss of one of my cousins, Ibrahim Mahmoud El-Farra, age 22. He was killed in the first attack on the presidential palace. F16 fighter planes fired three big missiles at the building. Neighbors tell me the ground shook and that the blast broke all the windows of my nearby apartment building.

My cousin, and an unknown number of other victims, is still under the rubble. The scale of destruction is too large for Gaza’s small number of rescue workers. They are slowly pulling body parts out of the rubble as Israeli air strikes make more and more piles of rubble and people.

The number of reported deaths will increase in the next few days as more bodies are recovered and more of the seriously injured cases die because their serious but treatable wounds cannot be treated in Gaza.

No justification

As a mother, I believe that all children are precious and deserve love and protection. If Israeli children are terrified and confined to the shelters because of the Palestinian rockets, this is wrong. But it is no justification to kill Gaza’s children and innocent civilians, who make up the majority of victims. Israel’s actions are creating more and more hatred. While families in Gaza cower in their homes, ready for death to strike, how can Israel talk of peace? Neither building the wall in the West Bank nor attacking Gaza so savagely will bring peace to Israel. Only peace that is based on justice and respects the rights of us all will work in the end. We are humans too.

With an aching heart I continue to watch Gaza from a distance. I cannot turn the TV off, cannot detach myself from what is going on there. Not while my medical colleagues work hard under such extraordinarily circumstances. Not while my friends, my family, and the whole population of Gaza face such horrible atrocities and constant fear. The nightmare isn’t over.

40 Comments:

  • thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    By Blogger James Watkins, at 12/29/2008 11:21 PM  

  • hi mona ,
    i'm Iranian and i am very sad and unhappy these days , because of Israeli attacks. not only me , all of the Iranians are sad and unhappy. but remember that during this war , we are supporting and covering you and we do our best. yesterday we burned the flag of Israeli and USA in Palestine Sq. in Tehran! i know how hard is life in Gaza , but you should stay and defend your country , children and women. God is with you.
    merry christmas and i hope in the new year we see no war in the world...

    By Blogger persian boy, at 12/29/2008 11:36 PM  

  • :'(....
    My tears are flowing,
    It is absolutely horrendous.
    Where is justice and where is hope?
    I pray for Gaza as I am remain a spectator to obvious massacre

    By Blogger Le-Ann Mariamlelue, at 12/30/2008 12:13 AM  

  • Thanks for posting in this terrible situation. What we can do now is not just watching the TV news. I think we'd better spread the word to help people in Gaza. I found the "Free Gaza Movement" through your previous posts and I made a small donation to them to ship more aid to Gaza. I ask all the readers of this comment to have a look at their website: http://www.freegaza.org/index.php and make a donation (even small) if possible for them.

    By Blogger Meead S., at 12/30/2008 3:12 AM  

  • Dear Ms Elfara,
    My simphaty for your late cousin Ibrahim Mahmoud and others killed in the attack.
    The world can do nothing more (again) because Israel is so powerful at least until now.
    But I have one suggestion : Since you cannot strike back the F-16 attack plane in the air, why don't your people mark and curse the cruel heartless pilots on the ground?
    salam from Indonesia

    By Blogger saptono istiawan sk, at 12/30/2008 3:40 AM  

  • Here is my truth (from not very far away, where its possible to see the naked and sad truth)

    Quote: "savage Israeli attack"
    Targeting militants with precision while avoiding civilians is considered savage?
    No its called DEFENSE!

    Targeting civilians by hamas is not savage?
    Bombing yourself in buses,clubs,mall's is very much as savage as it gets.

    Quote:"Their “military targets” are mixed in with homes, schools, hospitals, and universities.

    First of all, israel targeted only hamas installations, nobody(including hamas) didnt say anything else,

    Second, you say schools? if a terror training camp is considered "school" for you.

    Third, Hospitals? where do you get this information?
    israel didnt bombed any hospital and wouldnt do such a thing.

    Quote: "As of this writing, 294 people are dead and more than 600 injured."

    Un says: 312 Palestinians have died since Saturday, of which 57 were civilians"

    Yes i know - 57 civilians is alot and too much
    but you should understand that israel hase to defend itself from hamas,
    while hamas defends themselves thou civilians.

    Israel really does anything possible to avoid civilian casualties, on the contrary hamas targets everyone.

