We stayed at the seaside until our shadows had become
twenty-foot silhouettes on the sand. Then we went back to the
olive grove, packed up our belongings, and the children bundled
into the cars my brothers and I had driven that day, for the
short journey home. Laughing about the day's events, mimicking
and teasing each other as children do, the older ones looking
out for the younger ones, they were bound together like rolls
of twine in the backseats of the cars. As I drove, I listened to
them chattering away, and I thought to myself, "We are getting
there - they will be okay. Together, we can do this."
Exactly thirty-five days later, on January 16 at four forty-five PM., an Israeli tank shell was fired into the girl's bedroom,
followed swiftly by another. In seconds, my beloved Bessan, my
sweet, shy Aya, and my clever and thoughtful Mayar were dead,
and so was their cousin Noor. Shatha and her cousin Ghaida
were gravely wounded. Shrapnel in his back felled my brother
Nasser, but he survived.
The aftermath was carried live on Israeli television. Because
the Israeli military had forbidden access to journalists and
everyone wanted to know what was happening in Gaza, I had
been doing daily interviews with Shlomi Eldar, the anchorman
on Israel's Channel 10. I had been scheduled to do one that
afternoon. Minutes after the attack occurred, I called him at
the TV station; he was doing the live newscast, and he took the
call on air.
The footage shot around the world and showed up on
YouTube and in the blogosphere. Nomika Zion, an Israeli
woman from Sderot, the town that is on the receiving end of
Qassam rockets, said: "The Palestinian pain, which the majority
of Israeli society doesn't want to see, had a voice and a face.
The invisible became visible. For one moment it wasn't just the
enemy - an enormous dark demon who is so easy and convenient
to hate. There was one man, one story, one tragedy, and so
much pain." This is what happened to me, to my daughters, to
Gaza. This is my story.
Kenn Nesbitt is new Children's Poet Laureate(Jun 12 2013) Kenn Nesbitt has been named the new Children's Poet Laureate: Consultant in Children's Poetry to the Poetry Foundation, which noted that the two-year position...