I ONLY COMPLAIN
OF MY SORROW AND MY
From the moment I was born I remember feeling a warmth all around me, a
feeling of belonging to somewhere very special. Growing up with a
community who seemed like no other, where everyone looked towards the
beauty that surrounded us, that same beauty that fed us, keeping out
bellies full and our bodies strong.
I lay here now - in the same house that I had shared with my parents
and his parents, Grandfather Abbas and Grandmother Durriyah, who was so
bright and shining just like her name.
eyes wept for her even I lay here in what must be the cellar, she had
left us much too early, Her energy was unceasing when it came to looking
after her children and then us, her grandchildren when Mother and
Father went to work in the fields.
father Karif was the second of their three sons but only Father and
Uncle Qudamah remained. Their elder brother Asim was killed during the
fighting in the desert.
grandfather then built this house and they settled to what they hoped
would be a new life in his Palestine, where there would be no more wars,
how wrong he was.
was born in the September of 1946 into a home that still share some
laughter and singing, poetry and games, and it was from a very young age
that I heard of the all the bad things that had started in our beautiful
land, in fact from the word go it seemed like mother and father talked
about nothing else but another war, not another World War, but a war
that would mean the end for all of us in Palestine.
we needn't worry," Grandfather Abbass, would say. "War maybe just
around the next corner but they will soon realise that it was a terrible
mistake they made, settling a handful of Hebrew Jews in Palestine,
don't worry son everything wil be fine."
remember the arguements between Grandfather and father, with
Grandmother trying to keep things simple by agreeing with them both.
His words were proven right for the wars did come and what was
beautiful was turned to ash, and what stood tall and strong was
shattered beneath the guns and bombs. It also turned our country into a
continuous stream of poison bile that turned this way and that just like
the divided River Jordan, depriving and raping, and starving this once
fruitful land of it's rare plants and olive and orange trees, along with the
laughter and replaced all with the screaming of the children and the
wailing of the women.
Then with the loss of our land and refuge so did we become a none generation. If we ever did get help. I don't remember it.
remember on my eigteenth birthday, father crying as he laid my
grandmother to rest between what we thought was the grave of Amin and
two more of his own family.
were still waiting for the outcome of this uprising, the shouts of
Yasser Arafat as he begged and pleaded for help from the outside world,
the United Nations, was there anyone who would come to aid the Palestinian people
who were gradually being pushed farther and farther away from their
was according to some a terrorist, but to many, he was going to be our
saviour. Arafat who held talks with Nassar in Cairo, Nassar who gave his
support and who was murdered by the new Egyptian regime who sold out
Palestine for wealth and greed, and who have left their own people
without nothing but their own interior troubles as one after the other
Egyptians are still assasinated.
who was the one person who was going to set our people free from the
troubles that were being forced upon us by the masses of so called
Israelites that had now divided our lands not only with weapons but with
barriers, making sure as they did by destroying the lands that our
ancesters had turned from nothing into paradise.
we were trying to find the graves of our loved one, after the passing
of Grandfather Abbas. But once more the land that held the remains of
Amin, Grandmother and several others who had been lost during these
troubles, had been destroyed along with many of the Cemetries and
many of the towns and villages were razed to the ground and their
inhabitants massacred where they slept or stood, trees burnt never to
grow again, the children either killed or left to die within their
you compare this to what happened during a declared war in Europe, what
the Nazi's did was nothing compared to the inhumane ways of these
Butchers and Mercenaries.
I tried to lift my arm to wipe the tears that filled my eyes, for a
moment I couldn't see a thing and half of me wished it would stay like
that. Blinking furiously I managed to remove the salty tears, letting
them trickle down the side of my face so I might catch it with my
tongue, I was so thirsty.
more I tried to move my arm, if I could just raise myself up onto one
elbow I might be able to work out how to get out this stupid situation.
There was a plank like board hanging to my left, if I could just... I
stretched and at this stage I think I passed out again.
