Women's Voices: Bessan Q. - Gaza women
Name: Bessan Q.
Location: Gaza City
Date of incident: 17 November 2012
Nature of incident: Shelling
28-year old mother of two from Gaza describes another sleepless night as Israeli missiles continue to fall on the city of Gaza from the air and from the sea.
Bessan Q. lives in Gaza city with her husband and their two young daughters: Selma (two) and Elia who is not yet two months old. On 17 November 2012 Bessan described what went on in her house the night before.
“Last night I went to bed at around 10:00pm, completely exhausted from the events of the last couple of days, only to be woken up around midnight by the sound of a loud explosion.” recalls Bessan. “I was literally shaken out of my bed, scared and confused. The power went off and I could not sleep for the rest of the night because of the non-stop explosions that went on until the early hours of the morning,” says Bessan.
“The Israeli army fired missiles on Gaza from the air and from the sea. Some of the explosions were so loud that the whole house shook for a few seconds. I live on the third floor and for a moment I thought the house was going to collapse on our heads. My youngest daughter woke up terrified. She could not stop crying. My other daughter woke up screaming and shouting of fear. When I went to check on her I found that she had wet her bed. She cried nonstop and I couldn’t calm her down. It was a night of real terror, we were not given a moment to catch our breath.”
“We haven’t had electricity for the last 12 hours. I also ran out of cooking gas two days ago and I haven’t been able to replace the cylinder because of what is going on. Streets are deserted and people are staying home. I have an electric kettle which I use, when there is power, to boil water to make baby food for my youngest daughter. I also use it to boil eggs for the rest of us. We have been surviving on eggs and canned food for the last three days. My refrigerator is empty. The frequent power cuts make it impossible to store fresh food,” says Bessan.
“I am very worried about Selma. She is old enough to be affected by all this. I try to distract her by putting loud children’s music on, I sing along to encourage her to sing too. This morning I tried to convince her to put the ear phones on but she refused. I wish there was something I could do for her to spare her this hell,” says Bessan.
“My parents’ house was hit by a missile on Wednesday night which destroyed the wall surrounding the house. Their windows were shattered and they had to leave the house for a safer place. The area where their house is has been targeted by Israeli missiles. My aunt’s house in the same area was hit too. I think about six missiles fell in the area around their house. Her family moved last Thursday to a building still under construction for safety. It is cold and dark there,” says Bessan.
“This morning I heard another very loud explosion while my husband was out to get us some bread. I panicked and called him immediately to make sure he was ok. He told me he was still in line at the bakery and that he might need another hour for his turn to come. I told him not to wait any longer and to come home immediately, I just don’t want to be home alone anymore,” says Bessan.
“It looks like the Israeli army is about to launch a land operation and I am very worried about the coming days. I still haven’t recovered from the trauma of the land incursion back in 2009. It will be a real disaster if they enter Gaza again. Life in Gaza is a real nightmare that doesn’t seem to come to an end, one thing after another. I can tolerate living without electricity or much food; I just hope we will survive this round of violence without any harm. Politicians have lost their minds and we people pay the price,” concluded Bessan.