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Stay Human - The Reading Movie (2013)

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    Dear hermanos,
    our motto "Stay Human" is now also a book.
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    Please find within
    the three-week story of a massacre
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    written to the best of my ability
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    more often than not very precarious conditions
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    often scribbling about the inferno
    all around me in a tattered notebook...
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    ...while crouched
    in an ambulance screaming down the street.
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    Or frantically tapping away at the keyboard
    of any available computer I could find...
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    often inside a building shaking like
    a crazed pendulum as explosions went off all around.
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    I must warn you that leafing through this book
    could prove dangerous.
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    These are harmful pages, blood-stained
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    imbued with white phosphorous,
    and as sharp as bomb shrapnel.
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    If read within the quiet of a bedroom,
    your walls will shake from our cries of terror.
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    I feel concerned for the walls of your hearts,
    which I recognize have not yet become soundproofed to pain.
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    Please store this volume somewhere safe,
    within the reach of the young
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    so that they may immediately learn
    of a world not so far away from them
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    where indifference and racism
    tears their peers to little bits as if they were mere rag dolls.
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    This way they may be inoculated against racism from an early age,
    against any epidemic of violence towards whoever is different
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    or against neutrality when faced with injustice.
    For tomorrow, so as to stay human.
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    I trust you who trust me
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    not for the ones who died but for the ones
    wounded to death in this horrendous massacre.
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    One hug as big as the mediterranean sea
    which joins us by dividing us.
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    Stay Human
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    Never giving up, yours Vik.
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    27th december 2008
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    Guernica in Gaza
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    My apartment in Gaza faces the sea,
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    a panoramic view that's always done wonders for my mood,
    often challenged by all the misery that a life under siege can bring.
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    That is, before this morning,
    when all hell broke loose outside my windows.
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    We woke up to the sound of bombs dropping,
    many of them falling a few hundred meters from my home.
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    Some of my friends have fallen under them.
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    So far the death toll has reached 210, but it's bound
    to rise dramatically. It's an unprecedented bloodshed.
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    They've razed the port to the ground,
    and pulverized police station.
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    I've been told that the Western media
    are on-message and are repeating...
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    ...the press releases issued
    by the Israeli military parrot-style
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    according to wich the attack only targeted
    Hamas' terrorist dens with surgical precision.
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    In actual fact, when visiting Al-Shifa, the city's main hospital,
    and gazing over chaotic lines of bodies laid out in its courtyard
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    we mostly saw civilians among those awaiting treatment,
    lying randomly alongside other bodies, awaiting rightful burial.
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    Can you picture Gaza? Every house leans against another,
    every building rises over the next one.
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    Gaza is the place
    with the highest population density in the world...
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    ...which means that when you bomb from a height
    of 10,000 metres, you'll inevitably butcher many civilians.
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    You're aware of it, you're guilty as charged, it's no error,
    and certainly no case of collateral damage either.
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    When shelling the central police station in Al-Abbas,
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    the neighbouring elementary school
    was also damaged by the explosion.
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    It was the end of the school day
    and the children were already in the street.
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    Most of their flapping sky-blue aprons
    were splashed with blood..
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    When bombing
    the Dair Al-Balah police academy,
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    some dead and wounded were also recorded
    from the souk nearby, this being Gaza's central market.
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    We've seen the bodies of animals and humans mixing
    their blood in rivulets trickling down the asphalt roads.
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    A Guernica transfigured into reality.
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    I saw many corpses in uniforms
    in the various hospitals I visited, I knew many of those boys.
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    I greeted them every day when I met them in the street on my way
    to the port, or walked to the central cafÈ of an evening.
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    I knew several of them by name.
    A name, a history, a mutilated family.
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    The majority were young,
    around 18 or 20...
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    ...mostly without political leanings,
    neither siding with Fatah nor Hamas
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    simply enrolled into the police force
    once they had finished university...
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    ...in order to have a secure job in Gaza
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    which under Israel's criminal siege
    has more than 60% unemployment among its population.
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    I have no interest in propaganda...
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    ...and let my eyes bear witness, my ears stay in tune
    with the screaming sirens and the rumbling of TNT.
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    I haven't seen any terrorist among the casualities today,
    only civilians and policemen.
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    Just last night I poked fun at a couple of them for the way
    they were cloaked up agaist the cold.
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    I want the truth to redeem these dead.
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    They'd never fired a single shot against Israel,
    nor would they have ever done so
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    it wasn't in their job description to do so.
    They acted as traffic wardens, took care of internal security.
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    The port is quite a distance from the Israeli border anyway.
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    I own a video camera,
    but today i discovered what a terrible cameraman I am.
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    I can't bring myself to film mangled bodies
    or faces drenched in tears. I just can't.
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    I start crying myself.
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    The other International Solidarity Movement volunteers
    and I went to Al-Shifa Hospital to give blood.
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    That's where we received a call informing
    us that Sara, a dear friend...
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    ...had been killed by a piece of shrapnel
    near her home in refugee camp of Jabalia.
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    She was a sweet person, a sunny soul,
    and gone out to buy some bread for her family.
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    She leaves 13 children behind.
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    A moment ago I got a call from Tawfiq,
    from Cyprus.
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    Tawfiq is one of the Palestinian students lucky enough
    to have left the enormous prison camp of Gaza...
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    ...on one of our Free Gaza Movement boats,
    to start anew somewhere else.
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    He asked me if I'd visited his uncle and whether
    I had gone to say hello on his behalf, as I had promised.
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    Hesitatingly, I apologized
    because I hadn't found the time.
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    And it was too late anyway, he was buried
    by the rubble in the port area along with many others.
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    Israel launches the terrible threat that this is just the first day
    of a bombing campaign that could last for up to two weeks.
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    Israel launches the terrible threat that this is just the first day
    of a bombing campaign that could last for up to two weeks.
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    They want to make a desert
    and then call it peace.
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    The 'civilized' world's silence is more deafening
    than the explosions covering the city...
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    ...like a shroud of death and terror.
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    Stay human.
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    29th december 2008
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    Dying slowly while listening out in vain
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    An acrid smell of sulphur
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    fills the air while the sky
    is shaken by earth-shattering rumbles.
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    My ears are now deaf to the explosions
    and my eyes are all out of tears from all the corpses.
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    I stand infront of Al-Shifa, Gazaís main hospital
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    when we receive Israel's latest, terrible threat:
    they intend to bomb the wing that is under construction.
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    This wouldnít be a first,
    as Weaím Hospital was bombed just yesterday
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    along with a medicine warehouse in Rafah,
    the Islamic university
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    and various mosques scattered along the Strip.
    Not to mention many other civilian infrastructures.
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    Apparently, no longer able to find 'sensible' targets,
    the air force and navy now are killing time targeting
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    places of worship, schools and hospitals.
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    Itís another 9/11 every single hour,
    every minute around here...
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    and tomorrow is always a new day for mourning,
    bringing equal desperation.
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    You notice the helicopters and airplanes
    constantly overhead
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    you see a flash, but youíre already a goner
    and itís too late to take flight.
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    There are no bunkers against the bombs in the Strip
    and no place is really safe.
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    I canít contact my friends in Rafah,
    not even those who live north of Gaza City
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    hopefully because the phone lines are overloaded.
    Hopefully.
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    I haven't slept in 60 hours,
    and the same can be said of any Gazan.
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    Yesterday three other ISM members and I spent the night
    at the Al-Awda Hospital in the Jabalia refugee camp.
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    We were there in fearful expectation
    of the much-dreaded ground raid that never happened.
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    But the Israeli tanks are strung all
    along the Stripís borders
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    as we speak, creaking their way
    into a funeral procession.
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    Around 11.30pm, a bomb fell
    about 800 metres from the hospital...
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    the shock wave blowing several windows apart
    and injuring the injured.
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    An ambulance rushed to the spot where a mosque
    had been shelled, but it was thankfully empty at the time.
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    Unfortunately
    (though it actually has nothing to do with fortune...
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    rather with the deliberate criminal and terrorising
    will to massacre civilians)
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    the Israeli bomb had also struck the building
    adjacent to the mosque, which was likewise destroyed.
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    We watched as the tiny bodies of six little sisters
    were pulled out of the rubble...
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    five are dead, one is in a life-threatening condition.
    They laid the little girls out onto the blackened asphalt...
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    and they looked like broken dolls,
    disposed of as they were no longer usable.
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    This wasnít a mistake, but a wilful and cynical horror.
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    We're now at a toll of 320 dead, more than a thousand
    wounded and, according to a doctor at Al-Shifa...
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    60% of those are destined to die in the next few
    hours or days, after enduring a prolonged agony.
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    There are many missing.
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    For the last two days despairing wives
    have been searching for their husbands...
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    or children in the hospitals, often to no avail.
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    The morgue is a macabre spectacle.
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    A nurse told me that, after hours of searching through
    body parts in the refrigerator cell, a Palestinian woman...
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    recognize her husband's amputated hand.
    That was all that was left of her husband...
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    along with the wedding band on her finger,
    a remnant of the eternal love they had sworn to one another.
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    Out of a house once inhabited by two families,
    very little remained of their bodies.
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    They showed their relatives
    half of one torso and three legs.
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    Right now, one of our Free Gaza Movement boat
    is leaving the port in Larnaca, Cyprus.
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    I spoke to my friends on board. They've heroically
    amassed medicine and packed it tightly onto the boat.
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    It should reach the port of Gaza tomorrow
    around 8.00pm.
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    Here's to hoping that the port will still exist
    after another night of non-stop shelling.
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    I'll be in touch with them during the entire night.
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    Please, someone stop this nightmare.
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    Choosing to remain silent means somehow
    lends support to the genocide unfolding right now.
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    Shout out your indignation,
    in every capital of the 'civilised' world...
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    in every city, in every square,
    covering our own screams of pain and terror.
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    A slice of humanity is dying
    while pitifully listening out for a response.
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    Stay human.
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    30th December 2008
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    The Angel Factories
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    Jabilia, Bet Hanun, Rafah, and Gaza City
    are the legs of the journey in my personal map of hell.
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    Whatever the press releases
    from the summit of the Israeli military may say,
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    recited parrot-style all over Europe and the US
    via the disinformation experts,
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    in the last few days Iíve been an eyewitness
    to the bombing of mosques, schools...
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    universities, hospitals, markets
    and many, many civilian buildings.
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    The medical director at Al-Shifa Hospital has confirmed...
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    ...he received calls from members of the IDF,
    the Israeli Army,
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    ordering him to evacuate the hospital, or else face being
    showered by missiles. But they never let the Army intimidate them.
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    I should be sleeping at the port (though we havenít shut
    our eyes once in Gaza for at least four days),
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    but its being constantly bombed at night.
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    You no longer hear the sirens of ambulances in a mad chase,
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    simply because there isnít a living soul left
    at the port or its environs. Everyone is dead,
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    and it feels like treading a cemetery
    in the aftermath of an earthquake.
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    The situation is really that of an unnatural catastrophe,
    a hate-fuelled and cynical upheaval...
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    ...catapulted onto the people of Gaza like molten lead,
    tearing human bodies apart.
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    Contrarily to all predictions, it unites all Palestinians,
    brought together by their collective endurance of a horrific massacre.
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    These are people who may not even
    have greeted one another until recently,
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    on account of belonging to opposing factions.
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    But when the bombs shower down
    from the sky from a height of 10,000 metres,
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    you can be sure they wonít make a distinction
    between a Hamas or Fatah banner hanging from your window.
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    Thereís no such thing as a surgically precise military operation.
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    When the Air Force and the Navy start bombing,
    the only surgical operations...
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    ...are those tackled by the doctors,
    unhesitatingly amputating limbs reduced to a pulp,
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    even when those arms and legs might have been spared.
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    Thereís no time, you have to run,
    and the time you use to treat a seriously injured limb...
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    ...may spell death for the next wounded patient
    in line awaiting a transfusion, or worse.
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    At Al-Shifa Hospital, 600 inpatients are in very serious condition,
    with only 29 breathing machines available.
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    Theyíre short of everything, especially experienced staff.
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    For this precise reason, exhausted as we were
    (not so much by the sleepless nights...
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    ...as by the apathy and compliance
    of Western governments with Israelís crimes),
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    we decided that last night was time for one of our
    Free Gaza Movement boats to leave the port of Larnaca, Cyprus,
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    ferrying over medical staff and three tonnes of medicine.
