Monthly Archives: September 2011

On the Edge of Death!



What may youngsters think of when they go out with their fathers?

They may think of colorful nice birds in the sky,

Of sweets they may hide from their siblings to enjoy its taste alone

Of old men they may meet in the camp alleys, who will speak too much, and they will keep their minds alerted to memorize and repeat their words to look like adults!

What may a father think of when he goes out with his children?

He may think of life that will elapse,

Of the kids who will have the same length with him one day. He smiles once such a scene is pictured in his mind, and no body knows that he has imagined his kid walking next to him shoulder by shoulder, or even higher like a “cloud”,

Of two warm small palms held in his hands, making the air warmer than ever in his lungs,

Of the passing young men’s faces, and of his child’s face that will become a young man face one day,.That day, he will find a heavenly shadow to rest under.

Muhammad also left with his father. But the air did not visit the earth that day, and the sky was no longer able to stay high, it has to come down a little to accomplish a special mission!

Everything was ordinary. The pedestrians, passing people, cars.  Life was ordinary in spite of everything!

However, a soldier was not ordinary!

Muhammad was not aware of anything, so was his father. But the sidewalk breathed his blood in the morning, allowing no body to forget the smell of his innocent pure blood!

They were two sides: as the scene says. The first is behind a coat of concrete, the other is behind the guns muzzles.

Death had to be distributed over too many bullets, not to be restricted to one bullet only!

The soldier had to repeat the experience of murder thousands of times in order to feel his accomplishment!

He had to listen attentively to the sound of the deepest paternal heartbeat burning, fading, and finally dying in order to be joyful!

Muhammad had to cling to his father’s shirt to find some air to breathe.

He had to cower like a frightened cat in the camp’s allies,

To clench his legs to his chest to save his heart in the left side of his pierced body !

To hide his head in his father’s back who screamed till the air suffocated for his grief,

His father had to do whatever could make time pass more slowly, so that he could get one more second for that small heart clenched to him,  in a power of a shivering childhood,

To erase the long history of hatred, and pin hope on a moment when (humanity) could stop them and say: enough !

To grant his arm unique warmth ,which may never be felt again, so that Muhammad can feel life, although he was living death at those last moments,

He had to fight the time with his trembling voice under his breath, though he knew it was a lost cause, but paternity laws never understand!!

He had to scream: “the boy has died” with all the stun on earth, leaving the scene as a huge exclamation mark!

Muhammad had to die. Every thing had to be painfully over. The soldier went back safely to his house, washed of a burning father’s cries, and fell asleep!


by: Ruba Monzir

A translation of an Arabic text by the Gazan writer Alaa’ Al-Susi

On the 11th anniversary of Muhammad Al-Durrah.



Posted by on September 30, 2011 in Snapshots ..!


‘Miss’ and a red pen!

5:30 am, I opened my eyes quickly, got ready to go to school as I have to be on time.

6:15 am, I closed the apartment’s door and went out. It was a nice chance to feel life in the morning. I went to school on foot, holding many thoughts about how would that day be like. The street in front of my eyes was long and well-paved. I walk in there everyday going to university, but it was the first time I notice the street’s name! It was nice to find that it has the same name the school I was going to have my training at has.

A morning-full scene. It has been ages since the last time I felt the morning’s air, the perfect cloudless sunless blue sky, and the sounds coming out of schools’ buildings mingled with morning’s air.

Every thing was calm to the extent I could clearly hear it breathing! It was a complete new life with a new breath of every single small detail. I could clearly read what is written on the street’s walls, notice how tree leaves were swaying on the blossoms, and feel how beautiful this street is without being disturbed by sellers’ voices or cars jam.

We were created naturally beautiful from inside, calm and peaceful but when our lives are overcrowded, we may not even have a second to notice and keep the beauty of ourselves!

The street was empty except for some few little kids carrying big bags on their backs, wearing the same uniform, and holding each others’ hands.

How innocent our life could be, hoe simple and carefree. I thought, such bags could be the first big concern we may have in our lives, the first thing that may make our lives crowded!

