The Cake of War
Once upon a time, it was 27th of December 2008.this date might be a normal date for people but it means a lot to me and many others. I dressed up and went to the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG) where I work. I opened my car window to smell the fresh air while driving. Woow, it is an amazing shiny day. Although it is December but the weather looks gorgeous!
During my drive, I was thinking of today and remembering what my wife was telling me in the morning, it is my birthday today! She was planning to prepare a cake and buy soft drink and snacks for this day.
I reached my office and started to do the routine work before I get engaged in my hard work of writing grant proposals.
Viva Viva Palestine..Long live Palestine…We are the guards of homeland..Heey Heyy We are the guards..I heard this voice far away but coming closer. I went to the window of my office which is front of Aljawazat Police Compound. I could see police trainees jogging out the road and chanting national anthems and songs. They were training to get enrolled into Police. I was very happy to see them in their dark blue uniform with their hair cut. They were the fresh new guards of Palestine. The fresh guards who will never complete their mission…later I realized this fact!
I said to myself what a wonderful day! The sun, the encouraging chants to protect the homeland, and my birthday. Then I went back to my work where I got engaged deeply in my work
I was at the Fuel station in front of Shifa Hospital in Gaza. I went to fill my car’s fuel tank in order to get equipped for any upcoming events in Gaza especially after the truce has ended and the security tension was escalating.
I was passing in front of Aljawazat buildings and smiled when I saw the police who were training now going back to Aljawazat.
I reached my office and started working again. I smiled when I remembered the happiness of my wife for my birthday. She must be happy to prepare a tasty cake for me. Woow, I’m going to eat a lot of sweets!
Booms, another Booms…I felt my office was oscillating, the walls were shaking, and windows resisted breaking hardly. I hurried to the window to check what was happening when I saw a white smoke escalating from Aljawazat building. It is an attack on Aljawazat…I said to myself. I shut down the pc and took my jacket and left the office quickly, while the walls were still shaking strongly and I could hear people scream. I saw colleagues and students running out our building at IUG, and at every attack some of them lie down on the ground and then complete evacuating the building.
I reached the Campus and saw the smoke getting bigger and its color changing between white smoke of destructed buildings and black smoke of rocket blasts… IUG through microphones asked students, employees, and instructors to evacuate IUG soon because no one could expect the next blast. I tried tens, hundreds or more times to call my wife and family but all lines were busy due to high volume of calls at the moment. We were familiar with this busy network at such a time. I was trying to call because my wife and my mother get crazy at such times for fear of bad news. My mother had hard experience when I was injured by a rocket in 2003 while I was shopping for my wedding!
I drove my car and could barely find a path between people escaping under the shadow of bombs and rockets around us. I was saying to myself, the big problem is that I don’t know what is happening. I met a colleague who lives near our house and took him with me in the car because it was hard to find a taxi at this time. I was trying to call my wife but no way. I saw another colleague running with his wife out of IUG. I asked them to get in my car. I had to change the way I’m going home because all streets were full of people escaping. Finally, I could talk to my mother and I told her I’m fine. I was worried about my wife, who must be visiting a doctor, and I was thinking to bring her by car but I do not know where she was.
I reached our house and ran into to watch the news to know what was happening. I live in the same house with my parents. They live in the first floor and I live on the third one.
I was shocked to see this amount of blood and torn bodies on TV. What a massacre I’m watching! I could also at the meantime talk to my wife. She was crying and said she is coming home now. I was relieved at that moment a little bit.
My wife came back and her face was telling! Telling a lot about the horror she lived. She visited a doctor near Aljawazat Building. She said when the explosions started she was screaming and she fainted when people said IUG was targeted!
They were terrible moments, and could see tears on her face. I went down to my parents flat with my wife to watch TV altogether as such moments gather Palestinian families on TV.
I felt tears on my face and saw tears of my mother and wife. My two brothers were also shocked. The number of martyrs at Aljawazat reached more than 200 and number of injured people increased more than 500. I saw legs, hands, fingers all around the scene of the massacre. Although it was not my first time to see such terrific scenes and I saw torn bodies in reality after assassinations in Gaza but this time was more difficult because of the high number of casualties.
I was crying silently thinking of those torn bodies. I saw them training happily in the morning and now I’m seeing them dead torn parts which hardly could be identified by their parents and beloved ones.
We were calling our friends and relatives who work at Police stations and government buildings after we realized it was war and more than 60 warplanes attacked more than 100 targets within the first minute of the war.
The night came with its horror. This is what my mother says always at such attack times. We got rid of the shock and the reality came into our faces. We are facing a war, with all what it means “a war”.
My wife said she will prepare a cake. I smiled a pale smile and asked “for what?” she replied “for your birthday”.! I was amazed that I totally forgot my birthday. She remembered and insisted to make the cake. I refused but she was keen to do. We took the cake and started to eat with my parents very sadly. We felt as if we are eating the cake of the war!
Moheeb Abu Alqumboz
Gaza – Palestine