Category Archives: Scenes of my life

my memoir =)

New school year in Gaza

On 24th of Aug of the last year I started my work at school. It was long, tiring, and as if I were in a completely different world. I was sad for leaving Belal while he was still 8 months old. I was looking at the first grade students while they were crying. The scene of a mother leaving her child while he is yelling, “I want to go with you” was so sad that I cried many times during that day when I tried to persuade them to stay but they didn’t turn their eyes away from their mothers. My tears rolled over my cheeks, and I tried to hide myself to make sure teachers didn’t see me.

I was eagerly waiting for the 25th of Aug to meet my students, and I thought of some ideas to make them feel happy on their first day of school. I bought them sweets and stars. I prepared the cards and toys.
The school is supposed to start today, yet the beginning of the year seems to be very far. My school may be turned into a shelter for people who are displaced now. Do they write something on the boards? Do the children therein play the game of teachers and students? Did they prepared new pencils or bags? They have nothing. Their school things are under the  rubbles. they no longer have uniforms, books or pencilcases. they may even dream of the day on which school starts so that their parents give them shekels to buy a piece of biscuits.This time, their parents have nothing to give them, nor can they provide them a safe place to live in.


I’m ashamed to feel sad for leaving my son for 6 hours while there are children whose parents left them forever.I may not cry for the children who leave their mums. I’m afraid I may cry over the loss of some of my students, the stories of bombing their houses or their tears when they talk about their families that were massacred.
What happiness may a star or some candy bring to a child who has lost every thing? This year is going to be sad, very sad!


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Posted by on August 25, 2014 in Being a Gazan, Scenes of my life


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Good Morning, Mum

original text is in Arabic, by : Mohammad al- Sheikh Yusuf

translated by: Yasmeen Faeq


Good Morning, Mum/ Good Morning, Mohammed. A massacre has just happened a little time ago two streets away from our house!
This is how I woke up yesterday; from the nightmares that have become habitual, to the brutal truth which we lie every time we say we used to. Stand abandoning sweet taste of sleep, repeat: “Death doesn’t hurt dead people; it does hurt live ones instead- M.D.”. Follow up on the news in a mad way. I always hated that bold red line of news. I always hated the fact that once you are dead, you won’t exceed a passing story on T.V news.
After being, in those old days, the First Hero of your parents who are watching you all day and night getting happy if his/her length increased one millimeter, and, in a moment, you become a mere name that doesn’t take more than a second from news listeners to know while you remain in your people’s minds and hearts who pin your photo on the wall, everyday imagine how your new face would look like if you were there, everyday imagine your haircut that suits you in this new age, and the color of your wedding suit would you choose, after years from now, if you remained live, only if you remained live no more!

