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A Gazan child's dream

Oct 31,2023 - Last updated at Oct 31,2023

I harbour a dream that transcends borders, resonating in the hearts of children around the world. It is a dream deeply rooted in the belief that every child merits a life unburdened by the horrors of war, atrocities and destruction. In my dream, the deafening roars of Israeli rockets and the thunderous echoes of their bombings yield to the soothing serenades of birds, the mosque's melodious calls to prayer, and the tranquil tolling of church bells.

I dream of the fragrance of freshly soaked earth after a cleansing rain, the embrace of dew-kissed mornings, and not the haunting specter of blood and scattered flesh from the bodies of innocent children and schoolmates. I yearn for my body unshaken by the relentless tremors induced by the descent of Israeli rockets onto our homes.

I dream of waking up to the familiar faces of my mother, my father, my siblings and the warmth of their love enveloping me. The air is infused with the comforting scent of za'atar, a fragrance that whispers of home, safety and tradition. It is a world where the simple joys of family are cherished untouched by the haunting shadows of Israeli war crimes.

I dream of the melodies of my grandmother's songs resonating through the neighborhood. Her voice, like a lullaby of generations, carries with it a legacy of resilience and strength. It weaves a tapestry of stories that bind us together, reminding us of our shared history and the enduring spirit of our people.

I dream of myself immersed in a world where the laughter of children weaves seamlessly with the mischievous frolic of neighbourhood cats, painting a vivid picture of life's simple joys. In this cherished memory, I stand alongside my grandfather, soaring kites and crafting art from wires, treasured traditions that ignite spirited contests and strengthen the ties of care and concern. These experiences, like life itself, morph into profound metaphors, teaching me lessons of resilience, perseverance and the shared delight of achieving success.

I dream of a dream where the aroma of my mother's cooking fills the air, a testament to her unwavering dedication to nourishing our bodies and souls. It is a world where food is not just sustenance, but a celebration of culture, a tangible expression of love that transcends language.

I dream that as I walk through the neighbourhood, the streets come alive with the hum of gossip and camaraderie. Neighbours exchange stories, laughter and support, forming a tight-knit community where each member is valued and cared for. It is a world where the bonds of kinship extend beyond bloodlines, a testament to the resilience and interconnectedness of our humanity.

In this dream, I step into a school, take my seat and enthusiastically exchange stories with classmates from various walks of life. We engage in friendly competition for a teacher's praise, share hearty laughs while playfully teasing our teachers about missed assignments, and eagerly anticipate the breaks between classes.

I dream of a Palestine, emancipated from the clutches of Israeli occupation. In this dream, I walk its every expanse without the oppressive shadow of a loaded gun, embracing life's dignity in its purest form. I ache for the moment when I can amble freely between villages, unhindered by the stifling burden of occupation's grip.

I dream of the genuine scent of my homeland, unspoiled by the acrid smoke of injustice and colonial criminality.  This dream pulses within me, a vivid tapestry woven with threads of freedom, boundless movement and the unsullied spirit of my beloved land.

I dream of the departed souls of my classmates and friends finding justice, solace and peace, knowing that the perpetrator of this heinous act cannot escape the indelible stain of their blood.

I dream of a world where this dream becomes a reality, where every child can dare to dream.


The writer is an associate professor at the American University of Madaba and an academic activist.

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