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  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/vcnvorg/public_html/oldsite/includes/file.inc on line 644.
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  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/vcnvorg/public_html/oldsite/includes/file.inc on line 644.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/vcnvorg/public_html/oldsite/includes/file.inc on line 644.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/vcnvorg/public_html/oldsite/includes/file.inc on line 644.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/vcnvorg/public_html/oldsite/includes/file.inc on line 644.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/vcnvorg/public_html/oldsite/includes/file.inc on line 644.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/vcnvorg/public_html/oldsite/includes/file.inc on line 644.
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  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/vcnvorg/public_html/oldsite/includes/file.inc on line 644.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/vcnvorg/public_html/oldsite/includes/file.inc on line 644.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/vcnvorg/public_html/oldsite/includes/file.inc on line 644.
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  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/vcnvorg/public_html/oldsite/includes/file.inc on line 644.
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  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/vcnvorg/public_html/oldsite/includes/file.inc on line 644.
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  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/vcnvorg/public_html/oldsite/includes/file.inc on line 644.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/vcnvorg/public_html/oldsite/includes/file.inc on line 644.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/vcnvorg/public_html/oldsite/includes/file.inc on line 644.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/vcnvorg/public_html/oldsite/includes/file.inc on line 644.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/vcnvorg/public_html/oldsite/includes/file.inc on line 644.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/vcnvorg/public_html/oldsite/includes/file.inc on line 644.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/vcnvorg/public_html/oldsite/includes/file.inc on line 644.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/vcnvorg/public_html/oldsite/includes/file.inc on line 644.
  • warning: Parameter 1 to theme_field() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/vcnvorg/public_html/oldsite/includes/theme.inc on line 166.
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How do People Keep Going?

February 10, 2009

People have asked me, since I returned from Gaza, how people manage? How do they keep going after being traumatized by bombing and punished by a comprehensive state of siege? I wonder myself. I know that whether the loss of life is on the Gazan or the Israeli side of the border, bereaved survivors feel the same pain and misery. On both sides of the border, I think children pull people through horrendous and horrifying nightmares. Adults squelch their panic, cry in private, and strive to regain semblances of normal life, wanting to carry their children through a precarious ordeal.

Worse Than an Earthquake

January 21, 2009

Rafah—Traffic on Sea Street, a major thoroughfare alongside Gaza’s coastline, includes horses, donkeys pulling carts, cyclists, pedestrians, trucks and cars, mostly older models. Overhead, in stark contrast to the street below, Israel’s ultra modern unmanned surveillance planes criss-cross the skies. F16s and helicopters can also be heard. Remnants of their deliveries, the casings of missiles, bombs and shells used during the past three weeks of Israeli attacks, are scattered on the ground.

Starting Over in Gaza

by Audrey Stewart
January 21, 2009

Yesterday morning I visited Toffah, a small farming area about one mile from the Israeli border. Because it sits atop a hill, it so was prime land for Israeli surveillance during the invasion. Mohammed, a university student, agreed to go out to Toffah and translate for me.

As we climbed the hill towards the farms, the damage steadily increased. Houses were completely crushed. Orange, olive, and lemon trees were bulldozed into the ground. People were hard at work everywhere. Women carrying babies and children as young as 5 or 6 were picking up oranges and sifting through the rubble for still usable clothes and household items.

The Strongest Weapon of All

January 19, 2009

Dr. Atallah, a General Surgeon at Gaza City’s Shifaa Hospital, invited us to meet him in his home, in Gaza City, just a few blocks away from the Shifaa Hospital.

Early this morning, he and his family returned to their home after having fled five days earlier when the bombing attacks on Gaza City had become so fierce that they feared for their lives. “Believe me, when I would drive from the hospital to the place where my family was staying, I prayed all the way,” said Dr. Atallah, “because the Israelis would shoot anyone on the roads at night.”

Why I am in Gaza

by Audrey Stewart
January 19, 2009

Lots of people have asked me why I chose to leave my children and travel to Gaza in the middle of a war. If you knew three year old Omar it might be easier to understand.

