Saturday, July 09, 2005

What Does She Dream?



photo by Mohammed Omer

Exhausted beyond tears, six-year-old Olfat al Qadi makes her bed on the rubble of her home in Rafah's Hay al Salam neighborhood. Her pillow and a flower were all she could find in the ruins.

When the Israeli incursion roared through the Hay al Salam neighborhood back in December 2003, this little girl refused to leave her home. Somehow, she made it out of the rubble alive while the rest of the family ran from the tanks. With no idea where her parents might be, she found her pillow and a flower and fell asleep. Hay al Salam literally means "neighborhood of peace" but happens to be close to the Gaza/Egypt border. Sometimes by tens and scores, sometimes by just a house or two, the Occupation Forces have reduced most of Hay al Salam to a destroyed no-man's-land, the infamous Philadelphi Corridor. First the tanks and bulldozers, often backed by Apache gunships, destroy the houses. When the families come back to try to salvage belongings, often the patrolling tanks fire on them. Eventually, the bulldozers return and bury the rubble, hiding any sign that there had once been a thriving neighborhood there. Homes, businesses, gardens, trees, everything gone as the occupying army creates its "security zone" out of ruined lives.

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