– Good night, Mum/ A new massacre has happened. A lot of children has been killed; Azzam Family!
That was what I have said to my mother who pretends to be asleep waking up every hour checking the family heads to be all safe and sound except Mohammed who is still restless and troubled counting children in their way to heaven. I Stay up all night stunned and confused, change T.V channels, listen to radio, and follow up internet all at once. But a rocket in Zaytun region has fallen down. Who hears the region’s name imagines that it is full of green peace though it was a dark black night, or let it be a red, the color doesn’t matter, it doesn’t belong to peace; this is what matters. The rocket falls tenaciously and intentionally, its eyes stare, and EPOLDE. This is its only function. If it had a heart, it would instantly change its task or it would commit a suicide before it carries it out. Then, the radio’s sound gets louder, the reporter stands in front of the hospital, waits ambulances; his voice gets louder and louder: “Now injuries arrive. I’ll count them for you. It’s a child. No, they are two. All of them are children. Three, five, nine. No, they are fifteen children. Their number is increasing.” The reporter collapses, bursts into tears, and leaves me sclerotic as an idol in an abandoned temple, as a Church belt felt a headache, as a paraplegic on a railway, and as me now while trying to write about what I can not thinking how would it be if the scene was like this: the reporter is a teacher counting the happy children who just returned from a leisure trip while they are jumping and assuring each other that his/her “head” has been successfully passed under the teacher’s hand preparing themselves to return home to tell their mothers about the journey after eating what is left from their candy at the bus!
I keep awake; don’t want to die asleep, because I want to scream a little before death comes to us, because I think of making a try to repel the rocket by my shaky body. Perhaps I would add a few seconds of survival chance to Barhoom and Asoom, my little siblings. Yet, I collapse at noon after several days sitting at my place, don’t do anything except smoking and hearing the sounds of war and resurrection. Half an hour later, I wake up to the sound of funeral of “Al-Dalou Massacre”. Is the word “massacre” really enough for martyrs to trust that language didn’t rape their right of expression?
– Mohammed, get up, get up, a new massacre
– Include children, mother?
– Get up as it is a massacre, so it includes children!
The first image I see on TV, a picture of two twins, the broadcaster confirms that one died and the other is missing, and just minutes later, it takes only a few minutes, bringing the news that the family stepped up to the Lord almost together, father and mother and two children. I sit on the chair contracted and ball-shaped, I put my hands on my head, the phone rings, I get a good news, I laugh because the one brought it wants me to laugh, tell him I am happy, hang up, and look at my mother: How could we get happy now? While they really exist these who are screaming and crying? We forget the news or postpone its joy.
My family tells me that a house one street away from us got a threat, and the square was completely evacuated, look for “Barhoum”. He does not care about me, and turns his face, and then come to me within minutes and says: “originally I am not afraid. It’s normal. I don’t get afraid.” I did not understand why he said that, and why I did not justify to him that death is worse than waiting for it, then ask “Asom” to take him to the room to play, and the truth is that I did not want him to watch the children while they are out of their burial to the morgue.

I think of those who their houses are being bombed, those homes that hold a memory in every corner of them. What do you remember to take before exiting? What was left? Their clothes? Wristwatches? Personal photos and the large photo wall that speaks the family smile? Small clothes that the mother hided to always remind her sons and daughters that, one day, their size didn’t exceed her hand’s tip, and promise them to give them to her grandchildren – their children to wear them, and did they take the window where they drank tea hundreds of times? Did they take their memories with them? How could a memory be destroyed that easy? -Having built stone by stone!

Original text by Mohammad al- Sheikh Yusuf

النص الأصلي : • – صباح الخير يا أمي / صباح النور محمد، حدثت مجزرة قبل قليل؛ عائلة الدلو، خلف المنزل بشارعين !

هكذا استيقظتُ بالأمس، من كوابيسِ النومِ التي اعتدناها فصارت أليفة، إلى الحقيقةِ الشرسة التي نكذبُ كلما قُلنا أننا اعتدناها، أقفُ من نومي وأرددُ “الموت لا يوجع الموتى؛ بل يوجعُ الأحياء – م.د”، وأتابعُ الأخبار بشكلٍ جنوني، لطالما كرهتُ شريط الأخبار الأحمر، لطالما كرهتُ فكرة أنك حين تموتُ فإنكَ لن تتجاوز مجرد خبرٍ عابرٍ في نشرةِ الأخبار، بعد أن كنتَ سابقاً بطلَ أُمِكَ وأبيكَ الأول، الذي يشاهدانه ليل نهارٍ، ويفرحانِ كُلما ازداد طوله ميليمتراً واحداً، وفي ثانيةٍ واحدٍ، تصبحُ مجرد اسمٍ لا يأخذُ من وقتِ المشاهدين أكثر من ثانيةٍ لسماع اسمهِ، وتبقى عالقاً في ذهنِ أهلكَ، الذين يعلقون صورتكَ على ما تبقى من الحائطِ، ويتخيلون كل يومٍ شكلكَ الجديد لو كنت موجوداً، وتسريحة الشعرِ المناسبة لك في هذا العمر، ولون بدلة عُرسكِ التي كنت ستختارها بعد أعوامٍ، لو بقيت حياً، فقط لو بقيت حياً لا أكثر !