    Quote: "the material conditions in Gaza are preventing them from doing what they are capable of. They could have saved many more lives."

    first, you should thank the Palestinian people of giving controll of gaza to HAMAS,
    what would you do instead of israel if your enemy's govermant have sworn to destroy you?
    Would you allow them to enter freely your country?

    Second- you should thank israel for sending 40 trucks and 80 trucks of food and medicine before and during the strike.


    Quote: "While families in Gaza cower in their homes, ready for death to strike, how can Israel talk of peace?"

    Gaza? get your facts right!
    Israel targets MILITARY ONLY
    Hamas targets families and homes!

    Its true, we the israeli are begining to loose any hope for peace, how can we hope for peace when Hamas dosn't recognize Israel as a state and is sworn to destroy israel all together


    Quote: "Neither building the wall in the West Bank nor attacking Gaza so savagely will bring peace to Israel."

    True, but announcing the so wanted destruction of israel and targeting civilian's life by hamas and palestinians wouldn't contribute to peace at all.

    By Blogger Rostislav, at 12/30/2008 3:43 AM  

  • We shall overcome

    A great number of Israel's citizens were subjected to the holocaust by Nazi's and how easy it is for them to forget their history and become the instigator of genocide against Palestinians. Israel first starved Gazans for a whole year and now attacked them with American weapons to show its military might, the effectiveness of which we have already seen in 06, during the war against Lebanese.

    Tzipi Livni wants to be the PM of Israel for which she is willing to kill thousands of innocent Palestinians. She is willing to kill to gain a post, I wounder if such a politician would be good for ordinary Israeli's. I expect the silence from USA government, because it has been hypnotized by the Jewish lobby and christian fundamentalists; however, I am troubled by the Egypt's compliance with Israel's orders to blockade the Gazans. Has Egyptian government lost its soul? As Martin Luther King Jr. once stated "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends".

    God Bless Gazans, they are the beacon of resistance and are paying a huge price for their defiance.

    By Blogger Global Citizen, at 12/30/2008 3:48 AM  

  • No need to post this. This is only for you.

    Hamas' suicide bombers were a moral inversion. What did you do to denounce it?

    Hamas' rockets against Israeli civilians were a terrorist assault. What did you do to stop it?

    Hamas' contempt for a two state solution based on mutual respect is a fundamental cause of the deaths in Gaza and Israel today. What did you do to promote mutual respect?

    If you have done nothing but blame Israel for all, then you are complicit in those deaths in Gaza and in Israel.

    By Blogger Charles, at 12/30/2008 4:12 AM  

  • shalom and ahlan

    my sympathy. this is really horrible. i have many political arguments and questions to you but this is not the time.

    Lior-Joel

    By Blogger Joel, at 12/30/2008 6:19 AM  

  • Dear Dr
    Allah-o- Akbar, God`s hand is above all hands.

    down with USA,Israeil and their relations.

    Imam khomeini(rah):
    USA and it`s wild welp-Israeil- is the main enemy of islam.

    shame on UN and all who are active in human rights.

    Future is ours, Ghods is ours, earth is ours.

    By Blogger Mohammad, at 12/30/2008 6:45 AM  

  • Dear Mouna...I'm very very sorry hearing about the loss of your cousin!!!!!!! And all the other victims too!!!

    The situation is horrible. I knew that Israel would "act" but noth this dimension of killing and killing and killing. I am horrified, really.

    Mouna, just some days ago you and i talked on Facebook. Don't know how to reach you, because i don't have your email address. So i have to write to you here, or on Facebook.

    Just before Christmas I donated an amount to MECA and yesterday I saw that I have possibilities to send more, but Mouna I have to ask you one thing. In this extremely urgent situation, where do you recommend me to send my donation? MECA or Palestinian Red Crescent?

    As you know I normally donate to MECA, but I mean this time, this particular donation I am going to do. Which one is best right now. Im thinking of the medical supply and that is very urgent. Or do you know any other way I can help the Gaza medical workers right now??

    Ok, take care!!!! /Paul

    Ps You can answer me here or on Facebook.

