Articles and Studies

Voice From Gaza Youth

Different Reasons, Same Situation Lived in Gaza: Nothing Changes
2017 To 2020

By: Bader Alzaharna

It has been three years since I last cried. Never have I figured out the reason why this state has been partial to me. I believe that crying is a blessing through which oneself can emancipate its pressure to a sky of freedom.

The last three years were a nightmare to me. I admit that I failed both to let my tears kiss my cheeks and to stop contemplating at the ceiling of my room. That ceiling could bring a hundred reason to make me cry; however, my tears were never shed.  

Surely affected by the overall situation of the place I dwell in, I have been in anhedonia and I have thus lost interest in even drawing a clear vision for my future. What pulls me back is the unstoppable blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip that has deluded me to a dead end whenever I think about my future.

Travelling has been the biggest dilemma a university student like me can face. For years, thousands of students have not enjoyed the delectable taste of the freedom of movement resulting in surging the number of young youth being depressed, short-tempered and gripping about life at all times. That same wise man we all know has once taught me not to cage birds because they have been created to enjoy the perk of having wings. I have never caged a bird because if caged, a bird could also frown and growl.

What if there are birds caged and incapable of flapping for years now?

Preparation For My Future?  

I accepted the idea of being a patient caged bird in Gaza for my bachelor degree duration bearing an internalized faith that I will chirp elsewhere one day.

Not only did I design a better future in my mind, but I also had to hold a perception of how to implement it in reality. This designed future needed me to plan for the most famous method helping in getting out of Gaza; the Cage-To-Cure Method (CTC).

As it suggests, it is the process which young passionate students from Gaza aspiring to re-flutter in a sky of freedom incline to adopt.

The students following the CTC believe that their pain will be cured after having been caged. Thus, they start applying for scholarships, financial aid and admissions at universities outside Gaza or for other conferences, exchange programs and long-term work permits.

Once admitted to any of the aforementioned, a student keeps suffering with how to actually find the keys of the cage amid darkness and closed doors.

As time passes, walking the cage up and down, the followers of this method dramatically bear deeper grudge against reality as problems exacerbate; room of cage tightens, floor of cage boils, light of cage fades away and birds of cage suffocate and are never edged out of it.

Despite all of this ineffable chaos inside, dozens of assiduous students touched the keys and were able to fly out in the past.

Others prepare to fly out in July and August.

Abruptly, The World Is Frozen: All Cancelled.

What? When? 2020?

Breaking News: UK, USA and Italy announce emergency case due to novel COVID-19.

Breaking News: Conferences and programs across the globe are all cancelled due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

Breaking News: International students are not going to leave home due to COVID-19.

That COVID-19 has unfolded, this means that I won’t be able to graduate from university this year, I am banned to travel and participate in regional and international conferences, I will live in a lockdown, I will suffer from lack of resources and supplies, I am no longer eager about August and I will only feel stranded.

Says whom that I am depressed because of the repercussions of COVID-19. Dears, reasons vary resulting the same situation that has always been lived in Gaza. Being said again, do you think that I am depressed now? I am not because I have already had enough. I have lived in grief, sorrow and darkness forever. I have struggled to travel. I have lived in lockdowns. I have experienced the curfew. I have seen how people rush to supermarkets, stores and markets to restock. It is all a chaos I have lived before. So, do not worry about me. I am fine. I have my defensive mechanisms for this situation.

What on earth is going on? Is this a curse on Gaza that it always lives in a lockdown? Why is it always jinxed? Nothing goes normal. Something has to intervene.

Last year, I did not celebrate my birthday. I never met my friends. I never had a family party. This year, it was my birthday and another version of the last year. I feel that I am stuck into a time loop. It is monotonous now. I have had enough.

The problem is that we are adjusted to crisis, meaning that we know how to live amid crisis. Oh sorry, adjustment to occurring crisis is not a problem. It is bravery and acumen. It is passion to hold tight to the blessing of breathing.

In the current time, the number of cases of COVID-19 soars in Gaza with the limited medical resources, paucity of equipped hospitals and lack of necessary healthcare basics.

My Tears Shed Now:

I urge the inhabitants of the world to stay safe at their quarantine and home. I love you all and need to see the world healing again. Maybe I can continue applying for scholarships, but what I am sure of is that I will continue living with the same situation in Gaza.

Seen the world motionless, my memory revived and I relived the same feelings I always lived. Sadly now, I finally have the intriguing reason to burst into tears after three years. It is the world. Deep down, I feel remorse. I feel that I must save the world. This is only a feeling of responsibility I do not usually have, but it is the whole world now. It is falling apart. It is deadlocked everywhere. I wish to see breaking news highlighting that superpowers are getting closer to a vaccine. I do not know why I feel that everyone is still paralyzed about it. All I see is “5 Steps To Avoid The Spread Of COVID-19”. Gosh I am home, I am never out and I abide by the government instructions to contribute in fighting against the virus, yet please stop telling me that same dull news. Stop soaring the death toll. Please end this destruction to human and humanity. I want to travel, I want to live a little more. Days ago, it was my 22nd birthday anniversary and I got indescribable blues at that moment, being out of sort because I know the virus is getting from everyone.

Questions in My Head:

Is the equation of economy imbalanced and it requires loss of human to rebalance? Does the equation of winning economy require less population? Can you please stop humanizing economy? Cannot it be a humanity-saving economy rather than being a misleading one to apocalypse? I do not care about either your economy wins the game or not; I know you do care, but why are millions of people’s lives jeopardized because of this game? The world is fed up of discovering the unveiled. Do not veil evil. Reveal it. Let it be gone. Do not store evil. Please.   

Thank you, I am lachrymose now. You have done a great job, world.

Now, caged, but never cured I am. Caged to COVID I am.

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