Live from Gaza, Eoin Murray, Trócaire

Sunday, August 13, 2006

When the lights go out in Gaza...

It seems, almost, too silly a point to speak about - but since last month, when Israel bombed the only power station in the Gaza Strip, one and a half million people have spent much of their time in the dark. In fact, it is a reality which permeates every aspect of life.

When I imagine what it must be like to live without power on a daily basis I am reminded of Al Pacino's famous line in Scent of a Woman "What life? I got no life. I'm in the dark here!" Pacino's line delivers so much truth that would resonate with the people of the Gaza Strip.

Sitting in darkened rooms, without television to watch [the news from Lebanon or the West Bank and occupied east Jerusalem], without a kettle to make a cup of coffee, without the light to read a paper or a book, or the ability to press play on the battered tape machine - what life is there to be had?

Some families have taken to going to sitting through the night listening to the elegant ebb and flow of the Mediterranean - but many are fearful of even going to the beach since the June 9th bombing by Israel of the beach in north Gaza, which killed a family of seven. The conflict between Israel and Palestine and now Lebanon is a complex one, and there are many and varied opinions on the solutions as bombs and rockets fall in Israel and Lebanon and innocent people on both sides suffer - including too many civilians.

Some families, unable to sleep in the wet, thick, Gaza nights, sit: fanning themselves in darkened rooms - unable to see the whites of each others eyes, except by candlelight. Many families can not even afford candles so charitable organisations are providing them inside emergency food parcels distributed to the poorest of the poor - a growing constituency.

Even if the families have gas stoves on which they can boil water the rocketing gas prices (tripled in three months) and the shortage of clean water supplies (because the water plants can't pump water to be delivered to houses by the local councils) makes this an impossible or unpalatable prospect.

The various restrictions on cultural, social, political, economic and civil activities caused by the power shortages have wide ranging and unforeseen consequences. "The darkness of life aids the production of dark psychologies" Omar Shabban, Director of Catholic Relief Services in Gaza ,told me earlier today. "It seems the Israeli military is happy for people to turn away from peace - because it suits their agenda to paint us all as terrorists and animals. The weakness of the Israeli case is the many Palestinian voices for peace - so they try to marginalise us."

The Parish Priest in Gaza, Fr. Mousalem spoke vividly about his night-time experience of Gaza "We have no water for the children, nothing for them to do. As I walk around at night time I can hear the cries of the children from the darkness of the refugee camps."

Concrete political action is required to ensure human rights and justice for the Palestinian and the Israeli people - otherwise we sow the seeds for years of conflict in this already torn region.


At 2:40 PM, Blogger paulpeacecycle said...

I got your blogg site from the IPSC today. Trocaire's involvement was also mentioned in our local Mass leaflet in Monaghan.
I must see to organising a local fundraiser.
Gazan's may be in the dark but the world sees what's happening and is mobilising now.
Thanks for the reports. I'll try to promote your work locally as much as possible.

At 11:51 AM, Blogger Eoin Murray said...

Dear Paul,
Thanks for your continued support people here do truly appreciate it.

best from Gaza,

At 5:00 AM, Blogger heyam hayek said...

Dear Eoin
Thanks for the reports
I think Israel policy have big achievement, people in Gaza now ask for power and light instead of the claming peace and land
Greetings from Gaza


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