    By Blogger Paul GT, at 12/30/2008 8:21 AM  

  • By the way Mouna, this is my email address:

    olivegreenstar@gmail.com

    /Paul

    By Blogger Paul GT, at 12/30/2008 8:23 AM  

  • dearest dr mona,
    there are no words to express my grieve for gazan and palestinian people.
    nor my anger for the world who has done too much to ignore palestine.

    be strong, be brave...
    please keep on writing.

    Love
    Nina

    By Blogger nindee, at 12/30/2008 8:47 AM  

  • I am sorry for the loss of your cousin, Ibrahim. Yet another life wasted and cut obscenely short.

    I don't know which is more shocking - the latest savage attacks on Gaza or the reactions of the world community to them.

    The injustice of the situation is desperate, and there is an inexplicable lack of political will to find a just solution.

    We all have to try to light one small candle in this oppressive darkness. Lobby the politicians, ineffective and complacent as they are.

    Thanks for the posts.

    By Blogger Dave, at 12/30/2008 9:29 AM  

  • Dear Mona,

    Also we feel pain in our hearts when we read your blog and the press about de cruel attacks of israel on Gaza.
    Know that we support you, yoour family en palestine in your struggle against so much injustice and brutality.
    Let us know what we can do and send a lot of love from us to your family.
    We love you and what you do for your country.
    Jacqueline and Harry
    interakt@planet.nl

    By Blogger interakt, at 12/30/2008 11:44 AM  

  • Hi Mona el-Farra

    I am foreign editor of the Independent Danish Daily INFORMATIION, looking for a thoughtfull English-speking person, who is able to blog from Gaza during these difficult days. Can You help me to get in touch?

    Yours Sincerely


    All the best

    Charlotte Aagaard
    editor
    Denmarks Independent Daily
    Information
    St. Kongensgade 40 C.
    DK-1006 København K.
    tel: + 45 33 69 61 22
    tel: + 45 - 20 84 00 40
    caa@information.dk
    www.information.dk

    By Blogger caa, at 12/30/2008 11:56 AM  

  • Mona, I sympathize with you...I am a Lebanese living abroad, I remember going through what you've described...Our thoughts are with you, let's hope this nightmare ends soon...

    By Blogger Eddie, at 12/30/2008 2:03 PM  

  • My heart goes out to the people of Gaza. Inumerable injustices have been done against the people of Palestine and this has to end.

    Israel continues with its terror and carnage and the world watches silently. It seems that the few thousand protestors are the only humans left on the planet.

    The Palestinians rockets are a desperate attempt to lift the blockage and seige of Gaza. It was Israel that imposed this inhumane seige and it was Israel that broke the Cease-Fire. Just because their zionist brothers in the west own all major media networks, they lie and fool the world into believeing that their actions are justified and that they are only 'retaliating'. Their lies and manipulations make people believe that Israel is always the 'victim'.

    Hamas is a democractically elected Government, established through free and fair elections. But this version of democracy and the mandate of the people of Palestine is unacceptable to the West. This is the hypocrisy of the west, and they continue to support Israel in its crimes against humanity.


    Towards Everlasting Peace.
    Towards a World without Israel.
    Towards the Third Intifada.

    PS: Jews are free to live in Palestine.

    By Blogger @n@s, at 12/30/2008 3:00 PM  

  • This paragraph is heartbreaking "The first military air strikes struck at the exact time that school children make their way home. W here I live in Gaza City, several primary schools are very close to the police headquarters which were among the first targets. These horrifying facts explain the high number of women and children amongst the dead. Thirty children and nine women have been reported dead and another 130 children and 38 women injured."

    I'm trying to compile a Gaza by numbers information block on my blog. It's open to add to. I'd be honoured to learn some of your local knowledge, such as distances between schools and target sites etc... Hope to hear from you soon.

    www.markcoughlan.com

    By Blogger StopCock, at 12/30/2008 6:45 PM  

  • Emergency campaign urging for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

    http://www.avaaz.org/en/gaza_time_for_peace/

    From Mexico, is all I can do, whit love.

    By Blogger AnaCess, at 12/30/2008 8:09 PM  

  • Chemotherapy, the most common treatment for cancer is used to destroy cancerous cells and or colonies. The problem with that course of treatment is that healthy cells and tissue also get affected. But I find it hard to believe that a person with a healthy mind won't try to pursue this treatment - because overall he might have a chance of living a healthy life, after the treatments are complete. The Palestinians are affected by cancer no doubt. Those cancer cells have a variety of names such as Hamas, Fatach, and Islamic Jihad etc. To treat this Palestinian patient, Israel has to take action and destroy these cancer cells even though they are embedded and hidden amongst healthy cells. Casualties are inevitable just as a doctor can't avoid killing few healthy cells, but the result is: a cancer free organism.

