Gaza reporter finds his city reduced to rubble

A Palestinian woman carries her belongings as she walks on Wednesday through the rubble from Israeli airstrikes on the Rafah refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.

Associated Press

A Palestinian woman carries her belongings as she walks on Wednesday through the rubble from Israeli airstrikes on the Rafah refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — I live alone in my office. My wife and two young children moved in with her father after our apartment was shattered. The neighborhood mosque, where I have prayed since I was a child, had its roof blown off. All the government buildings on my beat have been obliterated.

After days of Israeli shelling, the city and life I have known no longer exist.

Gaza City, with some 400,000 people, stopped supplying water when the fuel ran out for the power station driving the pumps. We listen to battery-run radios for news. The Hadi grocery where we once shopped is closed. Food is scarce.

The Israeli army issued a video of the bombing of the Hamas-run government compound, which it posted on YouTube. In it, I also can see my home being destroyed, and I watch it obsessively.

Some of my colleagues lost their houses as well, and are sleeping on mattresses on floors of an apartment upstairs from the Associated Press bureau.

• • •

Driving to central Gaza City, I took the road where Gaza's two main universities are. It was covered with shards of glass, telephone cables, electricity wires and flattened cars. This road was once crowded with students, taxis and street vendors.

The only shop I found open was the Shifa pharmacy run by my friend Eyad Sayegh. He's an Orthodox Christian, and I stopped to wish him a Merry Christmas — Eastern churches celebrated Christmas on Wednesday. Eyad told me he forgot it was Christmas.

• • •

I reached the Catholic Latin Patriarchate School I attended. The building was undamaged.

I stood in front of it, wondering if I will ever be able to walk my children to this school.

Gaza reporter finds his city reduced to rubble 01/07/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 9:34am]

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