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    I waited for them in vain
    ñ they ought to have docked the boat at 8am this morning.
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    Instead, they were intercepted
    by 11 Israeli war ships at 90 nautical miles from Gaza,
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    trying to sink them in full international waters.
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    They rammed into them three times,
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    provoking an engine failure and a leak in the hull.
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    By pure chance the crew and passengers are all still alive,
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    and have managed to dock the boat
    at the port of Tiro, in southern Lebanon.
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    Feeling increasingly frustrated
    by the ëcivilizedí worldís deafening silence,
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    my companions will make a second attempt soon.
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    Theyíve in fact unloaded the medicine
    from our damaged boat, the Dignity,
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    and filled another boat ready for departure,
    heading straight for Gaza.
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    Many journalists who interview me ask me
    about the humanitarian situation of Palestinians in Gaza,
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    as if the problem amounted just to food,
    water, electricity and fuel shortages,
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    rather than the matter being
    about who is actually causing all of this...
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    At the Al-Awda Hospital in Jabalia
    Iíve seen corpses and wounded bodies flooding...
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    ...in not only in ambulances,
    but on animal-drawn wooden carts.
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    Tanks, fighter planes, drones, Apache helicopters
    ñ the worldís fiercest army...
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    ...attacking a people who use donkeys
    as their main means of transportation, like in Jesus Christís time.
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    According to Al-Mizan,
    a human rights monitoring centre,
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    while we speak 55 children have been caught in bombings,
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    20 are dying and 40 are seriously injured.
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    Israel has turned the Palestinian hospitals
    and morgues into angel factories,
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    not realizing just how much hatred
    they are generating in Palestine and the rest of the world.
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    The angel factories are churning out angels at the rate
    of a non-stop production line tonight as well:
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    I can tell from the rumbles of explosions outside my window.
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    Those tiny dismembered and amputated bodies,
    those lives snuffed out before they had a chance to blossom,
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    will be a recurrent nightmare for the rest of my life.
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    If I can still find the strength to talk about this,
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    itís only because I want to bring justice to those who
    no longer have a voice, those whoíve never had a hint of a voice,
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    perhaps for the benefit of those whoíve never had ears.
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    Stay human.
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    1st January 2009
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    The Unnatural Catastrophe
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    The New Year just came in with the same omens of bleakness
    and death as the old one, increasing its destructive power tenfold.
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    Iíve never seen so many bombs
    drop all around my apartment in front of the port.
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    An explosion just 100 metres away
    violently shook our seven-storey building,
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    making it rock like a crazed pendulum.
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    For an instant, while the window panes exploded,
    we dreaded it would topple over.
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    It was a major moment of panic in which I prayed
    and clung to the unlikely illusion that our building had been built...
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    ...using earthquake-proof criteria,
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    even though Gaza is perched upon a strip
    of land that never quakes.
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    Around here earthquakes are of the unnatural kind,
    and theyíre called Israel.
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    I continue with my desperate search
    for those friends who no longer pick up their phone.
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    I heard from Ahmed at his place,
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    one of the few houses still standing
    in the centre of the Tal El-Hawa neighbourhood in Gaza city,
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    now surrounded...
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    ...by a post-apocalyptic scenario
    so reminiscent of the Shiite neighbourhood in Beirut...
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    ...after the bombs razed it to the ground in 2006,
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    those bombs having been produced in the same part
    of the world as those falling on our heads right now.
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    Ahmed is OK...
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    ...and so are his relatives,
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    though his mother had a brush with death last Saturday.
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    She teaches at the United Nationsí Balqees School.
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    On that day sheíd stayed on in the classroom
    for a little longer than usual,
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    which ended up saving her life.
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    Many of her students,
    standing at the bus stop,
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    were buried by the rubble produced after an explosion.
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    A bomb fell onto Ahmedís car,
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    a pistachio-green economy car,
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    the very same with which he roamed the city
    the previous evening, in search of some bread...
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    ...in a city where flour is being sold at the price of gold.
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    As for Rafiq, in the end I reached him on the phone.
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    His cavernous voice
    seemed to rise up from a deep well,
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    a pit of desperation and sadness...
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    ...from having just heard of the death
    of three best friends during the attack at the port.
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    In one of the last cafÈs still operating in Gaza,
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    providing caffeine and an internet connection,
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    smiling wryly I showed a couple of friends
    an article of news from my laptop...
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    ...speaking of "one victim and 382 wounded".
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    This wasnít an estimate of the victims provoked
    by the Qassam "rockets" shot against Israel yesterday,
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    thankfully harming no one,
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    but the aftermath of the "massacre" our New Yearís
    Eve firework displays had provoked in Italy.
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    I told my friends that Hamas are wet behind the ears...
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    ...if they think they can compete with Israel
    using those homemade toys of theirs.
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    They ought to take lessons in Naples
    to produce truly lethal rockets.
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    As a pacifist and non-violent person,
    I abhor any form of Palestinian attack against Israel,
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    but out here weíre sick
    to the back teeth of hearing that tired old adage...
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    ...that this massacre of civilians...
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    ...was Israelís answer to the Palestinians launching
    their modest, homemade "rockets".
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    For precisionís sake, from 2002 to the present-day...
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    ...the Qassam rockets against Israel
    have produced 18 dead,
  • 27:54 - 27:57
    while only last Saturday, in just a couple of hours,
  • 27:57 - 28:03
    we counted more than 250 civilian casualties in the hospitals.
  • 28:03 - 28:09
    At the cafÈ I enquire about the ceasefire
    proposed by the European Union and rejected by Israel,
  • 28:09 - 28:15
    clearly still in possession of the vast supplies of war equipment
    it needs to use up from its arsenals.
  • 28:15 - 28:17
    They all shake their heads grimly.
  • 28:17 - 28:19
    Had there ever really been a truce...
  • 28:19 - 28:23
    ...before this fierce attack
    upon an unarmed population commenced?
  • 28:23 - 28:28
    In November alone,
    the Israeli Army killed a good 17 Palestinians
  • 28:28 - 28:32
    43 in total from the start of the "ceasefire".
  • 28:32 - 28:36
    And even before that, the criminal siege of Gaza...
  • 28:36 - 28:40
    ...had produced more than 200 dead
    among the Palestinian sick.
  • 28:40 - 28:45
    Sick, with their papers in order,
    and waiting to find treatment in foreign hospitals,
  • 28:45 - 28:50
    but prevented from getting anywhere
    with the borders being sealed off.
  • 28:50 - 28:54
    The criminal siege of Israel
    has destroyed an already shaky economy,
  • 28:54 - 28:57
    producing a rate of more than 60% unemployed,
  • 28:57 - 29:02
    forcing 80% of Palestinian families
    to live off humanitarian aid.
  • 29:02 - 29:08
    This is aid trickling through with huge difficulty,
    crossing the iron curtain erected by Israel...
  • 29:08 - 29:14
    ...around the largest
    open-air prison in the world: Gaza.
  • 29:14 - 29:17
    We were soon forced to evacuate that cafÈ, and fast.
  • 29:17 - 29:24
    The umpteenth threatening phone call had come in:
    the cafÈ would be bombed within a few minutes.
  • 29:24 - 29:27
    Yesterday at the Jabilia refugee camp...
  • 29:27 - 29:32
    ...an F16 plane
    dropped some missiles onto an ambulance.
  • 29:32 - 29:36
    A doctor, Ihab El-Madhoun,
  • 29:36 - 29:39
    and his trusted nurse, Mohamed Abu Hasira, both died.
  • 29:39 - 29:44
    For this reason, today, we ISM volunteers...
  • 29:44 - 29:46
    ...have appeared at a press conference...
  • 29:46 - 29:50
    ...before the cameras
    of the most popular Palestinian television stations.
  • 29:50 - 29:54
    We informed Israel...
  • 29:54 - 29:58
    ...that weíll hop on to those ambulances,
  • 29:58 - 30:03
    hoping that our presence as internationals
    may act as a slight deterrent...
  • 30:03 - 30:06
    ...against these inhumane and bloody crimes.
  • 30:06 - 30:12
    Sometimes, our conversations get pretty bleak:
  • 30:12 - 30:15
    itís likely that at the end of this massive,
    blood-curdling attack,
  • 30:15 - 30:21
    some of us will have to go out there and do a final count
    of the dramatic toll of the dead and missing.
  • 30:21 - 30:25
    We try not to think about it for now.
  • 30:25 - 30:58
    Stay human.
  • 30:58 - 31:00
    3rd January 2009
  • 31:00 - 31:03
    Ghosts demanding Justice
  • 31:03 - 31:06
    While I type this,
    Israeli tanks have just entered the Strip.
  • 31:06 - 31:10
    The day has begun the same way
    as the previous one ended,
  • 31:10 - 31:13
    with the earth shaking beneath our feet,
  • 31:13 - 31:16
    the sky and sea conniving endlessly
    against us overhead,
  • 31:16 - 31:19
    hanging over the destinies
    of a million-and-a-half people...
  • 31:19 - 31:22
    whoíve gone from the tragedy
    of living under siege to the catastrophe...
  • 31:22 - 31:26
    ...of a targeted attack on civilians.
  • 31:26 - 31:29
    My horizon is devastated by the flames,
  • 31:29 - 31:36
    and thereíve been cannon shots rumbling from the sea
    and bombs raining from the sky all morning.
  • 31:36 - 31:40
    The same fishing boats
    we accompanied into the open sea just a few days ago,
  • 31:40 - 31:45
    well beyond the six miles imposed by Israel
    in their illegal and criminal siege,
  • 31:45 - 31:48
    are now reduced to charred wrecks.
  • 31:48 - 31:52
    If the fire-fighters tried to put out the fires,
  • 31:52 - 31:56
    theyíd instantly become the targets
    of the F16ís machine guns,
  • 31:56 - 31:59
    this already happened yesterday.
  • 31:59 - 32:01
    After yet another attack,
  • 32:01 - 32:07
    once the exact estimate of the dead is out,
    if this will ever be possible,
  • 32:07 - 32:11
    the city will have to be rebuilt over a desert of rubble.
  • 32:11 - 32:14
    Israelís Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni,
  • 32:14 - 32:19
    is declaring to the world
    that "there is no humanitarian emergency in Gaza".
  • 32:19 - 32:23
    Clearly, "being in denial" isnít the sole preserve...
  • 32:23 - 32:28
    ...of figures like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,
    the Iranian president.
  • 32:28 - 32:32
    The Palestinians
    are in agreement on one thing with Tzipi Livni,
  • 32:32 - 32:38
    as Joseph, an ambulance driver,
    who calls her "an ex-serial killer with the Mossad", tells me:
  • 32:38 - 32:41
    more food is indeed coming in through the borders,
  • 32:41 - 32:44
    simply because in December,
  • 32:44 - 32:47
    next to nothing had managed to make it
    across the barbed wire fence stretched out by Israel.
  • 32:47 - 32:53
    But what point is there
    in serving freshly baked bread in a cemetery?
  • 32:53 - 32:57
    The first priority ought
    to be stopping the bombing immediately,
  • 32:57 - 33:01
    well before bringing any supplies to the survivors.
  • 33:01 - 33:03
    Corpses donít eat;
  • 33:03 - 33:05
    they can only provide compost for the earth,
  • 33:05 - 33:11
    and, at the moment,
    Gaza has never been more fertile from decomposition.
  • 33:11 - 33:15
    On the other hand,
    the disembowelled bodies of the children in the morgues...
  • 33:15 - 33:19
    ...ought to increase the sense of guilt
    in the indifferent lookers-on,
  • 33:19 - 33:22
    those who could have done something.
  • 33:22 - 33:27
    The images of a smiling Barack Obama,
    the US President, playing golf...
  • 33:27 - 33:30
    ...were shown on all the Arabic satellite TV stations,
  • 33:30 - 33:34
    as if to scorn the shroud of mourning covering this land,
  • 33:34 - 33:38
    and, as it happens, out here no one
    is under any illusion that the colour of oneís skin...
  • 33:38 - 33:43
    ...will do wonders
    to change Americaís foreign policy radically.
  • 33:43 - 33:47
    Yesterday, Israel opened the Erez Pass...
  • 33:47 - 33:51
    ...to evacuate all foreigners
    who are still currently in Gaza.
  • 33:51 - 33:53
    We internationals of the ISM...
  • 33:53 - 33:55
    ...are the only ones to have remained.
