February 21, 2008
Huda Ghalia is today 13 years old, she still lives with her family, her mother and siblings, including her first brother Ayham 21. At an early age,Ayham have been forced to shoulder the heavy burden of responsibility, for his surviving family, after his fathers tragically death two years ago, when the Ghalia family became the victims of a disastrous tragedy. We will meet and talk with Huda Ghalia and her family again,Huda will talk with us about her life today, and her families personal experience, during the past two years.
The life on Gaza Strip, characterized by a prolonged unrest - the Israelis missile attacks and brutal serial killings, closed borders, the blockade and a siege that is crippling all the life. The atmosphere in the home of the Ghalia family, today feel different, is mellow, and they all with one mouth assure us, that they have not lost the hope of a better life for their family, justice and peace for their Palestinian people. In their voices there is also a sound of a lingering sadness - it will take a long, long time to heal all the wounds.
Four months ago, Ayham brought joy to the hearts of his family, when he got married. He said he would bring some happiness to his mother, so he married a girl, known by his family, As he say, to restore some peace to the home, after the disastrous tragedy that was caused to the Ghalia family, and the loss of their beloved father. Ayham' s eyes is very sad, when he is talking about his father,remembering his father.A Gaza Strip, hard working farmer, who was so brutally killed. in front of his own eyes, almost two years ago, a summer day in June on the Gaza Beach." I really missed my father very much, the day when I married, I wish he would have been there with me, alive, sharing with us the joy, the celebration of my married,I am the oldest of his sons,I was very close to my father..
Huda Ghalia,whose family was killed June 9, 2006,in an Israeli missile attack, or by an exploding Israeli artillery shell, on a Gaza beach, was the only survivor among nine family members, with her that day. After the disaster, Huda was undergoing psychological treatment at the Sheik Zayed Military Hospital in UAE, for emotional and cognitive damage. The Israelis denied that its artillery ordnance, exploded on the beach. However human rights groups displayed, fragments of a 155 mm Israeli artillery shell, that killed nine of Ghalia's family members, and wounded other bystanders.
PFV: How is your family surviving today, under these difficult circumstances on Gaza Strip?
Huda's mother:" We live like many of other bereaved families here in Gaza Strip, in a shattered home - lost family members under this brutal Israeli siege." .
PFV: How many members of your family have survived. What about Ayham, Hudas brother?
Huda:"Ayham my oldest brother, is still alive, he live together with his four sisters and our younger brother Adham". Ayham is still studying Management at the faculty of the Islamic University in Gaza City, but all our financial burdens have forced him to work on this semester to be able to care for his family. Ayham is now working in the relief agency of UNRWA" - My big brother Ayham,also work guarding one of the Beirut Towers, near the beach by the Gaza Strip shore. "
PFV: How is your living situation today, does your family get support to survive?
Huda's mother: The only support was earlier coming from the UAE, from the Friends Foundation and the Hon. Prince,Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.This support of money, has enabled the Ghalia family a moderate re-modernization, restoration of the house. However, the main office of the UAE foundation, in Jerusalem, was closed by the Israeli government, under the pretext that the foundation gave support to the Hamas movement. The Shahid and the Foundation for the wounded, continues to provide a symbolic sum of money, 600 nis ($ 150) every month.
PFV: What about all the declarations of adoption, that aroused instantly after the devastation. One adoption offer, was officially announced by Mahmoud Abbas,chairman of the Palestinian Authority?
Huda's mother replied with a big smile : " There is no support, and absolutely nothing coming from Mr. Mahmod Abbas."
PFV: The Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, also said that Hamas would give support to your family - have you received any grants or other support from the Hamas Movement ?
Huda's mother:Yes, the Government of Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, gave to my son Ayham, grants to pay his university tuition fees,Huda's mother explained.
PFV:What about you Huda, last time we meet,you told us, that you would like to study International and National law, to be able to help the many Palestinians who needs an attorney in their legal fights with the Israeli occupant? Huda gave us a smile and she answered. " Of course I am still in school,and I still dream of studying law, so I can defend the rights of my people and my country."
PFV: Huda,how old are your brothers and your sisters today? Do they study,and can they find some small income to help supporting the family?
Huda: " I live with my mother and my brother Ayham 21, he works for UNRWA, the refuge-relief agency here in Gaza Strip" as I told you before.My younger brother Adham 11, is in the fifth grade of primary school, and my older sister Eham 19, she help my mother at home. Hadeel 10, my little sister, miraculously survived the devastation on the Gaza Beach, she is in the fourth grade primary school and doing fine, and our youngest sister Latifa 9, is a primary school third grader.
PFV: Huda dear girl, what do you think of the future ?
Huda: Beside my dream of becoming a lawyer, I which to teach all children, about the Palestinian peoples rights, and the history of Palestine.
PFV: Huda,have you been able to travel outside the borders of Gaza Strip [ Palestine], since our first meeting, that took place almost two years ago?
Huda: I did not leave Gaza Strip more then once, I told you the last time, that was when I met with Prince Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan in the United Arab Emirates.
PFV: Huda, If you would have the possibility to choose, to leave your family here in Gaza Strip,would you leave, and to where would you wish to go ?
Huda answered with much confidence: I would never leave Gaza Strip or Beit Lahia, this is the place where I was born. In spite of the offer I have from Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan,to stay and live in one of his palaces, truly, I reject to leave my birth place, Beit Lahia.
PFV: Huda, how do you spend your free time?
Huda: I do my studies every day, I also play with the smaller children and with my brothers, and I am watching the TV.
PFV: You say you watch the TV, what about the daily electric outrage - doe's your house also encounter daily power cuts, and the heating system............?
Huda:" For our family, as for many other people here on Gaza Strip, the electric power is cut, for six consequent hours and sometimes even longer.There is much sadness in the eyes of Huda, and her siblings, when we ask them, how the Israelis deadly games with the electric power, is affecting their daily lives. Huda's mother said, while smiling:" We have warmness within our family", they cant take that away from us". She explained, that each one of them sleep in turnes, under warm covers, when its getting too cold, we get up walk and move around, take new turns on and off, as in a night shift".
PFV: Doe's your family have enough food, do you eat properly every day?
Ayham replied :" I go to the market with my mother to buy vegetables, and food to ensure the meals for the family and for my brothers. I try to extend the meager budget, that I am able to obtain.
PFV: Do you have a source of clean drinking water ?
Ayham: Yes, the main source we use, is the municipal water and we use water filter - purification in our house.
Ayham 21, Eham 19, Huda 13, Adham 11 and Hadel 10, lost their beloved father, and their siblings. Their mother lost her husband, and her children. Aired in prime time, the outside world in silence, watched the horror filled events on TV screens, two years ago. Very little was done to help the little traumatized girl Huda her self, and her devastation stricken family. Almost two year have past, since a team from the PalestineFreeVoice met the Ghalia family in Beit Lahia.
Today, not much in the outside environment have changed for the better. The Israelis and its world wide Zionist lobby and its Palestinian collaborators, have made the life on Gaza Strip, a hell on earth. However the members of the Ghalia family are survivors, their personal tragedy, have tightly glued, mended and strengthen their family. The family of Huda Ghalia still remain there in their home, holding on to each other, courageously fighting to survive, unbreakable withstanding, defying the enemy, which wicked, devilish aim, is to punch a sharp wedge, through the heart of Palestinian family bounds, dividing the Palestinian people, then the finale conquest, to tear the ancient Palestinian homeland apart.
ę Hiyam Noir
Photo Credit: Islam Kalloub