6:25 am, I stepped my first step in the school. I looked with a smiling face. How beautiful the school was, and how lucky I was to be chosen to be a trainee there.

The teacher was assigned to help me in my training course was still young and pretty. Well, I considered it as an advantage. I don’t like those old teachers who have been teaching for ages and thinking each new thing would be in vain.

I insisted to watch the students’ morning queue. I observed it with keen interest. It took me 6 years before, when I was still a school student. I was, and still, enjoying the national anthem, and very much eager to hear it sung at university, but of course there are no queues, no programs, and no national anthem.

I was unified with all the school life aspects. Frankly, I have never liked a teacher! I have never been in love with at least one class although I was always the first student!

I was surprised with myself today when I felt I don’t want the day to finish. Does it need all those years away from school in order to love it? I don’t know. The only thing I know now is that I, as a teacher, must not let my students have the same feeling I had towards the school when I was at their age.

I introduced myself to each class I entered, wrote some exercises on the board, and checked their answers with a red pen.

What an authority given by such a pen!

A red pen, I was always thinking, why do teachers use this color particularly? And why do headmasters use the green one? Well, I have never found an answer!

Anyway, I was roaming from a class to another holding my notebook and that un-comprehendible powerful pen, checking students’ answers with great pleasure.

The point to which all students and student-teachers were surprised was that I was very happy with the break’s bell and rushed with students to buy a sandwich from the canteen. I am still in love with those aspects of school life.

I didn’t feel tired. I didn’t feel upset. The only feeling I had during the whole day was only happiness.

The feeling created within my heart when I heard the word ‘Miss’ cannot be described on paper. The only thing I can say is that the success I may achieve in teaching depends on how much I love what I am doing, and unify myself with the surrounding atmosphere. =)

my school =)


Posted by on September 15, 2011 in Scenes of my life


Gaza, where nothing’s forgotten!


“Gaza Walls, unique papers of stone..!”

Do you want to know something about Gaza? Well, it’s too simple. Have a tour in Gaza streets and you will know every single minute detail about it.

Gaza is the place where you are free to the level that you may express your feelings on the streets’ walls. But notice, they are not ordinary feelings. They are the feelings which have never been felt by any one, but Palestinians!

I may never understand the ABCs of life as Gaza walls that store sagas do! And I cannot tell a story like a child drawing his dreams on streets’ walls can do!

Gaza walls, daily “newspapers of stone” that can convey every thing better than any book, song, or even an eyewitness!

Gaza, this un-comprehendible land! The land of the people who dissolve in their exhaustion to the extent of no explanation!

The area here is not geography, and it has never been so! Here is a city that distinguishes itself as a remarkable one throughout the history of places! It is not only a land; its boarders can not be simplified on a map, and can not be drawn on paper!

Gaza knows how to save its history, how to tell its tales to the whole world without words, and how to engrave the images of its martyrs and leaders, days of grief and joy, and its seriousness and irony in the same time!

A tour in Gaza streets will be enough to tell you about martyrs, freedom fighters, assassinated or killed only for being Gazans! Our walls are our daily newspapers that keep the dates that exhaust our memory, too many dates! They keep the images till they are washed by rain, or faded away by summer sun!

A walk in an alley will till you the stories of those who live in its area, those old men and women who retuned pure after their pilgrimage,

May Allah accept your pilgrimage

those who have lost their son forever in an aggressive Israeli attack, and decided not make anybody forget him!

and those who have just married and their congrats painting is still new on the alley’s walls!

congratulations for the groom Mahmoud !

You may see also some cartoons spread everywhere with an expressive statements

Wait, never think that a walk in Gaza streets will disturb you with bleak sad images and statements. In this land of contradictions, there is always a smile in each tear, and a tear behind each smile. There is always a new life under every destroyed building, and a worry from destruction behind every restored building! Gaza walls can tolerate all such contradictions.

Still there is a space for normal life. You will definitely see some advertisements of hairdressers, taxi offices, teaching centers… etc

Taxis' office advertisement

And another space for fun and exchanging jokes!