  • 33:55 - 34:00
    Today we addressed the Israeli government
    by means of a press conference,
  • 34:00 - 34:04
    explaining the motives that commit us to staying put.
  • 34:04 - 34:09
    Weíre disgusted by the passes being opened
    for the evacuation of foreigners,
  • 34:09 - 34:12
    the only possible eyewitnesses to this massacre,
  • 34:12 - 34:15
    while they are being kept well shut...
  • 34:15 - 34:18
    ...to the flow of international doctors and nurses...
  • 34:18 - 34:24
    ...pressing to get in
    and bring their heroic Palestinian colleagues some relief.
  • 34:24 - 34:26
    Weíre not going anywhere
  • 34:26 - 34:28
    because we believe that our presence is essential...
  • 34:28 - 34:34
    ...to provide eyewitness accounts of the crimes
    inflicted against an unarmed civilian population...
  • 34:34 - 34:37
    ...hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute.
  • 34:37 - 34:40
    Weíre now up to 445 dead,
  • 34:40 - 34:45
    with over 2,300 wounded and many, many more missing.
  • 34:45 - 34:50
    As I write this,
    63 minors have been torn apart by bombs.
  • 34:50 - 34:54
    At the moment Israel has counted three victims in total.
  • 34:54 - 34:56
    We havenít fled,
  • 34:56 - 34:59
    as our consulates have advised us to do,
  • 34:59 - 35:04
    because weíre well aware that our contribution
    as human shields on the ambulances in giving first aid...
  • 35:04 - 35:08
    ...could be decisive in saving lives.
  • 35:08 - 35:14
    Once again yesterday, an ambulance was hit in Gaza City.
  • 35:14 - 35:17
    On the previous day
    two doctors at the Jabalia refugee camp...
  • 35:17 - 35:21
    ...had died when they were hit by a missile shot
    from an Apache helicopter.
  • 35:21 - 35:24
    Personally, Iím not budging from here...
  • 35:24 - 35:27
    ...because my friends
    have implored me not to abandon them,
  • 35:27 - 35:30
    my surviving friends, as well as the dead ones,
  • 35:30 - 35:33
    who crowd my sleepless nights like ghosts.
  • 35:33 - 35:37
    Their diaphanous faces are still smiling at me.
  • 35:37 - 35:39
    7.33pm,
  • 35:39 - 35:42
    Red Crescent Hospital in Jabalia.
  • 35:42 - 35:46
    While I was connected via phone
    to the demonstrating crowds in Milan,
  • 35:46 - 35:49
    two bombs fell in front of the hospital.
  • 35:49 - 35:50
    The front windows were shattered,
  • 35:50 - 35:55
    and, by pure chance, the ambulances were not damaged.
  • 35:55 - 36:00
    The shelling has become more frequent
    and powerful in the last few hours.
  • 36:00 - 36:03
    Nearby, Ibrahim Maqadme Mosque...
  • 36:03 - 36:06
    ...has just crumbled under the bombs:
  • 36:06 - 36:08
    itís the tenth in a week.
  • 36:08 - 36:12
    Eleven victims for now, and about 50 wounded.
  • 36:12 - 36:15
    An elderly Palestinian lady
    I met in the street this afternoon...
  • 36:15 - 36:21
    ...asked me whether Israel thought it was still
    in the Middle Ages rather than in 2009,
  • 36:21 - 36:26
    considering the way it continues
    to hit mosques with such precision.
  • 36:26 - 36:33
    Itís as if it is concentrating on a personal holy war
    against all the Muslim places of worship in Gaza.
  • 36:33 - 36:38
    Yet another downpour of bombs hit Jabalia,
    and then the tanks came in.
  • 36:38 - 36:43
    They, which had tormented the borders by day
    with their creaking,
  • 36:43 - 36:49
    are now entering north-west Gaza
    and razing the houses, metre by metre.
  • 36:49 - 36:55
    Theyíre burying the past and the future,
    whole families and an entire population,
  • 36:55 - 36:58
    illegitimately dismissed from its own land,
  • 36:58 - 37:04
    a people who havenít found any form of shelter
    except for huts in refugee camps.
  • 37:04 - 37:11
    We rushed out here to Jabalia after another terrible menace
    showered down from the sky last Friday evening.
  • 37:11 - 37:13
    Hundreds of leaflets were thrown out of the planes...
  • 37:13 - 37:17
    ...ordered the general evacuation of the refugee camp.
  • 37:17 - 37:20
    This threat has unfortunately materialized.
  • 37:20 - 37:25
    The most fortunate have managed to escape instantly,
    taking a few possessions with them,
  • 37:25 - 37:27
    a TV, a DVD player,
  • 37:27 - 37:33
    and a few pieces of memorabilia
    from the life that once existed in Palestine,
  • 37:33 - 37:36
    a land lost about 60 years ago.
  • 37:36 - 37:39
    The vast majority havenít found anywhere to go.
  • 37:39 - 37:43
    They will face those tanks hankering after their lives...
  • 37:43 - 37:45
    ...with the only weapon the Palestinians have left,
  • 37:45 - 37:49
    the dignity of dying with their heads held up high.
  • 37:49 - 37:54
    My companions and I
    are aware of the enormous risk weíre coming up against...
  • 37:54 - 37:57
    ...tonight more than any other.
  • 37:57 - 38:01
    But weíre more at ease in the midst of this Gazan hell...
  • 38:01 - 38:05
    ...than relaxing in a metropolitan heaven
    in Europe or America,
  • 38:05 - 38:08
    where people celebrating the New Year...
  • 38:08 - 38:11
    ...and arenít really aware of just how complicit they are...
  • 38:11 - 38:16
    ...with the butchering of all these innocent civilians.
  • 38:16 - 38:51
    Stay human.
  • 38:51 - 38:55
    5th January 2009
  • 38:55 - 39:03
    Doctors with Wings: Arafa Abed Al-Dayem R.I.P.
  • 39:03 - 39:09
    "To the innocent people of Gaza,
    our war is not against you but against Hamas.
  • 39:09 - 39:16
    If they donít stop shooting rockets against us,
    youíll be in danger."
  • 39:16 - 39:24
    Itís the transcription of a recording you can hear
    when answering the phone in Gaza just now.
  • 39:24 - 39:28
    The Israeli Army is under the illusion that
  • 39:28 - 39:31
    the Palestinians have no eyes or ears.
  • 39:31 - 39:38
    No eyes to see that the bombs
    are hitting civilian targets almost exclusively,
  • 39:38 - 39:40
    such as mosques
  • 39:40 - 39:47
    (15, the last being
    the Omar Bin Abd Al-Azeez in Beit Hanoun),
  • 39:47 - 39:53
    schools, universities, markets and hospitals.
  • 39:53 - 39:59
    No ears to hear the cries of pain
    and terror of the children,
  • 39:59 - 40:01
    innocent victims...
  • 40:01 - 40:07
    ...and yet, at the same time,
    the pre-determined targets of each one of these bombings.
  • 40:07 - 40:11
    According to hospital records, as Iím writing,
  • 40:11 - 40:15
    120 minors were struck by the bombs,
  • 40:15 - 40:19
    548 being the total death toll so far,
  • 40:19 - 40:26
    in addition to 2,700 wounded and many,
    many more missing.
  • 40:26 - 40:33
    Two days ago, night time never came
    to the Red Crescent Hospital in the Jabalia refugee camp.
  • 40:33 - 40:39
    Apache helicopters hovering constantly overhead
    shower us with luminescent devices,
  • 40:39 - 40:43
    to the point that we could no longer
    tell the difference between day and night.
  • 40:43 - 40:48
    The repeated cannon fire from a tank
    positioned less than a kilometre from the hospital...
  • 40:48 - 40:52
    ...seriously cracked open the buildingís walls,
  • 40:52 - 40:58
    but it managed to stand more
    or less intact until morning.
  • 40:58 - 41:03
    Around 10 white phosphorous bombs
    were dropped on the neighbouring field,
  • 41:03 - 41:07
    with machine gun fire exploding all around.
  • 41:07 - 41:13
    To the doctors of the Red Crescent Hospital,
    this was clearly a message from the Israeli Army
  • 41:13 - 41:16
    ordering an immediate evacuation
  • 41:16 - 41:18
    (or face destruction).
  • 41:18 - 41:21
    We moved the wounded into other hospitals,
  • 41:21 - 41:26
    and the operative ambulance base
    is now on Al-Nady Street.
  • 41:26 - 41:31
    The medical staff
    sits on the sidewalk waiting for the calls...
  • 41:31 - 41:34
    ...that follow one after the other, frantically.
  • 41:34 - 41:37
    For the first time since the Israeli attack started,
  • 41:37 - 41:41
    Iíve actually seen corpses of members
    of the Palestinian Resistance.
  • 41:41 - 41:45
    A handful of individuals,
    next to the hundreds of civilian victims,
  • 41:45 - 41:52
    the numbers of whom
    have risen exponentially since the land attacks started.
  • 41:52 - 41:54
    Following the shooting at Jabalia Mosque,
  • 41:54 - 41:59
    which left 11 dead and about 50 wounded
    and all of which took place while the tanks were coming in,
  • 41:59 - 42:04
    for the whole of Saturday on board the ambulances...
  • 42:04 - 42:11
    ...we realized just how terrifyingly
    powerful the howitzers shot by the Israeli tanks were,
  • 42:11 - 42:16
    as if destructive power
    had been lacking in the previous few days.
  • 42:16 - 42:17
    At Beit Hanoun,
  • 42:17 - 42:21
    a family huddled
    in front of a wood stove in their house,
  • 42:21 - 42:24
    was struck by one such killer cannon shot.
  • 42:24 - 42:27
    We carried 15 wounded away,
  • 42:27 - 42:30
    four of whom were in a hopeless condition.
  • 42:30 - 42:31
    Later,
  • 42:31 - 42:34
    towards 3.30am,
  • 42:34 - 42:36
    we replied to an emergency call,
  • 42:36 - 42:38
    but we ended up being too late.
  • 42:38 - 42:42
    Standing by their front door,
    three women in tears...
  • 42:42 - 42:46
    ...handed us a four-year-old girl
    wrapped in a white sheet,
  • 42:46 - 42:49
    shroud, she was stone cold by then.
  • 42:49 - 42:54
    Another family was hit in full,
    this time by the Air Force in Jabalia,
  • 42:54 - 42:58
    with two adults injured by shrapnel.
  • 42:58 - 43:01
    Their two children were only slightly hurt,
  • 43:01 - 43:06
    but from their screaming it was obvious
    they were suffering from psychological trauma,
  • 43:06 - 43:10
    something they would carry with them
    for the rest of their lives,
  • 43:10 - 43:14
    an injury much deeper than a cut on the cheek.
  • 43:14 - 43:16
    Even though no one ever remembers to mention them,
  • 43:16 - 43:20
    there are thousands of children
    suffering from serious mental illnesses
  • 43:20 - 43:25
    caused by the terror of constant bombing,
  • 43:25 - 43:33
    or, worse, by the sight of their parents
    or siblings being torn apart by the explosions.
  • 43:33 - 43:39
    The crimes that Israel
    is staining its bloodied hands with in these hours...
  • 43:39 - 43:42
    ...go well beyond the boundaries of what can be imagined.
  • 43:42 - 43:46
    The soldiers actually prevent us
    from running to the aid of the survivors...
  • 43:46 - 43:48
    ...in this immense unnatural catastrophe.
  • 43:48 - 43:54
    When the wounded are close to the armoured vehicles
    they were just attacked by,
  • 43:54 - 44:01
    we, in our Red Crescent ambulances,
    arenít allowed anywhere near,
  • 44:01 - 44:06
    as the soldiers take pot shots at us.
  • 44:06 - 44:10
    Before we can hope to run in aid of any human lives,
  • 44:10 - 44:17
    we need to be escorted
    by at least one Red Cross ambulance,
  • 44:17 - 44:21
    thanks to an agreement
    of the latter with the Israeli Armyís senior command.
  • 44:21 - 44:25
    Just try and imagine
    how long such proceedings would take
  • 44:25 - 44:27
    a death sentence...
  • 44:27 - 44:31
    ...for all those awaiting transfusions or urgent care.
  • 44:31 - 44:38
    This is even truer considering
    the Red Cross has its own wounded to care for,
  • 44:38 - 44:44
    leaving them without a chance
    of answering our every call.
  • 44:44 - 44:50
    We must thus park in a "protected" area,
    this term being a euphemism in Gaza,
  • 44:50 - 44:58
    and wait for people to bring us their languishing relatives,
    often carrying them on foot.
