It is so important for humans to have dreams. It is a blessing, particularly for the people of Gaza, where the blockade, the deteriorating economic situation, and the effects of the recent war have left residents with no chance to fulfill any of their dreams, or even their humblest plans for the future. Therefore, dreaming is an essential outlet to alleviate the stress and frustrations of daily life. In these dream worlds, each one of us can create by himself, and can control elements, with both the add and delete buttons. These become perfect worlds.
In my world that I create I forget how life in Gaza is difficult and harsh. I find myself living in a different place where I listen to music. I particularly like classical music, it’s my favorite, it heals my soul, my mind, and transports me to other worlds. Worlds where I can dream, where I can shine, fly, where everything is beautiful, and where there are no signs of hatred, or ugliness or even death.
Time has no value in my dream world, therefore, I can spend hours and hours listening over and over again to the same pieces, wondering about the magical effect of the music on our souls and minds. I resist any attempt to take me away from this lovely mood.
In my world Gaza is free. There are no borders any more; there is no occupation, no violence. The sun shines all the time, the sea is open and clean and the air is fresh.
In my world no-one is begging for food coupons, or assistance and children are happily playing in the wide green areas. Children can experience their childhood, they don’t have to work in their vacations to help their families, they can play all the time, and they can have a clean house, they can have a decent education, and a normal life.
Gaza in my world is clean, water is available. Hospitals are fully equipped, staff are efficient and well trained, and medication is available for everyone, so there in no need to be worried about falling sick.
People are happy, they can have plans for their future and for the future of their children like normal families do. They can make promises to their children, promises that they can fulfill, promises of a better decent and happy life.
Yesterday I was sweeping the floor at my house, when my son Ahmed said, "Mother imagine if the broom worked like an eraser, then everything you sweep would vanish." He was laughing and continued, "if I could have it I would wish to erase all the tanks, the apaches, and the noise of the planes."
Then Mustafa, my other son, said "I would have wished to erase all the borders, to travel freely."
I was listening carefully to their wishes, which show how the children in Gaza are so aware of their environment. My children speak up about what they wish for, but they cannot create a real world where their wishes can come true.
The people of Gaza will continue to create their own dream worlds, and in a while longer they will begin to loose any connection with the real lives they have, with reality. When this happens, children and adults alike will enter a world of fantasy is they seek refuge from the harsh reality that surrounds them.
The question is whether they will be able to reconnect to real life or whether they will choose to live in their dream worlds forever. This is a question which I can not answer.
Gaza, July 2009
Najwa Sheikh Ahmed is a Palestine refugee, who lives in Nuseirat camp with her husband and three children. These are her personal stories.