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Gaza Lives in Darkness

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With all the enormous technological progress nowadays, one can barely live without electricity. Luckily, i was born to have the stamp of a Gazan. I always wondered if we Gazans are genetically extraordinary. There must be some specific genes inside our bodies that give us this incomparable strength and infinite patience. Only this reason does seem logical to me. What else can make us bear these unusual conditions? Nothing! Absolutely nothing.

 

I am a senior student, studying English Literature at the Islamic University of Gaza. We have electricity these days 6 hours aday. I cannot cope with this " new electricity schedule" since my study is 90 % based on electricity and Internet. A lot of assignments are to be submitted each week if not everyday. How can I do all of these assignments with this frequent electricity cut? And guess what? You might have those six-hour-electricity during your supposedly sleeping hours. In this weekend, for example, I slept at 9 pm for power was off, my ipad and cellpones ran out of battery, and I had nothing to do but to sleep. Then the electricity came back at 2 am to be cut at 8 am. Unfortunately, I woke up at 9 am to find no electricity. " Ugh, I have to wait till 8 pm to do my homework", I told myself.

 

My sister Iman, 26 has delivered her baby Lama a week ago. She came to the world two days after her estimated due date . " why to be in a hurry? To come in the world of Gaza where no lights are there. Let her stay in her mom's belly and enjoy her last hours there.", we humorously said. It was not as humorous as it might sound. This is our melancholic reality where we have no choice but to accept it. I sometimes envy the newborn Lama for she does not yet understand the situation around her. Isn't it better to care about nothing in this Gaza?

 

Here I am writing on my ipad and defying its low battery. The big dilemma is that we do not know who is responsible for all of this! Israel, Hamas who controls the Gaza Strip, Abbas who controls the west bank, or Egypt? Whoever was responsible for this miserable situation, it is really agonizing when you find your leaders have electricity in their homes, and you are stuck in the damned darkness!!! Were not they claiming that they will apply the teachings of Islam before they were elected by us? Does our Islam say the leader should live a decent life while his people are languishing? Why do not they take Omer Ibn Al-Khattab as an example? " In the year of the great famine, Omer who was the second Caliph of Islam ate oil till his belly rumbled. He said, “You can rumble or you cannot. By Allah, you will not taste fat till the children of the Muslims eat their full.”  

 

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Discussion 18 Comments

  • Peter Lach-Newinsky 29th Nov 2013

    Our thoughts and hearts are with you, Alaa. Thank you so much for writing again and telling us about the tough conditions in Gaza. I found it particularly interesting to read about how the Hamas leaders have managed to provide electricity for themselves.

    Nevertheless, I hope you're getting something out of your English studies. Judging by your own English, you must be a great student. As an old English teacher I'm wondering what literature you may be studying or just reading for pleasure at the moment? Do you like any Anglophone poets? We all love Darwish.

    • Alaa Radwan 30th Nov 2013

      Thanks dear Peter for your response. I am trying as much as I can to use my English to express our suffering as individuals in Gaza. Unfortunately, we did not study about anglophone poetry! I like to read for George Orwell, Kate Stockett, and Khaled Hussieni.

    • Peter Lach-Newinsky 1st Dec 2013

      Love Orwell too, Alaa, especially 1984, Homage to Catalonia, Road to Wigan Pier and the Collected Essays.
      If you're just starting out in reading contemporary/modern Anglophone poetry you might like to try more accessible poets like Billy Collins or Charles Bukowski or Mary Oliver...

      All the best greetings from Australia to Gaza, and may the power come back to Gaza in more ways than one.

  • LedSuit ' 30th Nov 2013

    Helps put things in perspective Alaa.

  • Johannes 30th Nov 2013

    Thank you so much for sharing your views with us Alaa! Much too often it seems all too easy to simply forget about what others go through while being in a safe place myself, having all the comfort one could possibly ask for. The few experiences I had living without electricity were during the months I spent in slums and rural areas in Africa and Southern Asia. It was enough to understand that a lack of electricity is a real drag. Not to mention all of the other conditions Palestinians have to endure. I'm always looking forward to hearing from you!