– تصبحين على خيرٍ يا أمي/ حدثت مجزرة جديدة، مات الكثير من الأطفال، عائلة عزام !
هكذا قلتُ لأمي التي تصحو كل ساعةٍ من تظاهرها بالنومِ، وتتفقدُ رؤوس العائلة، كلهم بخير، إلا محمد ما زال على قيدِ القلقِ والتوترِ، ويَعُدُ الأطفال وهم في طريقهم إلى السماء.
أجلسُ طوال الليلِ مشدوهاً، ومشدوداً، أقلبُ قنوات التلفاز، وأسمع الراديو، وأتابع الإنترنت في وقتٍ واحد، إلا أن سقط صاروخ في منطقةِ الزيتون، ومن يسمع اسم المنطقة يتخيلُ أنها تنعمُ بالسلامِ الأخضر، إلا أنها كانت ليلة سوداء، أو حمراء، لا يهم اللون المهم أنها لا تمد للسلامِ بصلة، يسقطُ الصاروخ بعنادٍ شديدٍ وقصدٍ، يحدقُ بعينهِ، وينفجر، هذه مهمته الوحيدة، لو كان له قلب لغير مهنته، أو انتحر قبل أن يفعلها، ثم يعلو صوت الراديو، المذيع يقفُ أمام المستشفى، ينتظرُ سيارات الإسعاف، يعلو صوته أكثر، ” الآن تصلُ الإصابات، سأعدها لكم، إنه طفل، لا طفلان، إنهم جميعاً أطفال، ثلاثة، خمسة، تسعة أطفال، لا لا إنهم خمسة عشر طفلاً، أنهم يتزايدون، ثم ينهارُ المراسل، وينفجرُ بالبكاءِ، ويتركني متصلباً مثل صنمٍ في معبدٍ مهجور، مثل جرس كنيسةٍ شعرُ بصداعٍ، مثل مشلولٍ على سكةِ حديد، ومشوشاً مثلي الآن وأنا أحاولُ الكتابة عن ما لا أستطيع، وأفكرُ كيف أن ذلك المشهد كان يمكن أن يكون مثلاً على هذه الشاكلة، المذيع هو أستاذ، ويعد الأطفال الفرحين بعودتهم من رحلةٍ ترفيهية، والأطفال يتقافزون ويؤكدون مرور رؤوسهم تحت يدِ الأستاذ، ويستعدون للعودةِ إلى المنزلِ كي يخبروا أمهاتهم عن الرحلة، بعد أن يأكلوا في الباص ما تبقى معهم من الحلوى !
أظلُ مستيقظاً لأنني لا أريدُ الموت نائماً، لأنني أرغبُ بالصراخِ قليلاً قبل أن يسقط علينا الموت، لأنني أفكرُ في محاولةِ صدِ الصاروخِ بجسدي الهش، ربما أضيفُ بضع ثوانٍ من فرصةِ النجاةِ لبرهوم وأسوم أخوتي الصغار، إلا أنني أنهارُ عند الظهيرة بعد عدة أيامٍ الجلوسِ في مكاني، لا أفعلُ شيئاً سوى التدخين، وسماع صوت الحربِ والقيامة، ثُم أصحو بعد نصف ساعةٍ على صوتِ تشيع جنازةِ مجزرة “عائلة الدلو”، هل حقاً كلمة مجزرة كافية ليثق الشهداء أن اللُغة لم تختزل حقهم في التعبير؟
– محمد قوم قوم، مجزرة جديدة، قوم قوم / فيها أطفال يا أمزي ؟ قوم بس قوم طالما مجزرة يبقى في أطفال !