Khalil Shaa't, an atomic scientist in Gaza!

This sentence is written by an old man who went mad thinking he is an ‘atomic scientist’. You can see it on most of Gaza walls, and even in Egyptian Rafah and Al-Arish cities.

Life does not seem to be some repeated breaths, but there is something of details’ hustle inhaled into the lungs too!

When you take a taxi from your home to a place you go daily for, you notice how you have never got bored with reading what is written on streets’ walls, although they need long time to be renewed.

UNRWA headquarter's wall

In Gaza, you may read a congratulation statement for a groom one day, and read his death notice some days after!

Gaza, where life and death are two terms of the same meaning! Death was not far from the survived! And the dead people do not go away from life, but they are still alive in the city exhausted memory.

The images are resurrecting them every single second, in streets noise, in the blueness of the sea and sky, in the roar of remote waves, and in the night air breeze! No place to forget here and no place to remember too! There is a grey area, in which we go deep in forgetting in order to remember, and go deep in writing history in order to forget. We are still in this grey area, in which every thing is present and absent, dead and alive at the same time!!

Gaza, where there is an explosion of questions about humanity/inhumanity, meaningfulness/ meaninglessness, life/death, identity/loss, reality/unreality.

Gaza is the land where a free bird raises thousand meanings of freedom.

Where a twittering sound causes a grief that poetry can not describe.

Where the air becomes the pleasure of lovers, and the breaths of those who are unified with its atmosphere.

Gaza, where things turn from its nature to become natural, where phosphor becomes a familiar smell of lemon trees! And blood becomes a feature of olive, and orange color!

Gaza, where we are resurrected after every death, and renew our sadness, victory, and defeat as well! Where neither the land memory nor the globe can forget us!

Israeli writings on Al-Sawaferi family’s house! “Death for Arabs”

Israeli writings on Al-Sawaferi family’s house! “Death for Arabs”

Unfortunately Israel, we will never die, as long as we have children who engrave their dreams on stone, spread them above sky clouds, and paint them on the rainbow!

We will never die, as long as you know you are only mist that will vanish soon!

We will never die, as long as we have mothers who breastfeed their babies the love of Palestine instead of milk!

By Ruba Monzir
10:56 pm

Some of the sentences above are translation of an amazing Arabic text about Gaza by the great Gazan writer (Alaa’ Al-Susi).


Posted by on September 14, 2011 in Being a Gazan


My First Day of My Last Year


The last night elapsed too slowly. I was looking to the watch, as if its pointers were sticking for 20 minutes whenever they move to announce a new second!

I was drowning in my pessimistic thoughts, thinking of every single small aspect of that new semester.

Every thing would be different.

It will be my first day of my last year in university. I said to myself: it will be the same with the last day, nothing differs, as I believe whenever things start, they end!!

That night was my friend’s wedding. I had to feel happy but I didn’t. Instead, I felt very sad. She is the one who I trust at the department. We were always together, in lectures, in having breakfast, in assignments, shopping and many other things! But now I may feel alone, especially in classes!

I was totally taken with my bleak thoughts, wiping my tears away all the night, negotiating with them to stop and let me sleep, but they were very stubborn..!

I didn’t know how I finally closed my eyes and slept emotionlessly! I woke up, looked at my pale face in the mirror. I was shocked to see my eyes! They have become two red swollen things for which I had to wait for some time to return natural eyes!!

I washed my face and waited a little bit till every thing with my face was okay. I put on my new long Islamic dress (Jelbab), hejab, boots, and bag. Closed the door and walked towards the university which lights of it illuminate my room every night. I can see from my room’s window many of its buildings, many cars, and a rush of students in a scene that reflects an existence of a whole new life every day outside this squared area, with its four walls and artificial stars and moons stacked there!

My wall's sky 😀

How much artificial our life could be! Artificial smiles, artificial conversations, artificial beauty…

I decided to welcome that new year with a new version of me, a version with nothing artificial, which I still have to work on to be made as good as I can!

Serving that version demanded me to smile since I entered that big gate of university till I left it going back to home..

