Sunday 29/10/2023

Friday 27.10 6:15 pm Gaza time, the chit chat and stories in my aunt's house turned into a mass grave. The Israeli occupation bombed the house over our heads without warning. 

Sunday 29/10/2023

Friday 27.10 6:15 pm Gaza time. The story telling and chatting gathering time at my aunt's house turned into a mass grave. The Israeli occupation bombed the house over our heads without any warning.

I was talking to my uncle Adham in Berlin as the house was hit. One moment I was sitting on a chair on the roof with my family and the next I found myself under the rubble. I don't know when we were hit, I blacked out for a few seconds then opened my eyes. I felt like I'd been buried alive with tons of smoke in my mouth. That very cloud of smoke that I usually see when houses, which I was once inside of them, get hit.   

I started looking for those I was with at the moment of the assault: my sister, my cousin, and my other cousin. I found them and began recording a message to my friend, Reef, in Jordan, and to my uncle, so that they would let the world know about this inhumane attack.

After ten minutes of being inside the smoke, I went downstairs, only after my brother said that the path was clear on the ground floor. We began counting and checking each other, , and everyone responded  except for my father. We started calling out and digging everywhere until he heard us.

We removed the rubble with our bare hands and broken bodies to get him out. The neighbors came to help us leave the building immediately, expecting that the house would most likely be bombed again, as usually is the case. We didn’t care and we continued removing the rubble until we got him out.   In a second, we all made the decision that we are not  going to leave without him, as e we know too well, that rescue teams  fear the night, and that ambulances can’t work, and that it will take days for someone  to show up and help because of the large numbers of victims on daily basis.

We left the girls at the neighbor’s house and took my father on a stretcher to the emergency room at Al Shifa hospital, where they administered first aid. My father had a broken right foot and a broken left arm. He spent more than 3 hours on the hospital floor after being removed from beneath the rubble, with nothing underneath him to relieve his pain. I lost my mind. I took what I could, at times by force and at times nicely, anything to ease my father's pain. After 5 hours, we got a mattress for him to lie on. An hour later, a doctor stitched his head without anesthetic, because of short supply; anesthesia is reserved for more  severe cases.

Al Shifa hospital is full of people. They are everywhere. In the corridors, in the back streets, so many displaced people are here seeking refuge in the hospital, so many injured, and so many dead people in a tent in the hospital yardWe can smell them in every moment. Inside that tent, there is a bowl. A bowl of body parts. Body parts of the children of Gaza in a big bowl.

The next day, my father was referred to the European Hospital to have his foot and arm operated on. Another diagnosis was given: his left eye has an internal bleeding, tearing of the iris, and a dislocated lens. Three days without a proper diagnosis and tomorrow they operate on him. There might be a problem with the nerves in his hand. His femur is getting a platinum implant to support it, and that's still an initial diagnosis.

My name is Esam Hani Hajjaj from Gaza, and I left my home in Shujaiyyeh with my family before it was bombed,  to my aunt’s home in Al Zaytoon neighborhood, only to have  it bombed while we were in it.

My name is Esam from Gaza, and my head and right shoulder injuries weren't even checked because I could move and there are other more important casualties to attend to.

My brother's name is Ahmed and his back was burned.

My sister's name is Shaymaa, she miraculously survived , and her foot was injured.

My cousin Ahmed is 8 years old and his head was injured.

All night long, my aunt has been telling me, Esam, name this story the Tomb of Life. We were saved by a miracle from that grave. When we entered our home the following morning, we could see it. We could see clearly that it was just that God willed a longer  life for us.