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We have gone through it (hopefully)

By Majdi Ashour
on August 12, 2014

Although the situation in Gaza is still very shaky, Majdi Ashour hopes the worst is over, writing from the Gaza strip.  He does so from the bottom of his heart and gives us in this way some idea on what his people in Gaza have endured in recent weeks. While doing so, he uses metaphors and archangels from ancient literature, finds some inspiration in Mahmoud Darwish’s  Memory for Forgetfulness, and refers to recent controversies in peer reviewed journals.



We have gone through it – hopefully;  it was when the god sent his army of  angels, either to watch the world cup  or to bless the crashed airplanes in the desert and in the green fields.

We have gone through it; the ghosts of Azrael were haunting our strip to send men and women without ranks or uniforms on an eternal  rendez-vous  with God and  to send children,  without medals or names,   to fly their kites  in the seventh heaven.

We have gone through it; the god has blessed our place with no  earthquakes for many decades, but he sends in the men in uniform every two years or so. Clicking frantically on their mouses, they simulate his doings according to Richter’s scale.

We have gone through it; at dawn we saw a military ship coming from the eastern Mediterranean; we heard the  metal voice of the cocks  coming from the sky in the morning; sandflies, codenamed drones, were disturbing us unremittingly while they were hunting for the moon; and we witnessed the midday sun at midnight coming from everywhere.

We have gone through it; our southern gate was closed so we were  not “lost” in the desert, and military ships were in the Mediterranean so we didn’t have to drown in the sea; but the UN schools were open for us to live and die there, thank you very much; the Secretary General was seeking for the lost body of the Defense Minister’s relative, so he did not find the time to guard his schools.

We have gone through it; the International Red Cross was busy checking  the dictionary  to find the exact  meaning of words used at  the fourth Geneva convention, and  recruiting additional international expatriates; and when we called them, the telephone was ringing without a response.

We have gone through it; we managed to have some water. Who told you water is tasteless, colorless, or without smell ? Who told you about its chemical structure: H2O? it is so much more than that! Anyway, soon enough we managed to calculate our water usage: 500 drops for hair, 2000 drops for the trunk ( body), 100 drops for the mouth, 100 drops for shaving, 20 drops for each auricle, 50 for each axilla , …. We rationed almost each and every drop of water! We managed to treat our scabies, but we still have our skins itching!

We have gone through it;  electricity gently visits us for 2 hours weekly, so we have plenty of opportunity to watch the TV’s balanced and fair coverage, where broadcasters have spoken about us using the same tone they reserve for weather forecasts; we have observed the changes in the world’s geography where somehow Caracas has gotten closer to us than Makah and Lima closer than Dubai; and we are now well informed that the world was on summer vacation. When some people were concerned about us, Goebbels was dug up from his coffin  to join the services as a reservist.

We have gone through it; our hospitals were intentionally and repeatedly targeted; we were ‘informed’ that a  policeman was visiting his terminally injured child in intensive care! When we complained about our destroyed ambulances and hospitals, they told us surprisingly that they preserved the medical ethics of Rambam but did not recall that he was employed by Saladin!

We have gone through it;  when some colleagues in white coats  stood for us at a respected Journal, they have turned it upside down; they seem to have forgotten Virchow and declared that medicine is for medicine’s sake!

We have gone through it; when we told them that our refugee camp is well sealed, they responded that unfortunately a modern prison is not possible but we can make a concentration camp for you, if you insist.

We have gone through it; we managed to have Wi-Fi to log in to Facebook, and to tweet sometimes and respond to your kind emails that we are fine and still alive!

Yet, we are living dead in Gaza.




Majdi Ashour (MD) is an ex-participant of short courses of Health Policy and QMM at  ITM; he was also a New Voice in Global Health at the World Health Summit in Berlin in 2013. 

About Majdi Ashour

Majdi Ashour is a Medical Officer at the UN Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees, a PhD candidate in International Public Health Policy, and an alumni of the University of Minnesota and ITM. He was also a New voice for Global Health at the World Health Summit in Berlin in 2013.
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