22 Feb, 2024


Heartbreaking testimony from Ziad Medoukh


Translated from French by PAJU

Hello from destroyed and devastated Gaza.  Believe me, my determination, my courage, my resilience, my patience and my optimism cannot overcome my total distress.

After almost four months since the beginning of this horrific aggression by the Occupation against the civilian population of Gaza, the situation on the ground is increasingly catastrophic and terrifying.

Life has a bitter taste; in fact, there is no life in Gaza. Life is completely paralyzed. There is nothing, no food, no water, no medicine, no electricity, no gas, no milk, no bread, no fruit, no vegetables, no meat, no chicken, no fish, no means of transport, no housing, nor prospects.

Thousands of students are deprived of their classes and tens of thousands of students are deprived of their studies. Thousands of civil servants, employees and workers are deprived of their jobs and their salaries. Nothing is working in Gaza currently, no administration and no commerce.

I am very sad. I am unhappy. I suffer on a daily basis like all the inhabitants of this devastated region left to its fate by a complicit international community and I am putting up with the unbearable.

I decided to write this testimony to share my pain with friends and those of good will. You are my only comfort in this daily hell.

When I have access to the internet, I try to provide news. The problem is that, to get to an internet center, I have to walk two kilometers and, in front of this place, there are people crazed by the situation. Everyone is allowed only thirty minutes; everyone wants to have news of their family in the south and the communication network is often disrupted and destroyed by bombings.

I see your many messages of support and sympathy. I thank those who offer help and donations. I have always said that the most important thing is moral and political solidarity. I am a simple Palestinian citizen of Gaza. I live like all the inhabitants and I do not want to be solely privileged with my network and my many friends and acquaintances.

Even if I do not respond, because the internet network is very weak, your messages relieve this Palestinian citizen of Gaza who has lost everything and who is trying to survive with the little hope he has left.

My daily life is very difficult and very complicated. I have experienced many wars, aggressions, offensives and carnage, but I have never experienced such a horrible situation as this since my childhood.

Currently, I move from one neighborhood to another and from one house to another among relatives and cousins, because the bombings continue day and night everywhere in this open-sky (and closed) prison. Tanks can arrive in any neighborhood at any time.

There are thirty to forty residents and displaced people in each home and we have to deal with this exceptional situation.

I have become homeless and have to accept everything in these shelters.

I cannot read or write in these houses, because of the noise and the presence of dozens of people. I lost my computers and my library with its three thousand books in French after the destruction of my apartment at the beginning of December 2023. I was unable to recover any of my belongings, my clothes, my diplomas, my published books, my research and my courses.

We all get home before 5 p.m. and sleep around 7 p.m. In the evening, we light with lamps which we recharge in the morning with solar panels. Fortunately, there is always sunshine in Gaza and the solar panels have greatly helped the inhabitants of Gaza to have a little light by recharging their lamps, their batteries and their mobile phones during this period of darkness and power outage since the start of this aggression at the beginning of October 2023.

At night, I can’t sleep. I think of my brother, murdered along with his whole family. I cry alone. I go back to my beautiful memories before this attack and I try to dream and hope for a better future, but in vain.

I, who was boosting the morale of the traumatized young people and children of Gaza, am in shock, I am traumatized by the succession of tragic events which have struck my family and all the citizens of Gaza in recent months and I cannot find anyone to erase my tears and to calm my overwhelming anger.

My heart bleeds endlessly. Believe me, I am not pessimistic and I love life very much like all the Palestinian people, but our context is unimaginable, unacceptable and horrible.

For food, we eat only one meal a day and sometimes one meal every other day. There is nothing in the markets to eat, often a plate of rice and a few pieces of bread and if we drink a cup of coffee or tea, it is a luxury for us.

In each house, men and women work hard to prepare meals using wood fires, because there is no gas.

It is not money that is lacking; it is food and essential products because, for four months, no products have entered Gaza and there is no humanitarian aid in the north of the Gaza Strip. . No international organization or local association takes care of the large number of destitute and displaced people.

According to a latest report from the United Nations (UN) from early January 2024, ninety percent of Gaza residents suffer from food insecurity. Palestinians in Gaza have begun to starve.

Prices have increased tenfold and the few products available are very expensive. A small bottle of mineral water currently costs five euros in Gaza; previously its price was ten cents.

A kilogram of rice which cost two euros has risen to ten euros. A kilogram of flour which cost one euro rose to twelve euros and an egg costs three euros, while a tray of thirty eggs cost four euros before the attack. Everything is very expensive in Gaza and nothing is available in the markets. There are no fruits and vegetables. All agricultural land in the north of the Gaza Strip has been destroyed.