    By Blogger Sabras, at 12/30/2008 8:09 PM  

  • Dear Mona,
    I pray for all the palestinians injured and lost their lives in these inhumane attacks on Gaza.I tremble and cry at the thought of their plight and i am tired of looking at the international community or the U.N. for help, I dont know what to do, I feel helpless.
    Nasreen.
    India.

    By Blogger nasreen, at 12/30/2008 8:56 PM  

  • Hi. I am a journalist from the colombian newspaper El Tiempo. I work in the International section, and I am covering the Israeli offensive in the Gaza strip.

    I have read from your blog that you have close relatives and friends living in Gaza, and that you had to leave because of your daughter's situation.

    I am interested on talking with you about the actual situation in Gaza and in asking you about the perception you have about all this issue. If you're interested, i would be pleased if you send me an e-mail. My address is jpenarredonda@gmail.com .

    Thank you for your time;

    JOSÉ LUIS PEÑARREDONDA
    Redactor - Seccion Internacional
    Journalist - International Section
    Casa Editorial El Tiempo
    Bogotá D.C. CO.
    Tel. +57.316.2987491

    By Blogger jpenarredonda, at 12/30/2008 10:38 PM  

  • Still laughing at the scenes on my tv screen. As for your loss, well, I's so glad one of the dogs put down is related to you. May many more of you muslim bastards burn in HELLfire missiles.

    By Blogger kahanachai, at 12/30/2008 10:59 PM  

  • http://www.jesuite.org/

    By Blogger ibseventh, at 12/31/2008 12:40 AM  

  • Mona, I think you'd better link all your readers to this website http://www.ifamericansknew.org/

    Most of the Americans and in general western people do not know so many things and they have lots of questions as you see in their comments.

    By Blogger Meead S., at 12/31/2008 5:19 AM  

  • May God guide us through this difficult time and provide us with the answers to solve this horrible problem. It is so hard to be patient and watch the tyranny, hypocrisy and genocide unfold. There will be justice one day.

    By Blogger Nicole, at 12/31/2008 8:00 AM  

  • Dear Mouna,
    I am sorry for the loss of your cousin, Ibrahim.
    We the people of the middle east are the victims of the leaders and governments. of both sides narrow mindedness.
    It is time for change,compromise and mutual understanding.It's time for peace and sanity.
    Wars brings only more wars and hatred.
    Moshe K.
    Jerusalem

    By Blogger Moshe K, at 12/31/2008 6:56 PM  

  • I am an American and cannot possibly fully understand the true horror of what it must be like to live in such a hostile enviornment. I think life is so precious, everyone regardless of religion should be able to live in peace. Maybe I will sound ignorant but if you are greatly outmatched militarily as the palestines seem to be, does it make sense to jeopardize the lives of your countrymen with minimally efective rocket attacks? Also I am also thinking if the Hamas has so little regard for the lives of the citizenry shouldn't the people rise up against them and prevent them from placing military assets in public spaces, in effect using thier own people as "meat shields". Please don't try to tell me they don't as this is well documented internationaly.

    By Blogger tman01, at 12/31/2008 10:37 PM  

  • Who elected hamas? If a people will take responsibility for what they committed themselves and the results are not what they voted for then it's time to elect another government. Now to all those who are shelling the ROCKets and causing death and destruction, stop it! Stop thinking of death and destruction.

    By Blogger Martine, at 1/01/2009 12:27 AM  

  • @Kahanachai; I dont know wether your highly innapropriate comment is a piss take or not, but I believe in Karma and would really hate to be in your shoes.

    I just dont understand the mentality of some people who have put posts to defend what the IDF is doing or to just be insulting. I am not arabic/ muslim/ or jewish, I have no vested interest either way, but what is going on in Gaza is just plain wrong. There is nothing that can be said that would justify the never ending oppression that the Palestinians are being forced to go through ON THEIR OWN LAND. At this point, wether you are one by birth or background is irrelevant, starting today we should all consider ourselves Palestinian and their cause should be ours. Never give up. I am donating to the cause and encourage others to do the same.

