I can’t stop thinking about Palestine.

I can’t stop thinking about Palestine because every night, before I try to sleep, I read live reports of Israel’s latest attacks on Gaza’s hospitals, refugee camps, places of worship.

I can’t stop thinking about Palestine because every day I wake up to posts from Palestinians saying, “I’m still here,” or “My neighbor’s home has been bombed,” or “An airstrike killed my sister and nephew,” or nothing at all, because they did not make it through the night.

I can’t stop thinking about the more than 10,000 Palestinians who have been murdered in the past month, the nearly 800 Palestinian families who have lost two or more family members, the more than 4,100 Palestinian children confirmed among the dead. The uncounted more still lost in the rubble of their homes, their schools, their escape routes.

I can’t stop thinking about the five-and-a-half decades of Israeli military occupation of Palestine and the 75 years of the ethnic cleansing that has followed the Nakba.

I can’t stop thinking about how Gazan emergency workers have had to coin a new acronym: WCNSF—wounded child, no surviving family. They have to use it nearly every day, often multiple times a day.

I can’t stop thinking about the absurdity of the phrase humanitarian pause, as if Israeli forces should only destroy Palestinian homes and murder Palestinian people on weekdays and take a break on the weekends.

I can’t stop thinking about the state of Israel forcing Palestinians to evacuate, then bombing the places they’ve evacuated to.

I can’t stop thinking about last Saturday, when a speaker at Aberdeen’s Palestine Solidarity Campaign rally named a one-year-old victim in Gaza. A boy near the front, no older than eleven—he’s just out of frame in the picture above, holding a “CEASEFIRE NOW! STOP THE GENOCIDE” sign—turned to his friend, head shaking, and repeated that harrowing age, “One?”, in somber shock.

I can’t stop thinking about Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, among whom 2,150 have been arrested and 154 have been murdered by Israeli forces and colonists since October 7.

I can’t stop thinking about loaves of bread soaked in blood after an airstrike on a bakery.

I can’t stop thinking about the fishing boats Israeli forces have destroyed. The water tanks. The communication systems. The solar cells. The essentials of life.

I can’t stop thinking about how, when I was a toddler, my parents and I went to Ottawa for Canada Day and witnessed a cannon salute. I told a friend about it recently, saying, “It was the scariest thing that had ever happened to me.” And at the time, it was. A ceremonial bang by which no buildings were damaged, no people were injured, no one but me screamed. No toddler in Gaza knows such harmlessness. Israel has killed 482 of them.

I can’t stop thinking about how the youngest Gazans who remember life before Israel’s blockade are now nearly adults.

I can’t stop thinking about dozens of murdered journalists, many of them dead not from reporting in the field but from airstrikes on their own homes, airstrikes that decimated their families, airstrikes that the state of Israel targeted to quell the truth about what it is doing to Gaza.

I can’t stop thinking about the Palestinian children holding a press conference outside al-Shifa hospital, pleading in English so we cannot pretend we do not understand, “The occupation is starving us. We don’t find water, food … We come now to shout and invite you to protect us. We want to live. We want peace.”

I can’t stop thinking about Palestine. I wonder how anyone does.

1 Comment

  1. Phil Rienstra

    thank you for this


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