  • 44:58 - 45:01
    Thatís what happened around 5.30 this morning.
  • 45:01 - 45:05
    We stopped the ambulance with the engine on,
    in the middle of a crossing,
  • 45:05 - 45:11
    communicating our whereabouts via phone
    to the relatives of some patients on their way.
  • 45:11 - 45:13
    After 10 unnerving minutes,
  • 45:13 - 45:17
    when weíd already decided to evacuate the area...
  • 45:17 - 45:20
    ...in response to another call,
    we noticed them as they turned the corner,
  • 45:20 - 45:26
    advancing towards us slowly,
    a mule-drawn cart carrying some people.
  • 45:26 - 45:29
    It turned out to be a couple and their two children.
  • 45:29 - 45:34
    The best possible illustration of this non-war.
    This isnít really a war.
  • 45:34 - 45:37
    There arenít two armies battling it out on one front,
  • 45:37 - 45:42
    but a people enduring a siege by an Air Force, a Navy,
  • 45:42 - 45:47
    and what is now
    one of the worldís most powerful infantries,
  • 45:47 - 45:52
    certainly the most technologically advanced
    when it comes to military equipment.
  • 45:52 - 45:56
    Here they are, attacking a miserable strip of land,
  • 45:56 - 45:59
    just 360 square kilometres,
  • 45:59 - 46:04
    a place where its inhabitants
    still use mules to move around,
  • 46:04 - 46:12
    with a hotchpotch resistance
    whose only real strength is their readiness for martyrdom.
  • 46:12 - 46:17
    When that mule-drawn cart got close enough,
  • 46:17 - 46:22
    approached them and beheld its macabre cargo with horror.
  • 46:22 - 46:25
    A child was lying with his skull cracked open,
  • 46:25 - 46:29
    his eyeballs literally hanging out of their sockets,
  • 46:29 - 46:35
    swaying onto his face like those at the end of a crabís stalks.
    When we picked him up, he was still breathing.
  • 46:35 - 46:39
    His little brother had a disembowelled chest,
  • 46:39 - 46:44
    and you could distinctly count
    his white ribs through the tatters of his torn flesh.
  • 46:44 - 46:48
    Their mother pressed her hands
    on to that eviscerated chest,
  • 46:48 - 46:52
    as if trying to fix what the fruit of her love
    had managed to create,
  • 46:52 - 46:56
    and which the anonymous hatred of a soldier,
    obeying orders,
  • 46:56 - 46:58
    had now forever destroyed.
  • 46:58 - 47:03
    Yet another crime I want to report,
  • 47:03 - 47:05
    and our umpteenth personal mourning.
  • 47:05 - 47:10
    The Israeli Army continues to target the ambulances.
  • 47:10 - 47:14
    After the butchering
    of the doctor and nurse in Jabalia four days ago,
  • 47:14 - 47:21
    odayís new victim was a friend of ours:
    35-year-old Arafa Abed Al-Dayem,
  • 47:21 - 47:23
    a father of four.
  • 47:23 - 47:29
    Around 8.30 yesterday morning,
    we received a call from Gaza City.
  • 47:29 - 47:33
    Two civilians had been struck down
    by a tankís machine-gun fire.
  • 47:33 - 47:39
    One of our Red Crescent ambulances
    rushed to their aid.
  • 47:39 - 47:43
    Arafa and one of the nurses
    were loading the two wounded onto the ambulance...
  • 47:43 - 47:45
    ...and, while shutting the ambulance doors,
  • 47:45 - 47:48
    they were hit by a howitzer from a tank.
  • 47:48 - 47:54
    The shot decapitated one of the wounded
    and also killed our friend.
  • 47:54 - 47:58
    Nader, the nurse accompanying them,
    managed to survive...
  • 47:58 - 48:02
    ...although he is now a patient
    in the same hospital that he works in.
  • 48:02 - 48:08
    Arafa, an elementary school teacher,
    was a voluntary paramedic in emergencies.
  • 48:08 - 48:15
    We were being showered with bombs and, yet,
    hadnít had the heart to call Arafa in such a high-risk situation.
  • 48:15 - 48:20
    He showed up of his own accord, working
    with a full awareness of the risks involved,
  • 48:20 - 48:23
    convinced as he was that, aside from his family,
  • 48:23 - 48:27
    there were other human beings
    in need of protection and aid.
  • 48:27 - 48:30
    We miss his jokes,
  • 48:30 - 48:34
    his irresistible and contagious sense of humour,
  • 48:34 - 48:38
    and a balm for the soul in our bleakest moments.
  • 48:38 - 48:41
    Someone has to stop this massacre.
  • 48:41 - 48:44
    In the last few days
    Iíve seen things, heard uproars...
  • 48:44 - 48:50
    ...and smelt pestilential miasmas
    that Iíll never have the courage to talk about,
  • 48:50 - 48:56
    if I should ever have children of my own.
  • 48:56 - 48:59
    Is there anyone out there?
  • 48:59 - 49:05
    The desolation of feeling isolated and abandoned is equivalent
    to a view of a Gaza neighbourhood after a heavy air raid campaign.
  • 49:05 - 49:07
    Saturday evening,
  • 49:07 - 49:11
    I was connected via phone
    to the protesting crowds in Milan,
  • 49:11 - 49:17
    and I handed my cell phone over to the heroic doctors
    and nurses Iím working with at the moment.
  • 49:17 - 49:21
    They looked reassured for a few moments.
  • 49:21 - 49:25
    Demonstrations the world
    over are a sign that you can still believe in someone,
  • 49:25 - 49:32
    but these demonstrations are still not large enough
    to exercise the necessary pressure on Western governments,
  • 49:32 - 49:35
    which should be forcing Israel into a corner,
  • 49:35 - 49:44
    making it take responsibility
    for its war crimes and crimes against humanity.
  • 49:44 - 49:50
    Many terrified pregnant women
    are prematurely giving birth right now.
  • 49:50 - 49:55
    I was personally present with three of them
    as they were rushed to the delivery room.
  • 49:55 - 49:59
    One of these, Samira, seven months pregnant,
  • 49:59 - 50:03
    gave birth to a beautiful, tiny baby called Ahmed.
  • 50:03 - 50:06
    Rushing to the Al-Auda Hospital
    on board the ambulance with her...
  • 50:06 - 50:11
    ...and leaving behind in our rear-view mirrors
    the scenarios of death and destruction
  • 50:11 - 50:16
    (the places where just a moment before
    weíd been picking up corpses)
  • 50:16 - 50:21
    I thought for a moment that this new life,
    on the point of blossoming,
  • 50:21 - 50:24
    could be a harbinger for future hope and peace.
  • 50:24 - 50:28
    But the illusion melted away with the first rocket...
  • 50:28 - 50:32
    ...falling by the side of our ambulance
    from the centre of Jabalia.
  • 50:32 - 50:36
    These brave mothers sadly give birth to creatures...
  • 50:36 - 50:41
    ...who take in nothing
    but the military green of tanks and jeeps...
  • 50:41 - 50:45
    ...or the blinking flashes that precede an explosion.
  • 50:45 - 50:51
    What kind of adults will they grow up to be?
  • 50:51 - 51:34
    Stay human.
  • 51:34 - 51:38
    6th january 2009
  • 51:38 - 51:40
    Al-Nakba
  • 51:40 - 51:44
    They parade in fear, their eyes turned upwards,
  • 51:44 - 51:49
    surrendering to the sky which keeps raining terror
    and death down upon them,
  • 51:49 - 51:51
    and fearing the earth that keeps shaking
    under them with every step they take,
  • 51:51 - 51:56
    craters opening up where there were once houses,
  • 51:56 - 52:02
    schools, universities, markets and hospitals.
  • 52:02 - 52:07
    I've seen caravans of desperate Palestinians...
  • 52:07 - 52:13
    ...evacuate Jabalia, Beit Hanoun
    and all the refugee camps in Gaza,
  • 52:13 - 52:20
    crowding the United Nations' schools
    like earthquake survivors,
  • 52:20 - 52:23
    like the victims of a tsunami...
  • 52:23 - 52:30
    ...eating into the Gaza Strip
    and its civilian population,
  • 52:30 - 52:37
    without pity or compliance with human rights
    and the Geneva Conventions.
  • 52:37 - 52:48
    Most of all, without a single Western government
    lifting a finger to stop this massacre,
  • 52:48 - 52:57
    or sending medical staff out here, or stopping the genocide
    that Israel is smearing its hands with in these hours.
  • 52:57 - 53:06
    The indiscriminate attacks against
    the hospitals and their medical staff continue.
  • 53:06 - 53:12
    Yesterday, after having left the Al-Auda Hospital in Jabalia,
    I received a call from Alberto,
  • 53:12 - 53:16
    a Spanish colleague with the ISM.
  • 53:16 - 53:20
    A bomb had been dropped there
  • 53:20 - 53:25
    and Abu Mohammed, a nurse,
    had been seriously injured to his head.
  • 53:25 - 53:34
    Just moments before, in front of a cafÈ,
  • 53:34 - 53:39
    I'd been listening to the stories of the heroic deeds
    of the communist Abu Mohammed's heroes...
  • 53:39 - 53:50
    ...the leaders of the Popular Front:
    George Habbash, Abu Ali Mustafa and Ahmad Al-Sadat.
  • 53:50 - 53:54
    His eyes lit up when I told him...
  • 53:54 - 54:04
    ...that the first understanding of Palestine
    and its immense tragedy had been passed onto me by my parents,
  • 54:04 - 54:08
    both communists through and through.
  • 54:08 - 54:17
    He asked me who'd been the truly
    revolutionary leaders of the italian left,
  • 54:17 - 54:23
    and I'd replied, "Antonio Gramsci".
  • 54:23 - 54:31
    As for those of the present-day,
    I'd said I'd think it over and tell him the next day.
  • 54:31 - 54:41
    But Abu Mohammed now lies in a coma,
    in the same hospital where he works.
  • 54:41 - 54:46
    He spared himself my disappointing reply.
  • 54:46 - 54:50
    Towards midnight I received another call,
    from Eva this time.
  • 54:50 - 54:54
    The building she was in was under attack.
  • 54:54 - 55:00
    I know that building well:
    it's in downtown Gaza City.
  • 55:00 - 55:10
    I'd once spent the night there along
    with some Palestinian photojournalist,
  • 55:10 - 55:14
    whose job it is to try
    and capture through images and words...
  • 55:14 - 55:22
    ...something of the unnatural catastrophe
    we've been enduring these last 10 days.
  • 55:22 - 55:29
    Reuters, Fox News, Russia Today
    and many, many other local or foreign agencies
  • 55:29 - 55:36
    were under fire from seven rockets shot
    by an Israeli helicopter.
  • 55:36 - 55:43
    They managed to evacuate everyone in time
    before anyone could be seriously injured
  • 55:43 - 55:50
    all those cameramen, photographers, reporters,
    all Palestinian,
  • 55:50 - 55:59
    given that Israel won't allow
    any international journalists into Gaza.
  • 55:59 - 56:04
    There are no "strategic" targets
    around that building,
  • 56:04 - 56:12
    nor a resistance fighting off
    the deadly armoured Israeli vehicles,
  • 56:12 - 56:17
    currently located only a long way away
    towards the north.
  • 56:17 - 56:26
    Clearly, someone in Tel Aviv cannot bear
    the images of the massacres of civilians...
  • 56:26 - 56:36
    ...clashing with those briefings the Israeli officers provide,
    while offering mercenary journalists their aperitifs.
  • 56:36 - 56:41
    These press conferences
    are persuading the world...
  • 56:41 - 56:47
    ...that the bombing targets
    are solely targeting Hamas terrorists,
  • 56:47 - 56:58
    not one of those atrociously mutilated children
    we pull out of the rubble every day.
  • 56:58 - 57:02
    In Zeitoun,
    about 10 kilometres from Jabalia,
  • 57:02 - 57:09
    a bombed building crumbled over a family,
    leaving about 20 dead.
  • 57:09 - 57:14
    The ambulances had to wait several hours
    before they could reach the spot,
  • 57:14 - 57:19
    as the military persist in shooting at us.
  • 57:19 - 57:24
    They shoot at ambulances
    and bomb hospitals.
  • 57:24 - 57:29
    A few days ago, while I was being interviewed
    live on a well-known Milanese radio station,
  • 57:29 - 57:33
    an Israeli "pacifist"
    clearly spelt out to me...