Omar is the youngest child in the family of Abu Yusif, one of our host families during our time in Gaza. Yesterday Omar’s family was able to return to their real home for the first time since the bombing started. Omar proudly packed up a plastic bag of clothes to bring back to the family’s temporary housing. He repacked it three times to get it just right. Then he brought it to me to tie the bag. Omar’s father, Abu Yusif, spent the day working on the house, repairing shattered windows and a section of one wall.

Respite in Gaza

January 18, 2009 at 6pm
Rafah, Gaza

Late last night, a text message notified us that the Israeli government was very close to declaring that they would stop attacking Gaza for one day. Shortly before midnight, we heard huge explosions, four in a row. Till now, that was the last attack. Israeli drones flew overhead all night long, but residents of Rafah were finally able to get eight hours of sleep uninterrupted by F16s and Apache helicopters attacking them.

Audrey Stewart and I stayed with Abu Yusif and his family, all of whom had fled their home closer to the border and were staying in that Abu Yusif’s brother-in-law, who is out of the country, loaned to him.

Report from Gaza - January 17, 2009

January 17, 2009

Dear Friends,

Hello from Gaza. We’re in Rafah, in southern Gaza, a small town which has been fiercely assaulted by the Israeli Air Force for the past three weeks. Last night, we stayed in a family home about 450 meters from the border between Egypt and Gaza. We were one block away from the area between the border and Sea Street, (Rafah’s main street). The Israeli military had dropped leaflets over the area, warning everyone to leave because Israel planned a fierce assault. Many residents stay with relatives overnight, but we drove through the area after sunset and saw numerous children playing in the streets.

Beginning at 12:30 a.m., Israel F-16s and Apache helicopters bombed the neighborhood once every eleven minutes for about the next 46 minutes. The bombing resumed at about 3:00 a.m. and again at about 5:00 a.m. By morning six family homes were destroyed.

Suddenly Bombs Started Falling

January 17, 2009
A Brief Report From Inside Gaza January 17, 2009 – 1:45 am.
by Audrey Stewart and Kathy Kelly

We arrived inside Gaza at 5pm last night. We were met by Anees, a 23 year old Gazan. He has guided us around the community. When we first came in tonight, kids were playing soccer in the street. We saw lots of heavily damaged buildings, especially government buildings and homes near border.

There was no electricity when we first arrived. Later it came on for a while. People tell us that in some places electricity is on for 2 hours a day, other places as much as 6 hours a day.

Still Breathing

By Caoimhe Butterly in Gaza
January 16, 2009

The morgues of Gaza’s hospitals are over-flowing. The bodies- in their blood-soaked white shrouds- cover the entire floor space of the Shifa’a hospital’s morgue. Some are intact, most horribly deformed, limbs twisted into unnatural positions, chest cavities exposed, heads blown off, skulls crushed in. Family members wait outside to identify and claim a brother, husband, father, mother, wife, child. Many of those who wait their turn have lost numerous family members and loved ones.

Blood is everywhere- hospital orderlies hose down the floors of operating rooms, bloodied bandages lie discarded in corners, and the injured continue to pour in- bodies lacerated by shrapnel, burns, bullet wounds. Medical workers, exhausted, and under siege, work day and night and each life saved is seen as a victory over the predominance of death.

Cease Fire, Cease Siege

January 14, 2009

Yesterday, en route to the Rafah border crossing that leads into Gaza, our driver pointed to a long line of trucks laden with goods that are desperately needed in every area of Gaza. “You see,” he said, “all of this is to help people.” Generous people, around the world, want Gazans to have food, shelter, fuel, medicine and water while the Israeli military ruthlessly attacks their homes and neighborhoods. The aid shipments will surely save lives and ease affliction. Nevertheless, this relief will meet only a fraction of the need. What’s more, the Egyptian government’s recent decision to allow humanitarian goods into Gaza through the Rafah border crossing, a border over which they have sovereign control, is a departure from the normal state of siege that Gazans have endured for most of the past sixteen months.