أول صورة أشاهدها على التلفاز، صورة لطفلين توأم، يؤكد المذيع أن أحدهما استشهد والآخر مفقود، وبعد دقائق فقط، لا يحتاج الأمر إلا لعدة دقائق، ليصل الخبر أن الأسرة صعدت إلى ربها شبه مجتمعة، أب وأم وطفلين، أجلسُ على الكرسي مقرفصاً ومتكوراً أضعُ يداي على رأسي، يرن الهاتف، يصلني خبر سعيد، أضحك لأن من أوصله يحتاج مني أن أضحك، أخبره أنني سعيد، أغلق السماعة، وأنظر إلى أمي: كيف نفرح الآن ؟ فيما هناك من يلطمون ويصرخون ويبكون ؟ وننسى الخبر أو نؤجل الفرح فيه.
يخبرني أهلي أن بيتاً يبعد عنا شارع واحد وصله تهديد، ومربع البيت تم إخلاءه بشكل تام، أنظر إلى “برهوم” لا يكترث لي، ويدير وجهه، ثم يأتي إلي بعد دقائق ويقول: أصلاً مش خايف، عادي، ما بخاف أنا. لم أفهم لماذا قال ذلك، ولماذا لم أبرر له أن الموت أشد من انتظاره، بعدها أطلب من “أسوم” أن تأخذه إلى الغرفة ليلعبا، وفي الحقيقةِ هو أنني لم أكن أريد له أن يشاهد الأطفال وهم يخرجون من دفئهم إلى ثلاجة الموتى.
أفكرُ في الذين تقصف منازلهم، تلك المنازل التي تحملُ في كل زاويةٍ ذكرى، ما الذي تذكروا أخذه قبل الخروج منها؟ ما الذي تركوه؟ ملابسهم ؟ ساعات اليد؟ الصور الشخصية، وصورة الحائط الكبيرة التي تجمع ابتسامة العائلة ؟ الملابس الصغيرة التي خبأتها الأم لتذكر أبناءها دائماً بنهم كانوا في يومٍ من الأيام لا يتجاوزون كفةِ يدها، وتعدهم بأنها ستلبسها لأحفادها – أولادهم، وهل أخذوا النافذة التي شربوا فيها الشاي مئات المرات، هل أخذوا ذكرياتهم معهم ؟ كيف يمكن أن تهدم الذاكرة بتلك السهولة؟، بعد أن بُنيت حجراً حجراً !

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Posted by on November 20, 2012 in On the Margin, Scenes of my life


Universal Children’s Day

I have never payed attention to the date of such a day. I was always hearing about it through school daily program, and I was always forgetting about it by the second the program ends.

This year, Google drew my attention to it. I love Google styles. Once they change the style, I click on the new one tho know what anniversary it is.

Today, Google celebrates the Universal Children’s Day while children of Gaza are being massacred with every elapsing minute.

Google celebrates the Universal Children’s Day while children of Gaza are being trapped under debris of their houses which were damaged over their heads!

Google celebrates the Universal Children’s Day while children of Gaza are being slaughtered, burned, and targeted with huge rockets for playing!

I googled the word “Universal Children’s Day” and found this:

“On December 14, 1954, the UN General Assembly recommended that all countries should introduce an annual event from 1956 known as Universal Children’s Day to encourage fraternity and understanding between children all over the world and promoting the welfare of children.”

Just please, look at the welfare of Gazan children. 25 were massacred on the day of children only, while more than hundred were slaughtered during the last 7 days!

this is the welfare of Gazan children.

I just want to say to the whole world, STOP LYING !!


Back to Death!


I’m neither writing to argue who has started, nor do I writing to plead. I just want to speak about a place on earth where people experience death every moment while they are still alive,  and where people suddenly die with no throes.


It’s Gaza

The last few days, a mother delivered her baby boy (Matar) on the same day her son (Matar, 17 years) was killed. It’s Gaza where people never die, where life goes on despite of every tragedy the city goes through, and where everything seems to grant people more strength.


I’m pregnant,

And the strangest feeling I may feel at these moments is that the little embryo inside my womb moves strongly and quickly once a strong bombing shakes everything around.



The city is drowning in darkness, and the buzzing of the Zionist spy planes is getting louder and louder. My bed is shaking at the moment, and sounds of explosions are deafening.  I just cannot understand how my mother simply says, “go to bed”.