  • 57:33 - 57:41
    ...that this was a war where both sides
    used all the weapons at their disposal.
  • 57:41 - 57:53
    I then invited Israel to drop one
    of its many atomic bombs upon us,
  • 57:53 - 57:59
    those they keep secretly stashed away,
    defying all treaties against nuclear proliferation.
  • 57:59 - 58:04
    Why not just drop that decisive bomb of theirs
  • 58:04 - 58:17
    and put an end to the inhuman agony of thousands of bodies,
    lying in tatters in the overcrowded hospital wards that I visit?
  • 58:17 - 58:24
    I took some black-and-white photos yesterday,
    the caravans of mule-drawn carts,
  • 58:24 - 58:31
    overloaded beyond belief with children
    waving white drapes pointing skywards,
  • 58:31 - 58:38
    their faces pale and terrified.
  • 58:38 - 58:48
    Looking through those snaps of fleeing refugees today,
    shivers went down my spine.
  • 58:48 - 58:59
    If they could only be superimposed with those
    portraying the Nakba of 1948, the Palestinian catastrophe,
  • 58:59 - 59:02
    they would be the perfect mirror image of them.
  • 59:02 - 59:09
    The cowardly passiveness
    of self-styled democratic states and governments...
  • 59:09 - 59:13
    ...are responsible
    for a new catastrophe in full swing,
  • 59:13 - 59:21
    a new Nakba, a brand new ethnic cleansing
    befalling the Palestinian population right now.
  • 59:21 - 59:29
    Until a few moments ago we counted 650 dead,
    153 murdered children,
  • 59:29 - 59:35
    in addition to 3,000 injured,
    and innumerable missing.
  • 59:35 - 59:43
    The number of civilian deaths in Israel
    has thankfully remained at four.
  • 59:43 - 59:52
    But after this afternoon the death toll on the Palestinian side
    requires an urgent recount,
  • 59:52 - 59:59
    ever since the Israeli Army has started attacking
    the United Nations schools,
  • 59:59 - 60:08
    the very same that had been offering shelter
    to the thousands evacuated under threat of an imminent attack.
  • 60:08 - 60:17
    They chased them out of the refugee camps, the villages,
    only to collect them all in one place,
  • 60:17 - 60:21
    an easier target.
  • 60:21 - 60:31
    Three schools were attacked today,
    the last being at Al-Fakhura, in Jabalia,
  • 60:31 - 60:36
    which was hit smack bang in the middle.
    Over 40 dead:
  • 60:36 - 60:41
    in a heartbeat,
    men, women, elderly people and children were wiped away,
  • 60:41 - 60:51
    who believed themselves to be safe within those
    blue-tinted walls adorned by a United Nations logo.
  • 60:51 - 60:58
    The peole sheltered within the other 20 UN schools
    are now shaking with fear.
  • 60:58 - 61:01
    There's no way out anywhere
    in the Gaza Strip.
  • 61:01 - 61:07
    This isn't Lebanon, where the civilians in the southern villages
    targeted by the Israeli bombs...
  • 61:07 - 61:13
    ...could flee to the north,
    or to Syria or Jordan.
  • 61:13 - 61:26
    From being one enormous open-air prison,
    the Gaza Strip has become a deadly trap.
  • 61:26 - 61:28
    We look at one another in bewilderment...
  • 61:28 - 61:34
    ...and ask ourselves
    whether the UN Security Council will finally...
  • 61:34 - 61:41
    ...and unanimously condemn...
  • 61:41 - 61:47
    ...these attacks
    after their own schools have been targeted.
  • 61:47 - 61:52
    Someone out there has really decided...
  • 61:52 - 61:57
    ...to turn this place into a desert,
    and then call it peace.
  • 61:57 - 62:07
    A long night on the ambulances awaits us now, even though the arrival
    of down has become nothing but an illusion around here.
  • 62:07 - 62:17
    Antenna towers all along the Strip have been destroyed
    and we've stopped relying of them for our mobile phones.
  • 62:17 - 62:26
    I hope I may one day be able to see all the friends
    I can no longer contact, but I'm under no illusions.
  • 62:26 - 62:37
    Bar none, everyone in Gaza
    is a walking target.
  • 62:37 - 62:47
    The Italian Consulate has just contacted me,
    saying that tomorrow they'll evacuate a fellow italian,
  • 62:47 - 62:55
    an elderly nun who'd lived
    near the Catholic church in Gaza for the last 20 years,
  • 62:55 - 63:01
    and who had by now
    been adopted by the Palestinians in the Strip.
  • 63:01 - 63:07
    The consul gently urged me
    to seize this last opportunity...
  • 63:07 - 63:14
    ...and escape from this hell with the nun.
  • 63:14 - 63:22
    I thanked him for the offer,
    and told him I'm not moving from here, I just can't.
  • 63:22 - 63:26
    For the sake of the losses we endured...
  • 63:26 - 63:37
    ...before being Italian, Spanish, British or Australian,
    right now we are all Palestinian.
  • 63:37 - 63:48
    If only we could do that for just one minute a day,
  • 63:48 - 63:53
    the way we were all Jewish during the Holocaust,
  • 63:53 - 64:03
    I think we would have been spared this entire massacre.
  • 64:03 - 64:32
    Stay Human
  • 64:32 - 64:34
    7th January 2009
  • 64:34 - 64:38
    Slingshots vs. White Phosphorous Bombs
  • 64:38 - 64:42
    "Take some kittens,
    some tender little moggies in a box",
  • 64:42 - 64:47
    said Jamal,
    a surgeon at Al-Shifa, Gazaís main hospital,
  • 64:47 - 64:52
    while a nurse actually placed a couple
    of blood-stained cardboard boxes in front of us.
  • 64:52 - 64:56
    "Seal it up, then jump on it
    with all your weight and might,
  • 64:56 - 65:03
    until you feel their little bones crunching,
    and you hear the last muffled little mew."
  • 65:03 - 65:08
    I stared at the boxes in astonishment,
    and the doctor continued:
  • 65:08 - 65:12
    "Try to imagine what would happen
    after such images were circulated.
  • 65:12 - 65:15
    The righteous outrage of public opinion,
  • 65:15 - 65:18
    the complaints of the animal rights organizations...."
  • 65:18 - 65:20
    The doctors went on in this vein,
  • 65:20 - 65:24
    and I was unable
    to take my eyes off the boxes at our feet.
  • 65:24 - 65:29
    "Israel trapped hundreds of civilians
    inside a school as if in a box,
  • 65:29 - 65:35
    including many children,
    and then crushed them with all the might of its bombs.
  • 65:35 - 65:38
    What were the worldís reactions?
  • 65:38 - 65:40
    Almost nothing.
  • 65:40 - 65:44
    We would have been better
    off as animals rather than Palestinians,
  • 65:44 - 65:48
    we would have been better protected."
  • 65:48 - 65:54
    At this point the doctor leans towards one of the boxes,
    and takes its lid off in front of me.
  • 65:54 - 66:00
    Inside it are the amputated limbs,
    legs and arms, some from the knee down,
  • 66:00 - 66:08
    others with the entire femur attached, from amputees injured
    at the Al-Fakhura United Nations school in Jabalia,
  • 66:08 - 66:12
    which resulted in more than 50 casualties.
  • 66:12 - 66:15
    Pretending to be taking an urgent call,
    I took my leave of Jamal,
  • 66:15 - 66:19
    actually rushing to the bathroom to throw up.
  • 66:19 - 66:25
    A little earlier Iíd been involved in a conversation
    with Dr. Abdel, an ophthalmologist,
  • 66:25 - 66:29
    regarding the rumours
    that the Israeli Army had been showering us...
  • 66:29 - 66:33
    ...with non-conventional weapons,
    forbidden by the Geneva Convention,
  • 66:33 - 66:36
    such as cluster bombs and white phosphorous.
  • 66:36 - 66:41
    The very same that the Israeli Army
    used during the last Lebanese war,
  • 66:41 - 66:47
    as well as the US Air Force in Falluja,
    in violation of international norms.
  • 66:47 - 66:51
    In front of Al-Awda Hospital
    we witnessed and filmed white phosphorous bombs...
  • 66:51 - 66:55
    ...being used about 500 metres from where we stood,
  • 66:55 - 67:02
    too far away to be absolutely certain
    there were any civilians underneath the Israeli Apaches,
  • 67:02 - 67:05
    but so terribly close all the same.
  • 67:05 - 67:08
    The Geneva Treaty of 1980...
  • 67:08 - 67:13
    ...forbids white phosphorous
    being used directly as a war weapon in civilian areas,
  • 67:13 - 67:18
    allowing it only as a smoke screen or for lighting.
  • 67:18 - 67:21
    Thereís no doubt that using this weapon in Gaza,
  • 67:21 - 67:25
    a strip of land concentrating
    the highest population rate in the world,
  • 67:25 - 67:28
    is a crime all on its own.
  • 67:28 - 67:32
    Doctor Abdel told me that at Al-Shifa Hospital...
  • 67:32 - 67:36
    ...they donít have the medical and military competence
  • 67:36 - 67:42
    to say for sure whether the wounds they examined
    on certain corpses were indeed caused by illegal weapons.
  • 67:42 - 67:46
    But he gave his word that, in 20 years on the job,
  • 67:46 - 67:51
    he had never seen casualties like these
    that were now being carried into the ward.
  • 67:51 - 67:54
    He told me about the traumas to the skull,
  • 67:54 - 68:02
    with the fractures to the vomer bone, the jaw,
    the cheekbones, the tear ducts, the nasal and palatine bones,
  • 68:02 - 68:08
    all showing signs of the collision
    of an immense force against the victimís face.
  • 68:08 - 68:12
    What he finds inexplicable is the total lack of eyeballs,
  • 68:12 - 68:18
    which ought to leave a trace somewhere
    within the skull even with such a violent impact.
  • 68:18 - 68:24
    Instead, we see Palestinian corpses
    coming into the hospitals without any eyes at all,
  • 68:24 - 68:30
    as if someone had removed them surgically
    before handing them over to the coroner.
  • 68:30 - 68:35
    Israel has let us know that weíve been generously
    granted a three-hour daily ceasefire,
  • 68:35 - 68:38
    from 1.00 to 4.00pm.
  • 68:38 - 68:42
    These statements from the Israeli military leadership
    are considered by the people of Gaza...
  • 68:42 - 68:50
    ...as having the same reliability as the Hamas leadersí declarations
    that theyíve just provoked a massacre of enemy soldiers.
  • 68:50 - 68:58
    Just to be clear on this point, Tel Avivís worst enemy
    is the very same that fights under the Star of David.
  • 68:58 - 69:02
    Yesterday, a warship off the coast of Gazaís port...
  • 69:02 - 69:06
    ...picked out a large group of alleged guerrilla fighters
    from the Palestinian Resistance,
  • 69:06 - 69:10
    moving as a united front around Jabalia.
  • 69:10 - 69:12
    They shot their cannons at them.
  • 69:12 - 69:18
    But as it turned out, they were their own fellow soldiers,
    with the shooting resulting in three being killed...
  • 69:18 - 69:22
    ...and about 20 injured.
  • 69:22 - 69:26
    No one here believes in the ceasefires that Israel calls,
  • 69:26 - 69:32
    and as it happens, today at 2.00pm
    Rafah was under attack by Israeli helicopters.
  • 69:32 - 69:36
    There was also yet
    another massacre of children in Jabalia:
  • 69:36 - 69:41
    three little sisters aged two, four and six...
  • 69:41 - 69:44
    ...from the Abed Rabbu family were slaughtered.
  • 69:44 - 69:51
    Just half-an-hour earlier in Jabalia, once again
    the Red Crescent Hospitalís ambulances were under attack.
  • 69:51 - 69:59
    Eva and Alberto, my ISM companions were on board
    that ambulance and managed to film everything,
  • 69:59 - 70:03
    passing those videos and photos
    on to all the major media.
  • 70:03 - 70:08
    Hassan was kneecapped,
    fresh from mourning the death of his friend Araf,
  • 70:08 - 70:14
    a paramedic who was killed two days ago
    as he was going in aid of the injured in Gaza City.
  • 70:14 - 70:18
    They had stopped to pick up the body of a man
    languishing in the middle of the road,
  • 70:18 - 70:23
    when they were showered
    by about 10 shots from an Israeli sniper.