    • Alaa Radwan 30th Nov 2013

      Thank you so much dear Johannes. You words touched my heart. It is really too difficult not to have electricity nowadays. Living a similar experience of not having power in Africa, you must know how it feels like. I will try to write every so often.

  • Dave Jones 3rd Dec 2013

    I read today about the flotilla of Gazan protestors going out to defy the fishing boundary. Good luck to them and I hope many hear their message about injustice and self-determination.

    • Alaa Radwan 4th Dec 2013

      Thanks for sharing the news, Dave. That's true since we have been besiged for so long and some activists tried to broke the siege in the sea

  • Peter Lach-Newinsky 3rd Dec 2013

    Here below is a link to a Real News report/interview re the closure of the last power plant in Gaza. Shocking. The Israeli and Egyptian governments are criminals for stopping Gaza from living and breathing. This is another flagrant breach of all human rights, an expression of the collective punishment ideology which was once considered a war crime when the Nazis did it, now routine.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlKB_Gb01cg

    • Timothy Erik Ström 3rd Dec 2013

      Peter, you beat me to it, I was just about to post that story here! The seven minute video outlines the power crisis in Gaza and is well worth a watch.

      Alaa, thank you very much for you post, it's always great to get a first hand account from someone on the ground. I wish you all the best with your studies and for the immediate lifting on the immoral siege on Gaza. You've my solidarity.

    • Alaa Radwan 4th Dec 2013

      Thanks so much for your support, Timothy. It is really good to have people like you aware of what is happening here. I will try my best to keep you updated. :)

    • Alaa Radwan 4th Dec 2013

      Thank you very much for posting this link, Peter. Though nothing can tell how much we are suffering especially from power outage, this video gives an insight to what is going on here.

    • Alaa Radwan 4th Dec 2013


      Thank you very much for posting this link, Peter. Though nothing can tell how much we are suffering especially from power outage, this video gives an insight to what is going on here.

  • Peter Lach-Newinsky 6th Dec 2013

    Hi Alaa,

    Hope you're 'hanging in there'. Here's a link to an interesting plan for making Gaza totally based on renewable and solar energy, which would make you independent of the one bad old coal power plant (and Israeli/Egyptian control) that is part of your problem:

    http://www.climateforpeace.org/downloads/SS09_solar_for_gaza.pdf

    As for direct action, I wonder if it would be possible to think about forming a consumer cooperative to buy solar photovoltaic panels in bulk and thus more cheaply? I'm sure some crowd funding for this via the internet and IOPS might help as well. Could the local government maybe help with that or even start helping local (maybe even cooperative, self-managed) production of these panels in Gaza? In Germany and here in Australia the government has subsidised people to buy such panels...

  • Hal Womack 20th Dec 2013

    Gee, I have enjoyed several of the articles by Professor Tom McNamara of Rennes, France which have appeared on the COUNTERPUNCH Website [linked below in Alpha]. In such cases I often try to collect an "eddress" for the authors and sometimes write to them. The closest I could get for TM was his membership in something called "IOPS". Hunting around on this Website, I learned that another IOPS member was me & that I had joined in January of last year. A somewhat sobering discovery. Low level of activity, eh what? I invite anyone close to me either in geography (San Francisco, California, USA) or in thinking to suggest how we may begin to act more positively.

    Meanwhile, wandering about the locale, I was very happy to find this blog by Miss Alaa Radwan in Gaza, a university student. To my mind, the word "Gaza" resonates in bold, bright, shining colors. Comfortable people with a lot of money are usually far removed psychologically from those who are in pain. Anyone living in Gaza like AR OTOH has IMHO a live spiritual connection with all those who are suffering in our world. The most acute degree of distress consists in being targetted for murder by that entity which I have named JAPE for "Jewish-American Planetary Empire" (Beta). I am betting that Miss Radwan can instantly understand this deep truth, whereas a whole privileged class of Stanford faculty, Ivy Leaguers, Oxbridge strollers and other imperial hirelings will react to this simple observation like so many scalded cats or, in some cases, slyboots. NaZionists or SOTSies, as I have also tagged them for "Sons Of The Stern" gang, are in a league of their own, on the top of the world criminal structure of tyranny & despotism, in fact.

