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Memoirs from Gaza: Dreams in wartime

Memoirs from Gaza: Dreams in wartime

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Opinion Homeless Marginalized Groups Basic Rights

Wednesday 3 January 202403:39 pm
إقرأ باللغة العربية:

يوميات من غزّة (20)... "ضحك البائع وقال لي: الله لا يجيب حرب"


I dream almost every day that I am holding my mother in a tight embrace, her pure, wrinkled hands resting on my head as she tells me long, long stories, while I listen intently, my eyes shining like a child's.

I lost contact with my mother the morning the temporary ceasefire ended, and to this moment, I know nothing of her whereabouts, but hope encourages me to send her daily voice messages on WhatsApp, with updates about myself, her youngest son, and her grandchildren, my children, whom she loves dearly. I remind her to take her medications on time and to take care of herself until we meet again.

Every morning, I check my phone for a response, but there has been none.

I dream every day that my mother pats my head as she tells me long stories.. I lost contact with her on the morning the temporary ceasefire ended. I send her daily voice messages on WhatsApp, and every morning, I check my account hoping for a response, but there is none


Dreams in wartime


The first dream

I dreamt that all the children who had fallen victim to the war returned to their mothers' arms, and that the news of their slaughter was nothing but a cruel joke played by Al Jazeera.

I dreamt of walking into a small grocery store and asking the shop owner, "Do you have sugar, salt, flour, rice, etc...?" The man smiled at me and sarcastically replied, "Of course, and why wouldn't we?" His answer pleased me, and I ask him, “Are the goods still priced normally, as they were before the war?" The seller laughed and responded, "What war, my friend? May God prevent any wars." I bought everything my family needed and returned home– my children couldn’t believe the things I had bought for them.

I dreamt that all the children who had fallen victim to the war returned to their mothers' arms, and that the news of their slaughter was nothing but a cruel joke by Al Jazeera


The second dream

I dreamt that I was eating a piece of an Oreo cookie (the ones in the blue wrapper) and cardamom coffee, before going to work in the morning. I told this dream of mine to my friend, an internal medicine consultant doctor in Gaza. He laughed and advised me not to sleep because my dreams are impossible.


The third dream

I dreamt that I was sleeping on my bed in my bedroom inside my house.

Since the war began, I've been sleeping on a mattress on the floor, and since my house was destroyed, I haven't slept a single night on a bed.

I dreamt that I was eating a piece of an Oreo cookie (the one with the blue wrapper) and cardamom coffee before going to work in the morning. I told this dream of mine to my friend, an internal medicine consultant doctor in Gaza. He laughed and advised me not to sleep because my dreams are impossible.


The fourth dream

I dreamt that in a large hall in an Arab city, possibly Cairo, or in Algeria, Morocco, or maybe Oman, I stood on a platform reading stories from my new book to the people, and the audience cried before applauding.


The fifth dream

I dreamt that I was watering a red rose on my windowsill with water from a tap in my house.

I dreamt that in a large hall in an Arab city, possibly Cairo, or in Algeria, Morocco, or maybe Oman, I stood on a platform and read stories from my new book to the people, and the audience cried, then applauded.

The sixth dream

I dreamt that I was sitting in my chair and writing at my desk the way I used to do before the war. I'd need a book to refer to something, and then I'd reach for one of the shelves, grabbing it quickly, effortlessly.

I had a simple dream during the war… that I was watering a red rose on my windowsill with water from a tap in my house.


The seventh dream

I dreamt that I was strolling down the beach with my children without any worries or fears.


The eighth dream

I dreamt that I slept through the whole night without hearing the sounds of planes or being startled by the sound of an explosion and ambulance sirens.

When I had this dream, I was woken up in terror by the sound of an explosion that shook my neighborhood. The loud noise was followed by the wailing of ambulance sirens, and I later learned that thirty members of a single family had been killed in the bombing.


The ninth dream

I dreamt that I was watering a red rose on my windowsill with water from a tap in my house. I could see it clearly in the dream.

A month ago, I had to buy medicines and eye drops for myself and my wife due to the damage our eyes suffered from the smoke of firewood. This was before we got used to the tears during our daily attempts to light a fire, and it became a routine every day. We stopped taking the drops and the medicines.

I dreamt that I slept through the night without hearing the sounds of planes, sirens or explosions.. When I had this dream, I woke up in terror by the sound of an explosion that shook the neighborhood. The loud noise was followed by the wailing sirens of ambulances, and I later learned that 30 memebrs of a single family had been killed in the bombing

The tenth dream

I dreamt that I was walking on a long road, with not a single tent in sight. Then, I'd wonder to myself: Where did all the displaced people go? Then in my dream, I'd realize that the war had ended, and the people returned to their homes.

So, I run to tell my family the good news.

Apologies, as this particular dream was interrupted by violent shelling of nearby neighborhoods. The following morning saw hundreds of newly displaced families, and dozens of new tents being set up.


The eleventh dream

I dream of running to the sea and hearing music without any fear that there is danger preventing me from doing so.


The twelfth dream

I dream that my daughter can easily go to the bathroom at night without waking me to help dispel her fear of the dark with the flashlight whose light flickers as its battery slowly dies.

I dreamt that I was walking a long road, with not a single tent in sight. Then I'd realize that the war had ended, and the people returned to their homes.. but this particular dream was interrupted by violent shelling in nearby neighborhoods, and the following morning saw hundreds of newly displaced families, with dozens of new tents


As for my nightmares during the war

I dream that I am calling out in the desert, screaming for help, but no one hears me.

I dream that the fire is consuming my books.

I dream that I have lost the papers on which I am writing my new novel.

I dream that the war rages on for another day.

I dream that no one hears us, and we remain alone, as a guillotine hangs over our heads, preparing to silence our voices forever.


* The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Raseef22


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