Pain and pangs on the path to Palestine


Ghanusi, lost his father, Ayaz Amir, during the Arab-Israeli war in 1967, when he was a boy of five. His father was the only victim of the war. He was youngest issue of his parents in 1967 when Syria lost Golan Heights and Egypt lost Sinai peninsular but the later regained it with a dole of two billion dollars from the US. The killing of his father undoubtedly left a deep scar on the young mind of Ghanusi. He cried, mourned and vented his remorse along with his mom, sisters, grandfather, brothers and other relatives. But with the passage of time he could tame his grief as his grandfather, Arafat Abbas, who was 90 during the Israeli war, greatly helped him to stop grieving for his father. He got a father in his grandfather. Though his grandpa, Abbas, himself was greatly shocked at the death of his loving son, Amir, leaving his grand sons in a sea of troubles, he took special care of teenager Ghanusi and soothed him to overcome the overwhelming grief. His grandpa, who himself gave food and shelter to many German Jews who came to Palestine penniless, homeless and hopeless, albeit, with venom against Hitler who was a Christian by religion. Abbas used to tell his grandsons the story of his cooperation extended towards the Jews migrated to Palestine in 1950s whenever he grieved his dead son Amir. He used to regret for the past as he along with his son expelled from their parental land by the Jews he gave shelter, of course, with the help of Israeli defence forces. Since then they took shelter in Gaza ghetto. Abbas told the stories of 1950s to his grandsons so repeatedly that Ghanusi and his elder brothers still remember those even today.

He started going to a school in the ghetto, completed college education and had medical degree from neighbouring Egypt in later years. He started as a medical practitioner at a hospital in Gaza City, which is one of most congested places on the planet. He married a Palestinian lady doctor and had three children. Three sons— Aadib, Asif and Ahir— were five, four, two years respectively. Life was full of struggle and no less exception to his fellow Palestinians, of whom 49 per cent are unemployed. He was a bit fortunate and rich as he got a job soon after leaving the medical college. His wife loved him very much. A really caring father for his children — all of whom were born through caesarian section— Ghanusi used to do everything what he could do for his children. They were growing up day by day with their father dreaming of a piece of land for them in an independent Palestine. He used to call them ‘baba’. The children, to him replicated his father — Amir, who was killed by Israelis soon after the establishment of Jewish state in May 1948 after World War II. The memory of the grandpa of his children almost faded after long 41 years. He almost forgot most of the dots on his father’s face. Sometimes he had a guilty feeling for not praying to Allah regularly for the salvation of the soul of his dead father. As he is not very attentive to religious duties, so he uttered ‘akur rabbir ham huma kama rabbai yani sagira’ occasionally and prayed for him on the anniversary of his father’s death.

On January 7, 2008 Ghanusi went to hospital, leaving his wife and children at the residential quarter of the hospital, which was at a stone’s throw from the medical college hospital. The quarter was built for accommodating the doctors and their families. The five storey building housed eight flats for the same number of medical officers. It was a public holiday in the Gaza City but for doctor of a hospital there was nothing but a hectic day when hundreds of injured Palestinians were being admitted in dozens though not hundreds. The hospital cannot neither admit all these patients nor provide medicare services to all of them as all accesses to the impoverished enclave are blockaded by the oppressors. There is no food, medicine and medical equipment in the hospital. The hospital has several blocks. Casualty block is one of them. But with the rush of the emergency patients the whole hospital has turned into emergency, having little blood for the patients maimed by the sophisticated bombs pounded by the Israeli planes replicating the bombardment of Israeli air forces during war in the West Asia in 1967 when America and Russia were engaged in cold war.

Ghanusi in his white apron was heavily busy in treating the injured, particularly the children. As a pediatrician he declared deaths of many children either soon after admission of the injured or sometime after a minor treatment after the Israeli air force started the war against the helpless and hapless Gazans. As it is said that doctors have to have strong nerves so was Ghanusi. His heart does not bleed at a death but, certainly when a patient dies on the table of the operation theatre. Deaths of patients and the injured are nothing but day-to-day incidents to him. But on that Friday he was moved deeply by the deaths of a number of children aged five to twelve. He didn’t know why.