It must have been quite sometime before I came to my senses, for the
trace of light over the kitchen ceiling was gone . Also gone was the
board that hung over my head, in its place was the leg of what looked
like one of our two young grandchildrens bed, I needed to know if they
were alive, were they safe.,
had happen to my father and mother who had left to try and find Ameena
whom I had dropped off at the United Nations Hospital just before the
last wave of tank fire.
Maybe he had managed to find mother.
hadn't heard from my eldest daughter Eman and the three boys. Nor
anything from Mohamed, Eman's husband, that was apart from a message
to the house that had been bought by a runner who had broken through the
barrier, saying he hoped to find them before the bombing got any worse.
was six weeks ago and I hadn't been able to tell my grandchildren
anything. Had my father been able to find my mother, had she managed to
get out of the Strip and even then she had many obstacles to cross
before reaching the West Bank and maybe safety.
I just didn't know anything. Just that I was down here and the girls were somewhere up there. I looked at the ceiling again.
I lay awake for a long time, Straining my ears trying to hear what was
going on outside. It was too quiet, maybe they were waiting for the sun to
show her face so they could see what they were going to destroy next.
not that, that hadn't stopped them before. I was finding it difficult
to concentrate, my thirst was getting worse, my tongue felt as if it
was swollen to twice its normal size.
Again I drifted back between a restless sleep full of sleepless dreams.
Something wet had fallen from the gap above my head, it splashed on my face and I almost cheered at the thought of water.
I reached to gather it up, spread it across my dried lips.
for a moment where I was, until the pain reminded me I reached out.
Then I clenched my teeth together and continued to reach for the rag
with my free arm lifting the sodden thing from off my shoulder.
It was wet, but as I held it up to my face the light of the sun grew stronger.
I let the slip of blanket fall onto my chest.
I didn't want to see it.
I didn't want to know whose blanket it belonged to.
could smell blood without having to look at it. I lay for a while
staring up at the leg that had dropped even deeper through the gap in
my eyes I picked it up again and held it under my nose and began to
cry. I had witnessed this smell many times over the last fifteen years.
Blood dried by the heat and the cold, congeeling wherever it lay.
struggled to get up but the pain in my right arm was bad. It was broken
I think from the blast and the fall. Jamming my left fist into my mouth
I slowly but surely drew myself into a sitting position.
I couldn't see the broken arm but I could feel it flopping this way and that as I smacked it against the broken wall.
"Oh Allah please help me," I passed out again with the prayer to Allah on my lips.
Once more the dreams and nightmares of the past seemed to crawl all
round me. I felt cold yet I knew I was hot for what was left of my robe
clung to my sweating torso.
I sat up I looked down towards my legs. They hadn't really been giving
me any pain and so I tried to pull them up against my chest.
remember a scream ringing in my ears, I saw the ceiling above me slowly
coming down. I remember the bodies of my two little treasures tipping
from the bed as it slide through the widened gap. Arms wrapped round
each other but not being able to say who was whom.
The noise got louder and louder, the screaming never seemed to end, the lights went out and .........
A woman stood by the side of the waiting ambulance. She was all in
black only her hands were red, where somehow some of the blood hadn't
dried up completely, caught in a little pool in a childs potty that was
once kept under the childrens bed.
It was about three months later when aids arrived from the red cross,
Mist from the sea was settling on the ground as they worked day and
night to sort through all the rubble. There was not a chance in hell
that anyone would be alive but prayers were said in the refugee camps,
just in case.
Sahalah wept as first one then the other of her little grand-daughters were released from their grave of masonry.
"Excuse me ma-am but do you know if there was anyone else in the house?"
"Just my husband," she said quietly, "just my husband who was looking after the girls for my daughter."
"And your daughter, Ma am?"
"Sahalah smiled wrily at the young Red Cross worker. "Oh Ameena, she has already gone"
The young lady smile. "May I ask where she has gone?"
"With all the others that were sheltering in the United Nations Hospitals before it was bombed by the Israelis."
"So sorry Ma am" she replied. "Still it's over now, isn't it?"
"Do you think so?" Sahalah looked towards the men bringing her husband's body out of the rubble.