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Gaza in the dark

Gaza in the dark
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Rana Alshami | 05 May 2016

Gaza isn’t the most beautiful city. Its shore isn’t blue like some Arab cities. Gaza’s oranges aren’t the most delicious in the Mediterranean! Gaza isn’t the richest city. It isn’t the most elegant or the biggest. But it holds the vast history of a large nation even though, in the eyes of the enemy, Gaza is miserable and ugly. — Mahmoud Darwish

Try to imagine life without electricity. Imagine living in darkness and dreaming for the power to come back on. With only four hours of electricity available at random times throughout the day. Most people would agree that my people, the Palestinian people, do not live a normal life. Sometimes we don’t even have the luxury of four hours.

Electricity provides air conditioners, refrigerators, heaters and kitchen appliances. Perhaps these luxuries or conveniences are things you cannot do without for a day or two. But when it’s everyday, week after dark week, month on month, patience begins to run low. Frustrations creep in and life becomes a misery.

A worker struggles to complete simple tasks under the unstable luminosity of a flashlight, a child cannot get homework done beneath the flickering candle, and a mother who wakes up in the dead of night to warm a bottle of milk for her newborn baby, struggles.

In the medical field electricity is the life blood of the x-ray technology, the ability to perform heart-surgery and other medical tasks are hampered and life at times literally hangs on a dead electricity cable.

We live at the mercy of the summer heat and the winter cold.

No one can bear to live in Gaza anymore. The fuel that runs the main station is in short supply.

For Hala, a mother of four kids in the Gaza Strip, life is a challenge. “All my children have witnessed three wars during the last six years. We live in a very humble home. No electricity, no clean water, no money. I cannot wash our clothes without electricity, I use fire in the winter to get some warmth for my children. I cook on an open fire whenever there is no electricity.”

My own life, as student has been severely impacted by the siege and the Israeli attack that left our power station destroyed in 2014. When I was a college student, in order to study, I had to stay up all night waiting for the electricity to come back on. Without proper light it was very difficult to focus on my studies. Other students had the same problem. Many of us did not score as highly on our tests as we should have because of this damn situation.

For Naime, a resident of Al-Shate camp, north Gaza, the lack of light is now effecting the health of her children. “Every day, by the late afternoon our house is completely dark,” she told Salaamedia. “There is not much we can do except sleep. My children can barely read and do their homework, and I’ve had to borrow money to buy a pair of glasses for one of my girls because her eyesight keeps getting worse. I am sick of this life and almost stopped cooking because of the electricity crisis.”  Recently, a lot of accidents have happened in Gaza. Many families have lost their homes and family members in fires caused by lighting candles.

We have been blockaded since 2007. This situation has caused a decline in the standard of living, unprecedented unemployment and unrelenting poverty. Our only hope is for the world to wake up to our struggle and insist that Israel end its illegal and inhumane collective punishment of my people. End the blockade!

 

 

 

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