July 30, 2014

“Violence has no religion,”  a Palestinian member of the MSF team in Gaza

Since the start of the war, several Palestinian members of the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) team in Gaza have taken refuge in the organization’s premises. There they feel safer, and find a little comfort through supporting each other. Distraught by their powerlessness to protect their own children and stunned by the violence with which Gaza is being bombarded, they are trapped and resigned. One of them shared his thoughts:

“The first day of the war I sent my wife and my two children to stay with my in-laws so that they would be better supported. I decided to stay here at the MSF office. My daughter is two and a half years old. She is very frightened. When she hears the explosions, she vomits and can sometimes spend hours without talking. My son is three, but he acts as though nothing is happening.

I, too, feel afraid. When I am here in the MSF office, we are together among colleagues, we discuss, we share coffee or shisha, and things are OK. But as soon as I leave, it’s awful. Outside, it’s tragedy. Today I returned home to gather some things and in my car. I felt my heart beating so fast. I saw the previous wars, but for me, this one is by far the worst. Such powerful bombings, so close, which could fall anywhere. I have never seen that.

I do not want to see a single drop of my children’s blood spilt, not a single scratch. There is nothing worse than war. Whatever happens, we lose, because we have lost our children. Houses and cars do not matter, but the children, they are far more precious. If soldiers die in the war, it’s sad, but it’s their choice. The children haven’t chosen anything, they are innocent.

If I cannot protect our family, then how can I protect my country? I belong to my country, and I love my country, but not blindly. I think it is necessary to be right and fair, but without falling into extremism. I want it to stop. Violence has no religion. All religions are for peace. I believe in peace. Sincerely.”

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