I’m writing from Gaza, but it’s not the Gaza I knew and loved. People today have lost the sparkle in their eyes because they’ve lost their faith in life. Men, women and children are walking around with pale faces, lacklustre smiles and no joie de vivre. People everywhere look stunned as if their minds and souls are far away.
We’re stranded here in Gaza with our fears, losses and disappointments. Together we face an uncertain future. Everywhere you go people are complaining and mourning, especially the young generation which has lost all hope of a better life. Their motivation has been replaced by a total sense of helplessness and desperation.
For me, as a mother, it’s very painful to see this young generation - the driving force in building a strong society for the future - living so aimlessly. I’ve never felt as scared as I feel today when I imagine the future that awaits my children and others their age.
For the first time, I’m afraid that the Palestinian society for all its innate pride and dignity is walking towards its end - the end of the Palestinian life. I say this simply because when a person loses his faith and hope, he loses everything. The tragedy this time is that we’re not only talking about one individual, we’re talking about an entire society, a generation, a history and a nation.
Gaza, February 2008
Najwa Sheikh Ahmed is a Palestine refugee, who lives in Nuseirat camp with her husband and three children. These are her personal stories.