  • 70:23 - 70:29
    One bullet hit Hassan in the knee
    and the ambulance was filled with holes.
  • 70:29 - 70:34
    Travelling towards Al-Quds Hospital,
  • 70:34 - 70:39
    I raced along on board
    one of the very few fearless taxi drivers left,
  • 70:39 - 70:42
    zigzagging to avoid the bombs,
  • 70:42 - 70:48
    and, on the corner of one street, I saw a group
    of dirty street urchins in tattered clothes,
  • 70:48 - 70:53
    looking exactly like the "sciusci‡" kids
    of the Italian post-war period.
  • 70:53 - 70:57
    They threw stones towards the sky with slingshots,
  • 70:57 - 71:01
    at a remote
    and unreachable enemy toying with their lives.
  • 71:01 - 71:10
    This is a crazy metaphor, which could serve
    as a snapshot of the absurdity of this place at the moment.
  • 71:10 - 71:37
    Stay human.
  • 71:37 - 71:39
    8th january 2009
  • 71:39 - 71:42
    I won't leave my country!
  • 71:42 - 71:47
    My toothpaste, toothbrush,
    razors and shaving foam.
  • 71:47 - 71:53
    The clothes I'm wearing, the cough medicine
    I'm using to get rid of a persistent cough,
  • 71:53 - 71:58
    the cigarettes I bought for Ahmed,
    and some tobacco for my arghile.
  • 71:58 - 72:08
    My cell phone, the laptop onto which I compulsively type
    eyewitness accounts from the hell surrounding me.
  • 72:08 - 72:14
    All that's needed for a modest,
    yet dignified, existence in Gaza comes from Egypt,
  • 72:14 - 72:21
    and arrives onto the shop
    shelves through the tunnels.
  • 72:21 - 72:30
    These are the very same tunnels that the Israeli F16s
    haven't stopped bombing heavily in the last 12 hours,
  • 72:30 - 72:36
    destroying thousands of Rafah houses
    near the border.
  • 72:36 - 72:41
    A few months ago
    I had three dodgy teeth fixed,
  • 72:41 - 72:49
    and at the end of the operation I asked my Palestinian dentist
    where he'd gotten all of his dental equipment from
  • 72:49 - 72:54
    the anaesthetic, the syringes, the ceramic inlays
    and all the other tools.
  • 72:54 - 72:59
    With a sly look on his face, he'd made
    a certain gesture with his hand: from underground.
  • 72:59 - 73:06
    There's no doubt that explosives and weapons
    were also smuggled through the tunnels underneath Rafah,
  • 73:06 - 73:15
    the very same that the resistance is using today to try
    and contain the terrifying advance of the Israeli tanks.
  • 73:15 - 73:22
    But it's next to nothing compared with the tonnes
    of consumer goods flowing into famished Gaza...
  • 73:22 - 73:26
    ...under this criminal siege.
  • 73:26 - 73:36
    It's easy enough to find photos on the web showing
    how even livestock comes in from Egypt through the tunnels.
  • 73:36 - 73:44
    Sedated, strapped-up goats and cows
    are lowered into an Egyptian well,
  • 73:44 - 73:50
    re-emerging on this side
    to provide milk, cheese and meat.
  • 73:50 - 73:55
    Even the main hospitals in the Strip
    stock up surreptitiously at the border.
  • 73:55 - 74:03
    The tunnels were the only means by which
    the Palestinians could survive the siege.
  • 74:03 - 74:10
    Long before the current bombing, this siege
    became the cause of a 60% unemployment rate,
  • 74:10 - 74:17
    forcing 80% of families
    to live off humanitarian handouts.
  • 74:17 - 74:23
    Our ISM colleagues in Rafah
    describe the umpteenth mass exodus they've witnessed:
  • 74:23 - 74:33
    caravans of desperate refugees leaving their homes
    for Egypt, on mule-drawn carts or hodgepodge vehicles.
  • 74:33 - 74:41
    A dÈj‡-vu scenario. In recent days, leaflets were raining down
    from the planes, intimidating the Palestinians into evacuating.
  • 74:41 - 74:48
    Since Israel always keeps her threatening promises,
    bombs are now pouring down from her planes.
  • 74:48 - 74:53
    Today's new homeless will spend the night
    with their relatives, friends or acquaintances in Gaza.
  • 74:53 - 75:00
    After yesterday's massacre in Jabalia, no one dares
    take shelter in the United Nations schools anymore.
  • 75:00 - 75:07
    But a considerable number haven't gone anywhere,
    as they have nowhere safe to go.
  • 75:07 - 75:11
    They shall be spending the night
    praying to God that they'll be spared,
  • 75:11 - 75:16
    since no one on earth seems to take
    any interest whatsoever in their existence.
  • 75:16 - 75:26
    The death toll at present is of 768 Palestinians,
    with 3,129 wounded, and 219 children dead.
  • 75:26 - 75:34
    The count of civilian victims on the Israeli side
    is thankfully still only four.
  • 75:34 - 75:39
    In Zeitoun, a neighbourhood East of Gaza City,
    the Red Cross ambulances...
  • 75:39 - 75:45
    ...could only rush to the scene of a massacre
    after several hours,
  • 75:45 - 75:49
    with permission from the Israeli military leadership.
  • 75:49 - 75:54
    When they finally got there,
    they picked up 17 corpses and 10 injured,
  • 75:54 - 75:58
    all belonging to the Al-Samouni family.
  • 75:58 - 76:00
    It was a perfect execution:
  • 76:00 - 76:04
    in the tiny bodies of the children
    it was possible to notice...
  • 76:04 - 76:10
    ...bullet holes rather
    than wounds caused by shrapnel.
  • 76:10 - 76:15
    The last two nights
    in the Gaza City hospitals were quieter than usual,
  • 76:15 - 76:19
    as we assisted a number of injured
    in the dozens rather than in the hundreds.
  • 76:19 - 76:23
    Obviously after the massacre at the Al-Fakhura school...
  • 76:23 - 76:28
    ...the Israeli Army
    surpassed the daily total of civilian casualties...
  • 76:28 - 76:34
    ...as an offering to its bloodthirsty government
    in view of the imminent elections.
  • 76:34 - 76:41
    We have a feeling though that the morgues
    will be filled to bursting point again tonight.
  • 76:41 - 76:48
    With our sirens screaming, we continue to rush
    pregnant women into hospital as they give birth prematurely.
  • 76:48 - 76:53
    It's as if nature
    and the conservation instinct...
  • 76:53 - 77:00
    ...were inducing these brave mothers
    to pre-empt the due-date of these newly-born...
  • 77:00 - 77:03
    ...making up for the growing number of the dead.
  • 77:03 - 77:07
    The first cries of the newborn,
    when they survive...
  • 77:07 - 77:12
    ...can, only for a moment,
    rise over the rumbling of the bombs.
  • 77:12 - 77:22
    Leila, a colleague at the ISM, asked our neighbours'children to write
    some of their impressions of the atrocious tragedy we're enduring.
  • 77:22 - 77:29
    Here are some extracts of their words,
    the horrors of war seen through the pure and innocent...
  • 77:29 - 77:32
    ...gaze of Gaza's children:
  • 77:32 - 77:34
    Suzanne, aged 15:
  • 77:34 - 77:39
    "Life in Gaza is very difficult.
    Actually we can't describe everything.
  • 77:39 - 77:43
    We can't sleep,
    we can't go to school and study.
  • 77:43 - 77:47
    We feel a lot of feelings,
    sometimes we feel afraid...
  • 77:47 - 77:52
    ...and worry because the planes and the ships,
    they hit [us] twenty-four hours [a day].
  • 77:52 - 78:01
    Sometimes we feel bored because there is no electricity
    during the day, and in the night, it comes for just four hours...
  • 78:01 - 78:05
    ...and when it comes
    we are watching the news on TV.
  • 78:05 - 78:11
    And we see kids and women who are injured and dead.
    So we live under siege and war."
  • 78:11 - 78:14
    Fatma, aged 13:
  • 78:14 - 78:17
    "It was the hardest week in our lives.
  • 78:17 - 78:21
    The first day we were to school,
    having the final exam of the first term...
  • 78:21 - 78:27
    ...then the explosions started,
    and many students were killed and injured...
  • 78:27 - 78:32
    ...and the others surely
    lost a relative or a neighbour.
  • 78:32 - 78:35
    There's no electricity, no food, no bread.
  • 78:35 - 78:38
    What can we do?
    It's the Israelis!
  • 78:38 - 78:45
    All the people in the world celebrated the New Year;
    we also celebrate but in a different way."
  • 78:45 - 78:49
    Sara, aged 11:
  • 78:49 - 78:56
    "Gaza is living under a siege, like a big jail:
    no water, no electricity.
  • 78:56 - 79:01
    People feel afraid, [they] don't sleep at night,
    and every day more people are killed.
  • 79:01 - 79:08
    Until now, more than 700 are killed
    and more than 3,000 injured.
  • 79:08 - 79:18
    And students had their final first-term exams,
    so Israel hit the Ministry of Education, and a lot of ministries.
  • 79:18 - 79:21
    Every day people are asking,
    "When will it end?",
  • 79:21 - 79:27
    and they are waiting for more ships
    with activists like Vittorio and Leila."
  • 79:27 - 79:30
    Darween, aged 8:
  • 79:30 - 79:35
    "I am a Palestinian kid:
    I won't leave my country...
  • 79:35 - 79:39
    ...so I will have lots of advantage,
    because I won't leave my country...
  • 79:39 - 79:45
    ...and I hear a sound of rockets,
    so I won't leave my country."
  • 79:45 - 79:47
    Meriam is four.
  • 79:47 - 79:51
    Her siblings asked her,
    "What do you feel when you hear the rockets?"
  • 79:51 - 79:54
    And she said,
    "I'm scared!",
  • 79:54 - 80:00
    before running to take cover
    behind her father's legs.
  • 80:00 - 80:04
    Sadly, Gaza has been shrouded
    in obscurity these last 10 days.
  • 80:04 - 80:08
    I can recharge my computer and phone
    only in the hospitals.
  • 80:08 - 80:15
    We watch TV with the doctors and paramedics
    while waiting for an urgent call.
  • 80:15 - 80:21
    We listen to the rumblings in the distance,
    and after a few minutes the Arab satellite networks...
  • 80:21 - 80:25
    ...report exactly
    where the explosions took place.
  • 80:25 - 80:36
    We often watch ourselves pull bodies out of the rubble,
    as if having seen it all in the flesh weren't enough already.
  • 80:36 - 80:40
    Last night I switched over to
    an Israeli channel with the remote.
  • 80:40 - 80:48
    They were showing a traditional music festival, complete
    with scantily-clad showgirls and firework displays at the end.
  • 80:48 - 80:53
    We went back to our horror,
    not on screen, but in the ambulances.
  • 80:53 - 81:01
    Israel has every right to laugh and sing
    even while they're massacring their neighbours.
  • 81:01 - 81:07
    Palestinians only ask to die
    a different kind of death,
  • 81:07 - 81:13
    say, of old age.
  • 81:13 - 81:45
    Stay Human
  • 81:45 - 81:50
    9th January 2009
  • 81:50 - 81:54
    Killing Hippocrates
  • 81:54 - 81:59
    In Gaza, a firing squad...
  • 81:59 - 82:06
    ...put Hippocrates up against a wall,
    aimed and fired.
  • 82:06 - 82:13
    The absurd declarations
    of an Israeli secret servicesí spokesman,
  • 82:13 - 82:19
    according to which the army
    was given the green light to fire at ambulances...
  • 82:19 - 82:27
    ...because they allegedly carried terrorists,
  • 82:27 - 82:33
    , is an illustration of the value
    that Israel assigns to human life these days
  • 82:33 - 82:38
    the lives of their enemies, that is.
  • 82:38 - 82:41
    Itís worth revisiting...
  • 82:41 - 82:45
    ...whatís stated in the Hippocratic Oath,
  • 82:45 - 82:48
    which every doctor swears...
  • 82:48 - 82:51
    ...before practising their profession.
  • 82:51 - 82:58
    The following passages
    are especially worthy of note:
  • 82:58 - 83:09
    "I solemnly pledge myself
    to consecrate my life to the service of humanity.
  • 83:09 - 83:18
    I will practise my profession
    with conscience and dignity.
  • 83:18 - 83:31
    I will cure all patients
    with the same diligence and commitment.
