“as long as we are alive we resist and we overcome”
Imagine living with 1.7 million other people on a besieged land, that is 40 kilometers long and 6 km wide, under continuous occupation.The kind of occupation that controls all resources, exists and entrances to this land, in addition to unlimited powers of repression economically, politically, physically, socially, mentality, and psychologically. This is not a fantasy, this is Gaza.
On a very short and intense trip to Gaza during the last November siege, more than 600 Egyptians went on a people’s convoy to visit the Palestinians during air and navel strikes on civiliansby the Israeli forces. I was lucky to be one of these people. The main goal of the trip was solidarity, not just a political statementof rejectingthis occupation and vicious war, ratherahumanitarian one to simply stand with others at time of hardship.
We experienced about 8 hours of the siege in Gaza, while each minute reminded us that, aside from all politics, regular people live under this for days, months, and even years. It was very difficult to imagine a life of resistance encircled by walls of oppression, oppression in every internal and external way. It was clear from the moment we stepped off the bus that electricity, food markets, and shelter were merely a luxury in a Palestinian’s life. Whether one fully grasps the politics of the long existing conflict or not, the fact remains that this is not a life for any human being.
Once we reached Shifaa Hospital, the largest in Gaza, to meet with injured families and war casualties, we were astonished at how adaptable everyone was to the soundtrack of war, rockets and buzzing drones. Not far from the hospital, a big explosion happened, and shortly after children, yes children, at the most age of seven, started coming in as injured. A mother crying and stomping her feet praying to God that her child makes it through, a father crying over a lost brother, a running journalist attempting to document the truth, a doctor pressing his palms on a woman’s chest to revive her heart, and hundreds of Egyptians standing by thinking, “how can people live like this?”
Palestinians do, they exist despite all forces working against them; they have schools surrounded by barbed wire, they have professional doctors who work under the harshest conditions, they have roads that might get bombed any moment, they have a beautiful sea from which they cannot fish, they have green olive trees, resilient spirits, and endless faith that God will carry them through all trouble. I learned something very unique from the Palestinians on my short Gaza visit, namely that as long as we are alive we resist and we overcome.