    The second most acute degree of suffering occurs in starvation or in other relatively slow deaths from "nickels", meaning conditions of extreme poverty. Briefly to put numbers on these two global categories: My esteemed Net-friend, the Jew Gideon Polya PhD of Melbourne has estimated that worldwide US military aggression since 1950 has resulted in some 30,000,000 [thirty million] "excess deaths". Gideon quite literally wrote the book on this subject [Gamma]. According to the basic law which in 1945 the International Military Tribunal laid down at Nuremberg, by far most of such fatalities resulting from high-tech aggression comprise so many cases of murder in the first degree, to use the American expression. Daily avoidable global deaths from poverty are estimated @ ~44,000 [forty-four thousand].

    To come back directly to the point of the people of Gaza and also of Syria, of Iraq, of Afghanistan, of Colombia --here to name only five out of many national examples-- I propose that those of us in IOPS who concern ourselves first of all with issues of world justice & law, that we organize ourselves as a distinct group in order to promote a planetary campaign to arrest KinkHenKi & his principal accomplices for war crimes. Additional names on the list of major perps include Obomber, Clintonz, Bushez, Haim Saban, Netanyhahu, Sulzberger the Heirhead, Dianne Feinstein, John McCain usw. We should aim at slammerizing at least the 3T's or Top Ten Thousand JAPE power brokers, both military & civilian.

    One of our first steps toward this supreme goal will be to construct a proper forum for public discussion & debate centered on this issue. We aim, I daresay, to generate agreement among the masses of our Seven Billion. As I seem to recall offhand, the first public voice I heard calling for the prosecution of U.S. war criminals was that of Angela Davis back in the 1970's. She's still around (thank Heaven!). Maybe it's time finally to get our act together?

    Will striking straight at the heart of the Big Wicked prove the most effective way to bring relief to Gaza and to tormented victims everywhere?
    .................................
    ALPHA:
    WEEKEND EDITION DECEMBER 20-22, 2013
    Ending War and Terror
    Saying No To War Crimes
    by TOM MCNAMARA

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/12/20/saying-no-to-war-crimes/

    [Other honorable names to note alongside that of Capt. Michael Heck include: Master Sergeant Donald Duncan; Lt. Col. Anthony Herbert PhD; Major Charlie Liteky (Medal of Honor + recidivist political ex-con) and, of course, Pvt. Bradley or Chelsea Manning as well as Edward Snowden --HW.]
    ..............................................
    BETA, Google Groups Page: [Search results for "hal womack" jape = Posts: 662].

    See also, for example:
    alt.politics › 5/24/2010
    Slogans for San Francisco, Day of Obomber Visit
    http://tinyurl.com/l9l6wah

    .............................................
    GAMMA = BODY COUNT: GLOBAL AVOIDABLE MORTALITY SINCE 1950 [211 pp, 2007].

    • Alaa Radwan 20th Dec 2013

      Thank you very much for your long impressive comment. I too agree that we IOPS members should move to action and to do something. There is too much injustice in this world. I am saying this while my brother and his family are stuck in Germany and cannot get their passports permited from the Egyptian side. However, his wife and my nephews were supposed to made their flight into Egypt where the only crossing, Rafah Crossing, is located. Yet they were not allowed to get into the airplane since the Egyptians do not allow any Palestinian to enter Egypt when Rafah Crossing is closed, althought my sister-in-law and her kids can enter Egypt without visa but they couldn't or better to say, they were not allowed to make it. And guess what the reason is? Because they are Gazans! Everything in our lives reminds us of our " Gazanity".