شبكة نوى، فلسطينيات: The people of Gaza do not need a piece of bread and do not need a drink of water. Yes, it is the twelfth day since the criminal colonial settlor (Israel) decided to start its genocide in the Gaza Strip. Gaza needs shrouds for its martyrs. This is what Gaza needs. A shroud for the martyr and another for the shameful silence of the world that conspired against humanity. The silent world turned a blind eye on Gaza, and they dug a grave for the world in Gaza.
The first scene: A whole family in one shroud
A white shroud curled in on itself. This one is different, it is large one that the survivors had wrapped in a spherical shape. It was different from all of the shrouds around it. You move closer to it as the smell of death spreads throughout the place. The names of an entire family were written on it. They stuck together. When the missile hit their house, the flesh of the family members melted and it became one pile of burnt flesh. The rescuers were unable to separate them from each other. They were six individuals sticking together as they had been together their whole lives! Their shoulders and chest got stuck to the warm body of their mother and the tender hands of their father. They were put in one shroud. An entire family in one shroud. They feared that the Israeli missiles of oppression and terrorism would hit them even in their grave so they held on tight as dust fell on them in a single grave!
The second scene: One last hug
She holds a white shroud in her lap. One long white shroud containing her son or daughter! She is an anguished mother wearing a long robe. She looks like a cat that stole meat for her children in order to feed them. But she is a mother who stole her son’s shroud to hold him tightly to her chest one last time. She collapsed in fear and loss and sat cross-legged, clutching her hands and every part of her being to the corpse, smelling it and crying. She was howling because of the feeling of loss. It is a feeling that does not resemble any other, just like the howling of a wounded wolf, and just like a wounded wolf that was hit in the heart with an arrow. The mother then closes her eyes, stopped talking and wailing, and became quiet as she hugged her martyred son close to her heart. She wanted to hide him away from all the curious eyes around her in the hospital!
The third scene: A lavish funeral
Three young men, each carrying a white shroud with a name written on each of them in black. The shroud was tied from both ends as if they feared that the martyr would run at some point. Dozens of young men walked behind them, while you can see piles of bombed and destroyed homes in the back. The streets seemed to have their stomachs ripped open. The asphalt was cracked, and the ground was destroyed all around. They were walking as if someone had grown wings for them, and the funeral was moving very quickly towards the cemetery, which no longer had room for more martyrs. They searched for any headstones for the graves, so that if one of their families’ survives, they can come one day and recognize their graves. But, death in Gaza is completely different, as it is not a lavish death. The lucky ones are the ones who find a white shroud, someone to carry them when they die, someone to pray Janazah over them, and one day find someone who knows the location of their grave! Three martyrs, hugged with the tears of those young men as they run towards their graves as if their expressions are just telling us: they were alive among us a short while ago!
The fourth scene: A blue shroud
The whiteness of the shroud crushes the bones of little children. The white shrouds are stacked next to each other. Eyes almost startle from the intensity of the whiteness. However, there is a single, small blue shroud the size of a palm. The features of his small face are barely visible. His eyes, his delicate nose, his small mouth, and his cheeks are like a doll you see on a shelf in one of the large toy store. You have to hold him in your hands to see him. He looks like he is sleeping, but he is a little martyr who was no more than one week old, that is when he emerged from his mother’s womb. I wish he had stayed there. He came out to life to witness a raging war and was martyred in his mother’s arms while the war was still burning. The blue shroud might not crush his bones like the rest. He is silent and the scene is horrific. When you stare with your eyes at the blue shroud, you will sees that there is a white shroud underneath that has crushed the little boy’s bones after the rocket hurled his little body. His mother, who was breastfeeding him lets out a wrenching scream that shattered the walls of silence, causing the entire family to fall under the rubble of the new house. And the little boy’s bed became a pile of firewood soaked in blood!
The fifth scene: Mass graves
The white shrouds are stacked next to each other in one long grave that can hold a hundred bodies of martyrs. The survivors carry the bodies, wrapped in white shrouds and tied in several places. Most of the shrouds have turned red, as the martyrs’ blood is still fresh. The doctors and paramedics did not find a place in the morgue. There is even no room for their bodies in the ice cream trucks or vegetable freezers which are now used as morgues. Hospitals have become mass graves. The pigeons went to sleep. The pigeons died and did not find a shroud nor did they find a grave. The pigeons died when they were unable to save the living ones. The pigeons died when they were unable to shroud the martyrs of Gaza. The pigeons died and the bodies of the martyrs kept falling down and piling up. There is no more place for the living survivors, the wounded, the elderly, the women, and the children. The survivors came and dug mass graves with their bare hands, lining up the martyrs as they wept for the living among them. A rusty bulldozer was there carrying fine dust to cover them so that they would not feel cold at night! The pigeon died after they destroyed its nest. The pigeon died subjugated, raising its wings to the Lord of Heaven!
The sixth scene: Plastic bags
This time, there was no shrouds. A man who wrapped his keffiyeh around his neck and walked around, carrying two plastic bags that seemed to be wet. He stood for a long time and remained silent. The other people turned around him! What is wrong with him? He looks like a giant who came out of one of the fairy tales. He does not seem to be deaf, but he was standing tall like a tree. Something was wrong and no one around him knew what it was. Dozens became hundreds of people asking him to talk to them. They are the survivors searching for a trace of life, for a force that will restore their passion for a life they had lost. They ran away so many times from one house to another and from one school to another seeking shelter, searching for life. The Israeli aircrafts threw leaflets everywhere, terrorizing people in all of the areas with fire belts, as the Israeli warplanes hit dozens of missiles at once, then continue striking for a while lasting for quarters of an hour and not stopping for a single second. The living witnesses see it as if an earthquake shook the houses to pieces, destroying everything, people and stone. What do you think people’s flesh can handle from all of these missiles? The strong man raises the bags with his hands outstretched. Blood oozes from the bags and falls like red raindrops. The eyes of the survivors grow sharper. He screams like a howling wolf: these are my children whose pieces I collected. I did not sleep. I brought their flesh and some of them to find a grave for them and a shroud!
For survivors, a shroud is a cover or a white piece of cloth that covers the body of the martyr. The martyr is buried with his clothes and his blood as he was killed in this world so that he can rise up and demand his blood from those who killed him in the afterlife! Did the shroud fall short for your martyrs, Oh Gaza?
Muslim narrated that the Prophet Mohammed - may peace be upon him – said: (When one of you is in charge of shrouding his brother, he should give him the best shroud he can).
(*) A Palestinian journalist and author/ Gaza
19 October, 2023