There is no clean water for drinking. Water for domestic use does not come into the taps and we buy it at a very expensive price from a few stations that are still functioning, because several water wells have been destroyed. Several contagious diseases affect residents. There is no authority, no government and no municipal service to manage and control this critical situation. Everyone fends for himself or herself  to survive. The Palestinians in Gaza show solidarity among themselves, but sometimes we have nothing to give because we have nothing. In the morning, our concern is to find food for our family and search for water with great difficulty.

When I walk the streets of Gaza, I become very unhappy because in every neighborhood there are destroyed and damaged houses, buildings and civil infrastructure.

I learn every day of the assassination of my cousins, my relatives, my friends, my colleagues, my neighbors and my students. This makes me very sad, because I am helpless and cannot say a word of condolence to their families. The feeling of helplessness is horrible.

Imagine, there is no bakery, no store, no pharmacy, no restaurant, no cafe that is open. The Palestinians in Gaza are very sad. They are preoccupied by their tragic daily lives. They think of their missing loved ones and they try to look for food and water for their children. No one speaks to anyone; no exchanges, no smiles, everyone is in shock. In every family, there are dead, injured, displaced and houses destroyed. Sometimes I wonder how we manage to survive and still exist.

The health situation is dramatic; no hospital is functioning; all hospitals are out of service. There are only three clinics in the entire city of Gaza which is home to three hundred thousand inhabitants and displaced people. In each clinic, there are only five or six overworked volunteer doctors overseeing five thousand patients a day, with no real medications to give  or even medication which has passed the expiration date.

Personally, I am currently ill and I cannot find any laboratory to carry out tests, pharmacy or hospital to treat me.

The most moral army in the world has murdered twenty-seven thousand Palestinians in Gaza so far, including twenty-two thousand women and children, and injured seventy thousand other Palestinians, not to mention the destruction of almost sixty- five percent of civil infrastructure.

The problem is that this cowardly and criminal army has not achieved any of the objectives set for this far-right government. It is murderous madness and total impunity without any official international reaction.

The Palestinians of Gaza, despite their anger and their misfortune, greatly appreciate the demonstrations of solidarity throughout the world to denounce this repeated genocide and to call for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

These four months have been very difficult for me and for all the inhabitants of Gaza with these painful events.

In October 2023, at the start of the aggression, there were intensive bombings, but I was very busy, I gave interviews to French-speaking media, I had access to the internet. I gave testimonies daily and had regular contacts with friends and solidarity groups with Palestine in the French-speaking world. The markets were open and there was some food.

In November 2023, the situation became very complicated, with the start of the ground operation, the evacuation of my family to the south and the arrival of tanks in my neighborhood. I was surrounded at home in my devastated neighborhood.

The month of December 2023 was a dark month for me with the assassination of my brother and his entire family, the destruction of my apartment and our building and my obligation to leave my neighborhood to find refuge with relatives.

The month of January 2024 saw the continuation of the bombings and the arrival of tanks throughout Gaza City and my obligation once again to look for other houses to live in.

There are many events to tell. I would need pages and books to describe our very difficult daily life under the bombs and in shock with this catastrophic humanitarian situation and this unprecedented disaster. I can hardly believe I’m still alive, because I see death a thousand times a day and, although I’m not afraid of death, I am worried about our future.

The positive aspect in all of this which makes me proud is that I feel no hatred. Please accept the expression of the friendship of  Palestinians  from Gaza which is no longer Gaza, and from Ziad who is no longer Ziad.



PAJU Note:

Ziad Medoukh’s testimony of the misery and horror of daily life in Gaza since Israel’s genocidal attack which began on October 7, 2023 is the reality which lies behind the statistics. It is also both the accusation and the proof of the complicity of Western political classes and media in whitewashing what the peoples of the earth recognize as a calculated genocide enacted by the apartheid State of Israel against the Palestinian civilian population.

“Ziad Medoukh is Director of the French department at Al-Aqsa University in Gaza. He has been awarded several literary prizes and even academic awards. He is passionate about France and the French language which he learned in Algeria. He, who experiences injustice and violence on a daily basis, created the Peace Center in 2004 at his university. Because he knows that, to be effective, “the artisans of non-violence must insert themselves deeply into local socio-economic life”, he takes his students to help farmers during the fruit and vegetable harvest, to give help to the fishermen, and he invites them to get involved in a psychological support program for traumatized children.” (Taken from À Gaza : Ziad Medoukh, un géant de la non-violence (la-croix.com)


https://www.jamnalalbajajawards.org/awards/archives/2017/international/ziad-medoukh (2017)

https://www.preface.ma/poemes-d-espoir-dans-la-douleur-choix-de-quarante-poemes-pour-gaza-pour-la-palestine-pour-la-vie-9791092758054.html (2016)

Share This