  • 83:31 - 83:38
    I will not permit considerations of religion,
    nationality, race,
  • 83:38 - 83:44
    party politics, or social standing to intervene
    between my duty and my patient.í
  • 83:44 - 83:52
    Nine doctors and voluntary nurses
    have been killed since the start of the bombing campaign,
  • 83:52 - 83:58
    and about 10 ambulances
    were shot at by the Israeli artillery.
  • 83:58 - 84:01
    The survivors are quaking with fear,
  • 84:01 - 84:04
    but refuse to take a step back.
  • 84:04 - 84:07
    The crimson flashes of the ambulances...
  • 84:07 - 84:14
    ...are the only bursts of light
    in the dark streets of Gaza,
  • 84:14 - 84:19
    bar the flashes that precede an explosion.
  • 84:19 - 84:25
    Regarding these crimes, the last report comes
    from Pierre Wettach, Head of the Red Cross in Gaza.
  • 84:25 - 84:34
    His ambulances had access to the spot of a massacre,
    in Zeitoun (east of Gaza City)...
  • 84:34 - 84:38
    ...only 24 hours after an Israeli attack.
  • 84:38 - 84:40
    The rescue workers state...
  • 84:40 - 84:45
    ...that they found themselves
    facing a blood-curdling scenario.
  • 84:45 - 84:53
    "In one of the houses four small children
    were found near the body of their dead mother.
  • 84:53 - 84:58
    They were too weak to stand on their feet.
  • 84:58 - 85:07
    We also found a grown man,
    also too weak to stand upright.
  • 85:07 - 85:13
    About 20 corpses were found
    lying on the mattresses."
  • 85:13 - 85:21
    The witnesses to this umpteenth massacre
    describe how the Israeli soldiers,
  • 85:21 - 85:24
    after arriving in the neighbourhood,
  • 85:24 - 85:31
    gathered the numerous members
    of the Al-Samouni family into one building...
  • 85:31 - 85:38
    ...and then proceeded to bomb it repeatedly.
  • 85:38 - 85:45
    My ISM companions and I have been driving around
    in the Red Crescent ambulances for days,
  • 85:45 - 85:48
    suffering many attacks.
  • 85:48 - 85:56
    Our duty on the ambulances is to rescue the injured,
    not to carry guerrilla fighters.
  • 85:56 - 86:02
    When we find someone lying in the street
    in a pool of their own blood,
  • 86:02 - 86:09
    we donít have the time to check their papers
    or ask them whether they support Hamas or Fatah.
  • 86:09 - 86:16
    Most of the seriously injured canít talk,
    much like the dead.
  • 86:16 - 86:19
    A few days ago,
  • 86:19 - 86:23
    while picking up a badly-wounded patient,
  • 86:23 - 86:32
    another man with light injuries
    tried to hop onto the ambulance.
  • 86:32 - 86:35
    We pushed him out,
  • 86:35 - 86:39
    just to make it clear
    to whoeverís watching from up above...
  • 86:39 - 86:45
    ...that we donít serve as a taxi
    to carry members of the resistance around.
  • 86:45 - 86:53
    At Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City,
    seventeen-year-old Miriam was carried in,
  • 86:53 - 86:55
    in full-blown labour.
  • 86:55 - 87:05
    Her father and sister-in-law, both dead,
    had passed through the hospital in the morning,
  • 87:05 - 87:12
    both victims of the indiscriminate bombing.
  • 87:12 - 87:16
    Miriam gave birth to a gorgeous baby during the night,
  • 87:16 - 87:18
    not aware of the fact...
  • 87:18 - 87:22
    ...that while she lay in the delivery room,
  • 87:22 - 87:30
    her young husband
    had arrived in the morgue one floor below her.
  • 87:30 - 87:32
    In the end,
  • 87:32 - 87:36
    even the United Nations
    has started to see that...
  • 87:36 - 87:40
    ...weíre all in the same boat here in Gaza.
  • 87:40 - 87:44
    Weíre all walking targets for the snipers.
  • 87:44 - 87:50
    The death toll is now at 789 dead,
  • 87:50 - 87:53
    3,300 wounded
  • 87:53 - 87:58
    with 410 in critical condition,
  • 87:58 - 88:03
    230 children killed and countless missing.
  • 88:03 - 88:07
    The death toll on the Israeli side...
  • 88:07 - 88:12
    ...has thankfully remained at four.
  • 88:12 - 88:19
    John Ging, Director of UNRWAís (United Nations Relief
    and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees)...
  • 88:19 - 88:23
    ...Field Operations in Gaza,
    has related the UN announcement that theyíll suspend...
  • 88:23 - 88:28
    ...their humanitarian activities in the Gaza Strip.
  • 88:28 - 88:33
    I bumped into Ging
    at the Ramattan press office...
  • 88:33 - 88:41
    ...and saw him wagging his finger
    with disdain at Israel before the cameras.
  • 88:41 - 88:48
    The UN stopped its work in Gaza after
    two of its operators were killed yesterday,
  • 88:48 - 88:58
    ironically during the three-hour ceasefire that Israel
    had announced and, as usual, had failed to stick to.
  • 88:58 - 89:08
    "The civilians in Gaza have three hours a day
    at their disposal in which to survive,
  • 89:08 - 89:12
    the Israeli soldiers have the remaining 21...
  • 89:12 - 89:16
    ...in which to try and exterminate them",
  • 89:16 - 89:22
    I heard Ging state, two steps away from me.
  • 89:22 - 89:29
    Yasmine, the wife of one of the many journalists
    waiting in line at the Erez Pass, wrote to me from Jerusalem.
  • 89:29 - 89:41
    Israel wonít grant these journalists a pass to let them in
    and film or describe the immense unnatural catastrophe
  • 89:41 - 89:43
    She said:
  • 89:43 - 89:47
    "The day before yesterday
    I went to have a look at Gaza from the outside.
  • 89:47 - 89:53
    The worldís journalists
    are all huddled on a small sandy hill...
  • 89:53 - 89:57
    ...a few kilometres from the border.
  • 89:57 - 90:01
    Innumerable cameras are pointed towards us.
  • 90:01 - 90:05
    Planes circle overhead,
    you can hear them but you canít see them.
  • 90:05 - 90:09
    Theyíre like hallucinations,
  • 90:09 - 90:14
    like something in your head until you see the black smoke
    rising from the horizon, in Gaza.
  • 90:14 - 90:21
    The hill has also become
    a tourist site for Israelis in the area.
  • 90:21 - 90:27
    With their large binoculars and cameras,
  • 90:27 - 90:32
    they come and watch the bombings live."
  • 90:32 - 90:39
    While I write this piece of correspondence in a mad rush,
  • 90:39 - 90:44
    a bomb has been dropped on to the building
    next to the one Iím in right now.
  • 90:44 - 90:47
    The windowpanes shake,
    my ears ache
  • 90:47 - 90:56
    I look out the window and see that the building holding
    the major Arabic media agencies has been struck.
  • 90:56 - 91:00
    Itís one of Gaza Cityís tallest buildings,
  • 91:00 - 91:03
    the Al-Jawhara building.
  • 91:03 - 91:07
    A camera crew is permanently stationed on the roof,
  • 91:07 - 91:09
    and I can now see them all waving their arms...
  • 91:09 - 91:15
    ...and asking for help
    as theyíre covered by a black cloud of smoke.
  • 91:15 - 91:22
    Paramedics and journalists,
    the most heroic occupations in this corner of the world.
  • 91:22 - 91:26
    Yesterday
    I paid Tamim a visit at the Al-Shifa Hospital,
  • 91:26 - 91:31
    heís a journalist whoís survived an air raid.
  • 91:31 - 91:36
    He explained how
    he thinks that Israel is adopting the same,
  • 91:36 - 91:39
    identical terrorist techniques as Al-Qaeda:
  • 91:39 - 91:42
    bombing a building,
  • 91:42 - 91:45
    waiting for the journalists
    and ambulances to rush in,
  • 91:45 - 91:48
    then dropping another bomb...
  • 91:48 - 91:51
    ...to finish the latter off as well.
  • 91:51 - 91:54
    In his view thatís why...
  • 91:54 - 91:59
    ...thereíve been so many casualties
    among the journalists and paramedics.
  • 91:59 - 92:03
    As he said this, the nurses around his bed
    all nodded in agreement.
  • 92:03 - 92:09
    Smilingly, Tamim showed me his two stubs for legs.
  • 92:09 - 92:15
    He was happy
    he was still around to tell the story,
  • 92:15 - 92:18
    while his colleague, Mohammed,
  • 92:18 - 92:24
    had died with a camera
    in his hand when the second explosion had proved fatal.
  • 92:24 - 92:30
    In the meantime I asked about the bomb
    that had just been dropped on the building next door,
  • 92:30 - 92:35
    where two journalists, both Palestinian,
  • 92:35 - 92:41
    one from Libyan TV and the other from Dubai Television,
    have been injured.
  • 92:41 - 92:52
    This is a harsh new reminder that
    this massacre must in no way be described or recorded.
  • 92:52 - 92:55
    All thatís left for me to hope...
  • 92:55 - 93:00
    ...is that among the Israel's military leaders,
  • 93:00 - 93:03
    no one reads Il Manifesto,
  • 93:03 - 93:09
    or habitually visits my blog.
  • 93:09 - 93:30
    Stay human.
  • 93:30 - 93:36
    10th January 2009
  • 93:36 - 93:40
    Total Destruction: Work in Progress
  • 93:40 - 93:49
    Some Palestinian families have handed us some leaflets
    that had fallen from the sky in the last few days,
  • 93:49 - 93:56
    courtesy of the Israeli Air Force,
    in lieu of the customary bombs.
  • 93:56 - 94:01
    The first leaflet,
    translated from the Arabic, reads:
  • 94:01 - 94:05
    To all the people living in this area.
  • 94:05 - 94:14
    Due to the terrorist acts
    with which the terrorists from your area are attacking Israel,
  • 94:14 - 94:22
    the Israeli Army Forces
    were forced to take immediate action in your area.
  • 94:22 - 94:29
    We thus urge you, for your own safety,
    to immediately evacuate the area.
  • 94:29 - 94:32
    The Israeli Army.
  • 94:32 - 94:41
    In short, the Israelis
    are sticking a "work in progress" at every door,
  • 94:41 - 94:46
    before razing whole neighbourhoods to their foundations,
  • 94:46 - 94:52
    and forever dashing hopes of a life
    in the present or in the future.
  • 94:52 - 95:01
    Apparently, those who havenít got anywhere
    to flee to are consigned to be buried under tonnes of rubble.
  • 95:01 - 95:08
    A little while ago they had warned us
    they intended to throw more leaflets,
  • 95:08 - 95:13
    threatening us
    with a "third phase of war of terror [that] is about to start".
  • 95:13 - 95:18
    Israeli military commanders are indeed polite,
  • 95:18 - 95:24
    they ask the population of Gaza to cooperate
    before crushing them like insects.
  • 95:24 - 95:27
    If the leaflets arenít persuasive enough,
  • 95:27 - 95:34
    itís up to the Air Force
    to knock gently on the roofs of Gazaís houses.
  • 95:34 - 95:43
    Itís a brand new tactic,
    slightly less powerful bombs are dropped,
  • 95:43 - 95:54
    though powerful enough to tear the roofs clear off the houses,
    "gently" persuading their occupiers to evacuate them.
  • 95:54 - 96:05
    After two or three minutes the planes drift past again,
    and nothing remains of the buildings.
  • 96:05 - 96:09
    Where should the evacuees go?
  • 96:09 - 96:13
    There are no safe shelters in the whole of the Strip,
  • 96:13 - 96:20
    and personally I fear for my own life more
    when walking past a mosque or a school,
  • 96:20 - 96:29
    than when standing in front of any of the government buildings,
    which are still standing intact.
  • 96:29 - 96:32
    Last night, 20 metres from my home,
  • 96:32 - 96:36
    Israeli jet fighters tore down the fire station.
  • 96:36 - 96:45
    This morning, on the street running parallel to the port,
    I discovered some craters several metres deep,
  • 96:45 - 96:56
    as if meteors had rained down from the sky,
    as are often featured in sci-fi movies.
  • 96:56 - 97:03
    The difference here
    is that the special effects are pretty damn painful.
  • 97:03 - 97:08
    Visiting the wards of Al-Shifa Hospital,
    crowded with injured patients awaiting treatment,
  • 97:08 - 97:12
    you can bump into a doctor who doesnít look very Arab.
