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a woman standing amongst debris from destroyed buildings in gaza

“I know we need to be brave, to endure, but death is closing in on families in Gaza”

Amid the ongoing escalation, an Islamic Relief worker* in Gaza shares his growing sense of despair as an end to the violence remains out of sight.

We are exhausted as the weight of each day grows still heavier on our shoulders. Life is becoming unbearable. The pain and suffering are increasing by the moment and people are desperate. I too am desperate, and starting to lose hope that there will be an end to this violence.

Everyone in Gaza is just awaiting death.

We have done nothing to deserve such brutality. We are just civilians – ordinary families – who want to live in peace. We do not care about politics, nor are we part of it.

I know my people have lived under occupation for years and that they deserve to life freely, but right now everyone just wants this violence to stop. Right now, we have no aspirations or hope beyond survival.

Here in Gaza, we are very vulnerable. All supply lines for basic needs come from outside. We do not control access to water, electricity, fuel or communications.

Palestinian families can’t bear any more

Having all these lines closed – or at best severely limited, with a small number of trucks now bringing in some food, water, and medicines – feels like a relentless suffocation and for all too many will become an express route to death.

Yes, I am writing that frankly to you, my dear readers, because we can’t bear any more of this.

I know I need to be stronger and more resilient, but we are all tired here. We are all praying that the killing will stop.

There must be brave people somewhere who are willing to talk and reach an agreement, but it feels like there is no one in the world who cares about civilian lives.

A terrifying moment

Just as I was writing these lines yesterday while sitting in front of my parents’ home, an airstrike hit a house nearby. I saw all the children in the house, around 15 of them, running and crying after the huge boom. The rubble from the blast shot all over the area and there was smoke and dust everywhere.

I made sure my mum and sisters were ok, as my children were crying, and my wife called for me to come inside the house. It was a totally terrifying moment. I ran to take cover behind a wall but pieces of rubble and shrapnel kept falling.

I went out to see where the damage and I first noticed that part of my car had been damaged by a stone. Alhamdulillah, me and my brother managed to fix it.

Whose blood was on my car?

I found some drops of blood on the car hood and thought they were from the people in the home that had been hit. It turned out the blood was from my brother’s finger, as he’d been injured by a piece of falling masonry. Alhamdulillah, he was not seriously injured.

After half an hour, when the children had calmed down, we started to clear the area.

We saw that different sized pieces of rubble had fallen on our house. We got to our knees, thanking Allah that none of them had hit any of us. That would have been catastrophic. We would have lost someone if they had.

Ambulances and firefighters worked in the area for a while and then it was quiet again. The lives that have been there have now gone to another place. That is how things are in Gaza now, a single moment can change an entire family’s life. In fact, it can threaten their very existence.

I can’t stop being afraid about this. Every time I remember the attack, my stomach churns, and I feel frozen to the spot. I am afraid we might be next for no reason other than being here.

Give us a chance to live

I am consistent in sending you these words because I think I need to leave a story behind.

Palestinians are not just numbers in a death toll. Each one has their own feelings, their own favourite dish, their own football team they like, their own hobbies and their own memories. I have mine too.

I want to be remembered. I want to attend a Manchester United game, despite their poor performance on the football pitch. I want to go to my office. I want to see my children grow. I want to drink clean water and charge my phone. I want to live a simple, stupid life. Give me a chance to live it. Who is giving these chances and who is taking them away? I actually do not know.

I hope you can feel something of what I feel.

I hope you can do something to help me, my family, my friends and all us innocent people. Please remember that once we were here with you, sharing our thoughts. Please pray that we can still be able to share these thoughts with you in the future.

Please help Islamic Relief to support people in desperate need in Gaza. Donate to our Palestine Emergency Appeal now.

*This blog is anonymised to protect the safety and security of our colleague.

Editor’s note: This blog was submitted amid a fast-changing situation on the ground, which has since continued to deteriorate. This information was correct as of the afternoon of Wednesday 25 October.

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