Gaza in Grief: A Season of Death

By Supriya Jha | Last Updated: Monday, August 4, 2014 - 11:38
 
Supriya Jha
Crystal Clear
 

I inhale smoke, I chew shrapnels

I burst with the noise of a blast,

I feel like a sheep with ringing bells

I quiver with the walls,

I know, I won`t last.

I breathe poison, I see fire!

I live death, I die alive!


It`s a season of death in Gaza. And the lines above are perhaps the unheard sentiments that float through an ashen firmament crying with the billows of dark smoke, beneath which lies a coastal city, battered and bruised by assaults. 


These are just some of the unspoken thoughts that scare the soul of every innocent being living there - a small kid, who runs under the safe embrace of his mother every time a jet vrooms past; a granny who frantically scours through the debris for her spectacles and belongings in what was once her home sweet home; an infant wailing and left all alone to understand what does a war mean; a father who goes out for work and returns only to find his children and wife dead; a wife who has lost her husband. And thousands more, who once lived. And another set of thousands who lie on hospital beds, with injuries and scars that will linger long after peace returns – if it does.


They say it`s an element embedded in human nature to adjust to anything that is meted out for long and that it is these very behavioural adaptations that have led humans to survive so far and dominate the living world as the top species.


Courtesy this adaptive trait, the definition of normal has shifted terribly for those living in macabre conditions in violence-struck nations across the globe.


For thousands of children in Syria, the lack of food and the daily struggle for survival became normal. For many others, living with the fear of imminent death became normal. And tragically, for thousands of others, who were killed in four years of fighting, even death came as normal.


A UN report portrayed an elegiac account of children`s plight in Syria saying that “unspeakable” atrocities had been meted out to the youngsters in the war-stricken country since the uprising began to topple President Assad. 


Going by the UN figures, more than 100,000 people have been killed in the civil war and out of those over 10,000 were children. 


Syria is a flagrant example of how a war`s most adverse impact is manifested in terms of a heart-rending death toll, with most of those killed being innocent civilians. And it is frightening to note, that a similar thing is happening in Gaza.


One fails to understand why innocent children have to lose their parents, childhood or a part of their body just because an Islamic faction wants to establish a Caliphate, or a President (Assad) wants to remain glued to his seat of power.


Also, why should those four innocents playing on a beach in Gaza lose their lives if another nation wants to defend its own people from the scourge of Hamas and in turn just drops some yellow-coloured warning leaflets or makes a phone call ordering them to evacuate within 5 minutes.


Five-minutes – is all they have to select their belongings and rush to an unknown destiny, leaving their homes to be destroyed by an Israeli shell.

The kids couldn`t take it any more.

They defied their parents and yellow leaflets

And sneaked away to the golden shore.

They basked in the beauty of the beach 

Unaware of death that lurked beneath.

And then, just like the sand slips from one`s fists,

Life slipped away from the tiny hearts!

A half burnt seashell shrieks out this story.

But you don`t have to cry,

Because, life at your end - is all hunky-dory!


There are stories galore hidden beneath the ruins of Iraq, Syria, Gaza and similar violence-infested nations, where people, including thousands of orphaned children go through an ordeal every day. But it takes just days after the headlines sneak to the corners of newspapers, for the numbing normalcy to creep back to our apathetic senses. And sadly, it becomes normal all over again - for us and also for those who suffer.


The reports from Syria civil war began to fade as soon as the brutal ISIS insurgency in Iraq popped its ugly head in bold headlines. Even the ISIS monster managed to hide its ugly face from the news reports as Israel-the Gaza violence seemed to eclipse all, killing more than a thousand innocent souls within a span of mere 20 days.


What overshadowed Israel-Gaza violence was another unimaginable disaster, forcing us to believe that we now live in a world where hundreds of people can be massacred mid air and turned into debris for no fault of their own.


When 298 people boarded the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 from Schiffol airport in Netherlands on July 17, they had no idea they will end up in coffins.
(Possibly, just because a bunch of pro-Russian rebels want to separate from Ukraine, no one gives them the right to commit a mistake as grave as this.)


The world might be sinking in the maddening cacophony of statements and press releases and images proving or not proving Russia`s role behind the downing of MH17, but no explanation, clarification or investigation can ever truly justify what happened to those 298 aboard the innocuous jet.


When innocents return as coffins,

The universe stoops a bit under sins!

When two nations fight and civilians die!

Tell me, who loses.. Tell me, who wins!



First Published: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - 17:00

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