Nothing to lose!

I was reading Nothing to Lose but Your Life by Suad Amiry. I thought, it will be okay if I just lost my life. No Suad, I have many things to lose. I may lose the life of my husband, brother, father, mother, or sister. I may lose a part of my body. I may lose my eight-month embryo. I will be lucky if it is about losing my life only.



The home page suddenly turns into a news screen on which all of my friends write the same status update: Qasef!!!, Bombing.



Despite of this rain of fire, I want people to know 15th of November is Palestine’s independence day =D

Anyway, it’s a nice opportunity to live the lie of Yasser Arafat.

this is how Gaza looked today, and is still, however; in darkness now :


I don’t care

I don’t care about what anybody on earth thinks of Gazans. I don’t care if they called us terrorists. At this moment, I want resistance to go on stronger and stronger. I want resistance to force them stay in their shelters forever. I want them to know we never go to shelters, we never make shelters, even. Shelters are for cowards, and Israel knows, very well,  we are not!

Damn you Israel,

 Long live Gaza. Long live resistance.

Ruba Monzir



Farewell IUG

If our life is a matter of  days and days, the day of farewell is to come sooner or later. I still remember my first step in IUG, as if it were yesterday. My schedule started at 8 am. I wore my brown jelbab, off-white headscarf, small jeans bag, and a ring my father gave me as a gift when I finished high school, and went to say welcome IUG.

I was looking in students faces as a lost child, looking for someone I know. The most difficult thing is to search people’s faces and eyes looking for something familiar, something just to spend some time with, but you don’t find. That day was too hot, and the campus was overcrowded with strange faces.

Days after days, my bag gradually became bigger, my books became more in number and smaller in font size, and I started to make some friends.

I remember: when I was still a beginner searching for words and putting them together to form a correct sentence before I speak English in front of professors and classmates. Although it was broken sometimes, I still remember my teacher when she shook her head slowly up and down and said, “excellent!”

I still remember when IUG was bombed during the Cast Lead in December 2008. The scientific laboratories building kept smoking for about 3 days, and my father kept surfing the internet looking for an undestroyed side of the building and pinning hopes that his laboratory is still alive. However, it was all in vain!

I still remember the smell of savageness coming out of damaged concrete. I still remember the dryness of tree leaves covered with white dust, and I do remember exam sheets and projects were under the debris. Every single minute I spent at IUG is unforgettable.

27th of December, 2009, the first anniversary of Cast Lead. I was a member of IUG Female Students Council. All of members were busy thinking of a strong decoration for the commemoration but we decided what happened is above all decorations! I went up the ruins of the damaged building, holding the microphone and started.

At that time, every single cell inside our hearts was telling Israeli’s: “you will never live in peace as long as we have memories”.

I think of how my life is going to be after graduation. A life away from friends I used to meet daily, a life away from assignments, presentations, and hard work , a life without exams! That has seemed a dream to me since I knew the word (teacher); it seems a nightmare to me now!

All of the details there are distinguishable: the break time, our daily falafel breakfast, the place where we daily sit, our chatting, laughing, cursing marks :S , and photocopying notes 😀 Soha’s mess, Rawand’s complaint, Shaima’s constant will to leave early to have lunch, Rania’s fun and our madness together.

If it’s to say farewell to all of this, it’s may be the time to say welcome to many other things; they will all be grown-ups’ affairs and a life of big responsibilities. If it is time to say farewell, I have too say thanks for too many people:

My parents: thank you for your care, patience, and support.

My professors: thanks for your encouragements.

Dr. Nazmi Al-Masri: thanks a million for making me love teaching and love all what I do.

Dr. Kamal Murtaja: I’m sure if you read this you’ll immediately mark many mistakes, but let me be grateful for you gave me the confidence to write on a blog J

Dr. Ayman Al-Hallaq: the most informative classes were yours. Thank you.

Mr. Jamal Sahabani , my training supervisor: thank you for your confidence and support. I’m proud of you.