    By Blogger Susie, at 1/01/2009 3:40 AM  

  • @ Martine;

    Wether any of us like it or not, Hammas is a DEMOCRATICALY elected government and Israel and the West have no right to punnish Palestinians because they dont like the outcome of their election.

    Sounds like what you want is hypocrisy, not democracy!

    Did Jimmy Carter and others, not go overthere to help oversee that election and make sure that it was fair? What did they find?

    And you have to look at the big picture. Do I agree with shooting rockets at Israel? No, but I can understand why it is being done. If my people were slowly being starved on their own land, I doubt I would sit around waiting for the vultures to come.

    And you have to really be puzzled at the arrogance of people like Tzipi Livni, who feels there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza...right...people just line up for hours to get bread, for laughs.

    Dont let yourself be blinded to the suffering of others just because it contradicts your interests.

    By Blogger Susie, at 1/01/2009 7:48 PM  

  • Susie you comment about Palestinians being oppressed in their own land is highly disturbing to me and to most Jews. The land was given to us the Jewish nation by god himself. The bible mentions it hundreds of times. The fact that Arabs were living there with us doesn't prove a darn thing. Jews were mentally attached to their home land throughout their 2000 years of exile (and counting). If you are an American you can probably go back a maximum of 2-3 generations while the majority of Jews know their roots all the way back to the sons of Jacob out father.
    Our rich history with the land of Israel must mean something to you when you dare say that the Palestinians are oppressed in their own land.
    Let me just finish by telling you two phenomenal facts: The first is that the land of Israel only blossoms when Jews are in their land. (Check the history of the land if you don't believe me)
    Second, Jews will never become extinct. We have a promise from god that the Jews will always remain. Also here I can reference you hundreds upon hundreds of nations that you probably didn't even hear about that are extinct. So don't you think that you and your Palestinian friends can get us out or kills us. We will swallow you alive..

    By Blogger Sabras, at 1/02/2009 12:28 AM  

  • Mona

    I live in the UK and I am 70 years old. Being a pensioner I have little to offer in monetary terms.

    What I can do is offer myself in soime minor capacity to help with humanitarian services.

    By Blogger agedpoet, at 1/02/2009 9:18 PM  

  • Es salmo aelikom werahmatou ellah.
    Our hearts and souls with you ahl Gaza. You make every muslims proud of your resistance and courage to face all the difficulties. Shame on our islamic and Arab governments.
    may allah give you strenghts and patients.
    Please keep apdating us.

    By Blogger ahfadou salahou eddine, at 1/04/2009 8:50 PM  

  • I am English and I am heartbroken for the innocent on both sides.
    Especially those who cannot even run away. Terrorists on the one side and an incredibly cruel and inhumane government willing to kill for votes and shame as usual on America. Why the focus always on the one side? Power, money and politics.... where is the justice, why no outcry during Christmas and New Year - the time of peace!!!!!

    Let's stop weapons getting into Gaza ...yes but we are selling weapons to Israel who are using them on kids and civilians - when will the world feel for those caught in the middle and treat a life as equal. Seems that in the US and world's media one israeli is worth a hundred palestinians..why do they call themselves Christians...I am ashamed again at our response..

    By Blogger Karl Perera, at 1/06/2009 12:27 PM  

  • call gaza varsovy !

    By Blogger mathilde, at 1/09/2009 9:54 PM  

  • If you live by the sword, you die by the sword. Like wise if you live with a bomb you die by the bomb. Stop harboring terrorist in your mist. Problem solved

    By Blogger SuSa, at 1/10/2009 12:32 AM  

  • ok, im not bad intentions, im a people, im from Mexico, and this is i think, the picture is informative only dont suppose nothing, the UN symboñ represent all the world!, please redistribute te pic!!!

    http://i657.photobucket.com/albums/uu300/ger010203/nowaitmore.jpg

    By Blogger gerardo rafael, at 1/15/2009 11:37 AM  

  • Hi mi name is Mursal i live in Azerbaijan i m a journalist i want to go to Gaza please help me how can do this.

    i don't need money for this i just don't now how to go there from which country it will be icier this is mi e mail
    Thank you
    mursal001@gmail.com

    By Blogger mursal, at 2/09/2009 4:43 PM  

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