Things were much better than I thought of! I was happy to meet my friends who were about to drown in the sea yesterday.. I hugged them and felt it was a great grace that I still can see them and talk to them.

I was pleased to meet my classmates again, to know new professors, and to enjoy the atmosphere of university again..

Some of my friends were not there, for they have graduated, and many thousands of new faces have taken their places. Nothing stays the same!

Nothing could be funnier than a student who attends about the half of a lecture, and then she discovers that she is in the wrong place. Her lecture is supposed to be in the same room number, but in the other building, poor new students!

You can easily recognize those new students. Their eyes are looking for something or somebody most of the time. They are holding their schedules in their hands, looking at it and at the rooms’ numbers!

They also may ask about a building while they are in that building at the moment they ask!

Add that they may ask about the most recognized places in the campus which everybody knows!

Today, I had two classes only, but waited with my friend and helped her registering a course she had a problem with.

Oh yeah, today I knew which school I am going to be a trainee at. I was satisfied; it’s not very far from my home and a governmental one as I wanted.

IUG from my window

We may not be able to write our feelings on papers, but sometimes we feel there are some moments that must be saved.

After I went home, I felt that things may be better than we think. I have to start my new year with high spirits, work hard, and enjoy every single moment of it; I know that an elapsed second can not come back again this year.

Nothing to add, I only wish it would be great year as the image I portrayed for it in my mind.



Posted by on September 11, 2011 in Scenes of my life


No longer a child !

Dear father,

I am not writing to ask about you, as I know you are safe where you are!

Neither am I writing to tell you how much tired my mum has been since you have gone!

I’m just writing because I need to talk with you, to tell you how badly I miss you..

I know the words of my letter will never be lightened by your sight. They can never be held by your kind hands, just like my other letters. I know they are all beyond the postman experience!

I wonder if you miss us, if you can hear me when I talk to you every night before sleeping!

I can feel your palm wipes my tears every night. I can see you wherever I look. I still can hear you clapping for me when I sang a full-of-mistakes song!

Daddy, I have never sung since you have gone!

You were asking me “how was your Eid” after every Eid. To tell you, this Eid, I didn’t enjoy the swings, while I was rushing with my siblings to have a turn on that big high swing in our narrow overcrowded street. I didn’t like the sweets as every Eid. I didn’t buy new clothes even.

My mother bought (Ali) new t-shirt and trousers, as he is the youngest and will like to have some, but daddy can you believe? Ali refused to wear them. He suddenly burst into tears and said, “ if baba is not going to give me (edeia), why should I wear new clothes?”!!

Ali has never liked guns and pistols. You know he used to be a very peaceful young boy. But can you imagine? The only toy he bought this Eid was a gun!!!

He once asked my mother, “Where is baba?” She replied, “In Paradise”

He does not know what the word “Paradise” means. He went to his room for some time, and came back to mum. Ali asked, “Mum, where is paradise?”

“In the sky” mum said.

That day, Ali kept looking at the sky endlessly. My mother asked, “what’s up Ali?”

He said, “I want to see daddy, he must appear”!!!

I was asking all the time, and sometimes your answer was, “I’ll till you when you grow up”

Once a talking, you told me, “When you grow up, I will buy you a cell phone”

“When you grow up, you will be a beautiful bride!”

I was asking my self, how can I grow up more quickly? When will I become the grown-up that my father tells her every thing with no when-you-grow-up statement?

Daddy, I have never thought of something that will make me grow up 10 years or more in only one day! My grief of your loss has made me that grown-up you told me about!

I am no longer a child; I started to understand many things you wanted to tell me when I grow up.

Daddy, I grew up, but you were not here!


I was asking my mother every morning, “whom you made the second cup for?” and she was not answering.

My mother is still making two cups of coffee every morning, but I stopped asking her!


I’m sure I’ll write for you again just like what I do every night, and I’m sure that you know every thing without reading my letters.

I love you Daddy..


by: Ruba Monzir
8:40 pm

a letter from a martyr’s daughter to her father …


Posted by on September 2, 2011 in Being a Gazan