All of my friends: thank you for every second you spent with me.

And IUG: thank you for granting me all of these nice people, experiences, and years.

27th May, 2012.. my last exam at IUG. I, intentionally, wore the same brown jelbab, off-white headscarf, and my small jeans bag, but this time with a wedding ring in my left hand, and went to say farewell IUG.



Heeeeeeey, it’s baaaaaaack !


If you are a Gazan, you must immediately know what I am talking about.

In Gaza:

The first question when you call someone: “is there electricity?”

When you meet someone for the first time: instead of asking how do you do, you ask, “How is your electricity?”

When you are in a gathering meeting with friends or relatives, you never speak about weather, but about electricity!

When your Dad comes back from work, the first  question he utters, “when did electricity go off?”

And the first question you may ask someone you intend to visit at 6 pm for instance, instead of “are you free?”, “do you have electricity at 6 pm?”

The first most common and accepted excuse for not doing your assignments, “there was no electricity”

In Gaza, the best gift you may present to someone is definitely ( a rechargeable light)!

In Gaza, it’s not awkward to hear the voice of your neighbour’s vacuum cleaner at 2 am. it’s not awkward to notice people sleep when electricity goes off, and wake up once it goes on, regardless of what time it is.

In Gaza, it’s normal to find clocks empty from numbers except for those which indicate electricity. For me, the watch contains only 4, 6 , and 10 !


Gazans are lucky that they feel the grace of electricity as nobody anywhere else does!

Happiness: when electricity suddenly goes on.

Sad waiting: when it’s about to go off

Astonishment: when it’s on, but it’s not its time to be so.

Family warmth: when it’s off in the evening.

Anger: when it goes on once you sleep, and off once you get up!

Rage: when you have loads of housework and assignments, and you cannot do anything but waiting!

Relaxation: when you are not in the mood to do any thing and it goes off offering you the best excuse ever!


You can find irony in almost everything here. However, once it gets dark, everyone starts thinking seriously. Fathers ask how many candles left. Children know they have to go to bed earlier than normal days. In darkness, all faces are the same, all minutes are the same, all places are the same, and all colors are only one.



On the pavement…



My home is close to my university. I can walk to it every day and even enjoy wandering in the morning hours. I can easily find a taxi in my way back as the distance is somehow short, and my Shekel will be a nice chance for the driver.

Just today, I went back with my friend after having an exam finished at 4 pm. We stopped at the crossroad waiting for a taxi for her. We had to wait for about 30 minutes until she found one.

Well, this was the first time I feel the difficulty they suffer everyday’s morning and afternoon. My friend and I were looking at the coming taxis with hopeful eyes, the hope of which was chipping after the taxi passes leaving us with more than other 20 boys and girls before the pavement trying to fix our hope again.

30 minutes were enough to teach me a lot of things…

Just when we feel we are all the same, we can do what we have never done. Gaza people, those stubborn minds, were sitting in the taxis in fours in the back seat, and twos in the front one. at first, they were complaining, but once they go into the taxi, they forget about the crowded car, praising God they were lucky to find one!

My friend, who studies and woks as a special teacher at the same time, found herself forced to pay the taxi fare doubled, as she wanted to wait no more!

I looked at these long lines of people; they go into waiting same experience twice a day. I thought of  students who may miss their exams waiting for a taxi, teachers who are thinking of their classes they’ll be late for, mothers who are thinking of their kids they have to bring from their kindergarten before it closes its doors, men who are thinking of their work and their tough managers who may deduct from their salary for being late, and even the taxi drivers who are thinking of those long queues of people on both sides of the road and the best way they may find to keep the fuel they hardly got as long as possible!

30 minutes of waiting…

I thought about Gaza, where everything becomes a subject of writing, even things supposed to pass very fast! Gaza, where you can ponder in quickness, you can write with your tears, where you may smile despite of everything, where you miss clean air which is not suffocating with power engines smoke, where you find a matter of irony in every minute detail, but still where you CANNOT SEE IN DARKNESS !