The Jum’a prayers were over and with overwork he was exhausted and attempted to take a packed lunch with his fellow doctors with blood-stained white gowns. Though a few moments ago, his wife phoned him to go home and take lunch with them, he refused to go to his flat to enjoy lunch with them as he had a lot of duties as the Gaza holocaust of 2008-’09, which is leaving hundreds of children either dead and injured or maimed forever. His wife reluctantly allowed him to take lunch at hospital away from sons, and away from wife. Ghanusi took the first morsel of food to mouth but failed and it fell on the floor along with the packet as the whole compound was rocked by Israeli drones pounded a number of bombs on their hospital. They could not believe their eyes and were highly surprised at the bombing on hospital. Not only that the Israeli fighter planes didn’t spare the UN-run school and its headquarters in the neighbourhood, the map of which was earlier given to Israeli forces. He came out of their block only to see the residential quarter bombed where they lived in. He saw nothing but dust, debris and fumes bellowing after the explosion and still the F-16s were flying low over the area. Puzzled by the incidents and thoughts of the fate of his wife and children felt someone has held him by his left hand and shouting to rush to the site. Sense came to him and he rushed to the quarter which was pounded. The doctors of the whole hospital, brothers, sisters, rescue workers and even the injured patients came out to their help to rescue the inmates of the eight flats. Some of the inmates were spot dead which included his wife and two-year-old son Ahir. Ghanusi with the help of hospital inmates and the people around him rescued Aadib and Asif whose heads were heavily bleeding. Blood was gushing out of their sculls. They were taken to pediatric block where Ghanusi and his fellows tried heart and soul to save the lives of the sons but bleeding from their almost smashed heads didn’t stop. Hemorrhage went on and there was nothing in the blood bank as the last bag was given to a child of Aadib’s age before the Jum’a prayers by Ghanusi himself. Gushing of blood stopped later a few moments only after the death of the two. He fell swoon, lost sense and collapsed on the floor. When he came to sense saw his children lying dead on the hospital floor just beside him. He dragged his dead sons near him and kissed them on their blood-soaked faces and went on howling….

There was nothing left in his life. Ghanusi lost everything—his father, sons and wife. He has nothing to lose now. He is in between first and third generation. He has no father and he has no son. None of the family members will phone him now, requesting to take lunch with them. None will call him baba and he won’t call them either. To him the world is nothing but a desert which will never give birth to innocent Aadib, Asif and Ahir who were brutally killed as terrorists. But these three boys like thousand other children were not terrorists. The world will never return his father either. Now nothing will deter him from being a desperado. He may avenge his father’s death. He can even take revenge on the killers of his beloved wife at least, his sons. He can do anything. He can take any decision. He has seen three generations — his father, wife and sons — killed by the Israel, the only gangster state on the earth. He could hazily remember the stories of cooperation extended by his grandpa during 1950 when Jews were either being killed or expelled from their lands in Europe. Unless his childhood memories betrayed, he could feel the generosity of his grandpas when 60 lakh Jews were killed. Though he could overlook the death of his father, being a teenager during 1960s, he cannot deny the death of his wife, a fellow student of his medical college. Even if he can put out the memory of his wife out of his mind, he will never forget about his sons. In fact he cannot but avenge the murder of generations after generations. Not only that he will not be killed the very next moment by bombing from Israeli unmanned drones, which were still flying low over the hospital with sonic booms, when the dead bodies of his nearest ones were being shrouded after funeral rites. Ghanusi followed the funeral procession to the burial ground where his father was laid to rest. His father’s grave was the oldest one in the graveyard; so only the epitaph could help them recognize his father’s grave. But to the great dismay and utter wonder of the participants of the funeral procession, an Israeli drone flew low over the graveyard and dropped a bomb on his father’s epitaph, creating a great ditch there. Ghanusi said to one of his fellow doctor, ‘Israeli drones again bombed the forty-one-year-old grave contained the skull of his father may be because the Israeli soldiers of 1960s failed to crush into powder. ‘Bombardment on his father’s grave at their family graveyard is nothing but killing of his father twice — once in 1967 and now in 2009’ he added. He went on envisaging his father’s face unmindfully but as a couple of moments passed Ghanusi came to reality only to apprehended about the safety of his sons and wife even in their graves. He put his wife, Asif, Ahir one after another into their graves but after putting Aadib’s body into his, Ghanusi lost sense for the second time and regained his sense and found him under a tree twenty feet away from his father, sons, wife — all of whom have left him only to avenge their deaths.

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