  • 97:12 - 97:18
    Mads Gilbert is a Norwegian doctor
    from the NGO Norwac.
  • 97:18 - 97:27
    Gilbert, an anaesthetist, confirms our suspicion regarding
    the use of forbidden weapons by Israel on Gazaís civilians:
  • 97:27 - 97:35
    "Many injured arrive with extreme amputations,
    with both their legs reduced to a pulp,
  • 97:35 - 97:40
    which I suspect is an effect of Dime weapons."
  • 97:40 - 97:44
    (The Dime bomb
    is an innovative explosive...
  • 97:44 - 97:57
    ...made to strike specific targets
    and cause as much damage as possible.)
  • 97:57 - 98:05
    This is happening while Navi Pillay,
    UN High Commissioner for Human Rights,
  • 98:05 - 98:14
    reports that "extremely serious violations
    possibly constituting war crimes" are taking place.
  • 98:14 - 98:21
    The last instance of one such crime happened
    a few hours ago, east of Jabalia,
  • 98:21 - 98:27
    where a family,
    at the point of evacuating their house,
  • 98:27 - 98:30
    was stocking up
    on some food supplies at a small shop.
  • 98:30 - 98:36
    When it was promptly bombed, eight were killed,
    and all members of the Abed Rabbu family,
  • 98:36 - 98:39
    in addition to two others, were left severely injured.
  • 98:39 - 98:46
    People I speak to in the street
    are under the impression that Israel is biding its time,
  • 98:46 - 98:52
    even while the bombs are being dropped non-stop
    and the land artillery is slowly advancing.
  • 98:52 - 99:01
    The soldiers have no problems in stocking up with "K-rations",
    the individual military food rations,
  • 99:01 - 99:07
    unlike many people in Gaza
    who can no longer get any bread.
  • 99:07 - 99:20
    The bakers, having run out of flour, have resorted to mixing it
    with animal flour with which to make buns.
  • 99:20 - 99:26
    Itís week-old bread, green with mould.
  • 99:26 - 99:30
    You cook it over a small fire lit
    with a couple of pieces of wood...
  • 99:30 - 99:38
    ...and I can assure you that,
    even then, itís not exactly a delicacy.
  • 99:38 - 99:50
    All over the net, Israel is uploading
    dozens of films featuring birdís eye-view images,
  • 99:50 - 99:55
    allegedly showing how precise its bombings...
  • 99:55 - 100:02
    ...against the "terrorists" are, or against hypothetical enemy
    warehouses stocking weapons and explosives.
  • 100:02 - 100:07
    The dizzying count of civilian casualties
    is enough to discredit these videos.
  • 100:07 - 100:17
    I wonder how Israel
    can call itself civilized and democratic,
  • 100:17 - 100:20
    when its army, in trying to drive out and kill an enemy,
  • 100:20 - 100:30
    wonít hesitate to knock down an entire, crowded building,
    burying dozens of innocent victims alive in the process.
  • 100:30 - 100:37
    Itís as if the Italian army
    hunting down a dangerous mafia criminal...
  • 100:37 - 100:43
    ...started heavily bombing the centre of Palermo.
  • 100:43 - 100:54
    As sit here I writing this, there are 821 Palestinians dead,
  • 100:54 - 101:03
    93 being women,
    and 235 children.
  • 101:03 - 101:16
    Twelve paramedics were killed while fulfilling their duty
    and three journalists died with cameras hanging round their necks.
  • 101:16 - 101:22
    A good 3,350 are among the injured,
  • 101:22 - 101:25
    with more than half being under 18 years of age.
  • 101:25 - 101:32
    According to the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights
    based in Jabalia, renowned for its reliability,
  • 101:32 - 101:41
    they make up 85% of the Palestinian civilian casualties
    massacred in the last two weeks.
  • 101:41 - 101:48
    The death toll on the Israeli side
    has thankfully remained at four.
  • 101:48 - 101:53
    If the United Nations
    cannot protect the Palestinian civilian population...
  • 101:53 - 101:58
    ...from the massive Israeli violations
    of their own international humanitarian obligations,
  • 101:58 - 102:10
    my friends from the Free Gaza Movement will give it a shot,
    ready as they are to sail to Gaza in a few days.
  • 102:10 - 102:15
    Among them are doctors,
    nurses and human rights activists,
  • 102:15 - 102:25
    who consider it their personal moral duty to do whatever
    is humanly possible to provide some measure of protection.
  • 102:25 - 102:33
    They had already tried to get here
    on the 31st December, on board the Dignity.
  • 102:33 - 102:38
    But the Israeli Navy had rammed our boat
    in international waters,
  • 102:38 - 102:47
    trying to sink it,
    and had subsequently spoken of "an accident".
  • 102:47 - 102:54
    I will wait for my friends with their load of humanitarian aid
    among the ruins of whatís left of the port.
  • 102:54 - 103:02
    Hereís to hoping that no more "accidents"
    will occur off the coast this time.
  • 103:02 - 103:12
    The second leaflet dropped from planes
    that weíve translated is a scream:
  • 103:12 - 103:18
    Citizens of Gaza,
    take responsibility for your destiny!
  • 103:18 - 103:24
    In Gaza the terrorists and those who launch rockets against Israel
    represent a threat to your lives...
  • 103:24 - 103:27
    ...and to those of your families.
  • 103:27 - 103:32
    If you wish to help your families
    and brothers in Gaza,
  • 103:32 - 103:39
    all youíll have to do is call the number below
    and give us information...
  • 103:39 - 103:43
    ...on the whereabouts
    of those responsible for launching rockets.
  • 103:43 - 103:48
    The terrorist militia has turned you
    into the first victims of their actions.
  • 103:48 - 103:55
    Avoiding more atrocities being committed
    is now your responsibility!
  • 103:55 - 104:00
    Donít hesitate! Complete discretion is guaranteed.
  • 104:00 - 104:03
    You can contact us at the following number...
  • 104:03 - 104:07
    Otherwise write to us at the following email,
  • 104:07 - 104:15
    giving us any information
    you may have on terrorist activities.
  • 104:15 - 104:27
    Many write to me from Italy, filled with frustration at not being
    able to do anything against the genocide currently taking place.
  • 104:27 - 104:34
    I would urge you to continue showing your indignation
    and supporting human rights.
  • 104:34 - 104:39
    If you then have five minutes to spare
    and a phone card,
  • 104:39 - 104:48
    the details contained in the last leaflet
    could come in useful in communicating your disdain...
  • 104:48 - 104:59
    ...to those who cynically gamble
    with the lives of a million-and-a-half people via air, sea and land.
  • 104:59 - 105:05
    Never would a phone card have been better spent.
  • 105:05 - 105:15
    Those 235 massacred children are asking for it.
  • 105:15 - 105:47
    Stay human.
  • 105:47 - 105:51
    13th January 2009
  • 105:51 - 105:54
    Vultures and Bounty Hunters
  • 105:54 - 105:59
    We still try to create routes of salvation via the sea,
  • 105:59 - 106:06
    to make a breakthrough into this tormented land,
    now confiscated and imprisoned,
  • 106:06 - 106:14
    every inch of it raped and reduced to a cemetery
    for corpses that are being denied a peaceful repose.
  • 106:14 - 106:16
    For a few days now,
  • 106:16 - 106:20
    even funerals have become the targets
    of the Israeli Air Force,
  • 106:20 - 106:27
    as if murdered Palestinians
    deserve additional punishment in death as well.
  • 106:27 - 106:32
    If a humanitarian passage
    is struggling to make its way...
  • 106:32 - 106:36
    ...and come in aid of a people at the end of their tether,
  • 106:36 - 106:38
    the Spirit of Humanity,
  • 106:38 - 106:44
    one of our Free Gaza Movement boats,
    will try to be there for them.
  • 106:44 - 106:47
    It sailed from Larnaca, Cyprus, today
  • 106:47 - 106:51
    and will bring tonnes of medicine to Gazaís port,
  • 106:51 - 106:57
    in addition to about 40 doctors, nurses, journalists,
  • 106:57 - 107:05
    European parliamentarians, and human rights activists
    representing 17 different nations in all.
  • 107:05 - 107:08
    Human beings, like myself,
  • 107:08 - 107:10
    like many who vent their indignation,
  • 107:10 - 107:13
    are ready to risk their lives...
  • 107:13 - 107:16
    ...rather than lounge passively in their living rooms,
  • 107:16 - 107:18
    watching news bulletins...
  • 107:18 - 107:27
    ...that reveal only a tiny fraction
    of what the massacre being inflicted upon us is doing here.
  • 107:27 - 107:30
    On the 29th December,
  • 107:30 - 107:35
    my friends gave it a shot with Dignity:
  • 107:35 - 107:39
    but they were attacked by the Israeli Navy.
    It tried to sink them.
  • 107:39 - 107:44
    They had to send out an SOS and fled to Lebanon...
  • 107:44 - 107:48
    ...with engine failure and a leak in their hull.
  • 107:48 - 107:53
    On that occasion it was only by pure chance
    that no one was badly hurt,
  • 107:53 - 107:54
    so we hope...
  • 107:54 - 108:01
    ...human rights as well as the lives of the activists
    will be spared tomorrow.
  • 108:01 - 108:06
    There are terrifying catastrophes in this world,
    such as earthquakes and hurricanes,
  • 108:06 - 108:09
    inevitable natural phenomena.
  • 108:09 - 108:15
    But Gaza endures
    an unnatural humanitarian catastrophe...
  • 108:15 - 108:18
    ...being perpetuated by Israel,
  • 108:18 - 108:23
    damaging a people long reduced
    to abject poverty and submission.
  • 108:23 - 108:29
    Gazans are a desperate people
    without bread or milk to feed their children.
  • 108:29 - 108:33
    They no longer shed any tears when mourning,
  • 108:33 - 108:37
    as their eyes are also on a strictly imposed diet.
  • 108:37 - 108:40
    The entire world cannot ignore this tragedy and,
  • 108:40 - 108:45
    if they continue to do so,
    we donít want any part of it.
  • 108:45 - 108:50
    Every day we invoke someone above us
    to stop the genocide,
  • 108:50 - 108:52
    but for tomorrow...
  • 108:52 - 108:56
    ...all we ask is for our small boat to land in Gaza...
  • 108:56 - 109:00
    ...with its cargo of compassion and empathy.
  • 109:00 - 109:05
    May the Palestinians also
    receive the same rights that Israelis,
  • 109:05 - 109:10
    or any other people on earth enjoy.
  • 109:10 - 109:13
    The sea can be an anchor of hope,
  • 109:13 - 109:16
    or a scenario of destruction.
  • 109:16 - 109:22
    According to the Maían Press Agency, with Reuters
    echoing their statement,
  • 109:22 - 109:28
    the United States are about to ship
    300 tonnes of weapons to Israel...
  • 109:28 - 109:31
    ...via cargo ships sailing from Greece.
  • 109:31 - 109:36
    Weapons and enormous amounts
    of explosives and fuses,
  • 109:36 - 109:38
    and all thatís needed...
  • 109:38 - 109:43
    ...to raze thousands of houses to their foundations.
  • 109:43 - 109:50
    There are 120,000 homeless displaced
    from Gaza to Jabalia already.
  • 109:50 - 109:53
    But most, including many of my friends,
  • 109:53 - 109:56
    havenít budged and have nowhere to flee.
  • 109:56 - 110:00
    Journalists, doctors and gravediggers:
  • 110:00 - 110:08
    for 16 days non-stop now
    these have been the busiest professionals in Gaza.
  • 110:08 - 110:17
    The circling vultures in follow in the wake
    of the bomber planes stir up more hatred among the Palestinians,
  • 110:17 - 110:24
    especially towards those
    seated where the late lamented Yasser Arafat...
  • 110:24 - 110:33
    ...(1929-2004), the former Chairman
    of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, used to sit.
  • 110:33 - 110:41
    They now itch to come
    and take over the throne towering over Gazaís ashes.
  • 110:41 - 110:45
    The death toll is now at 923,
  • 110:45 - 110:48
    with 4,150 wounded,
  • 110:48 - 110:55
    including 255 horrendously butchered
    Palestinian children.
  • 110:55 - 111:01
    The number of dead on the Israeli side
    has thankfully stayed at four.
  • 111:01 - 111:10
    Rumour has it that Ehud Olmert,
    the Israeli Prime Minister, had told his side...
  • 111:10 - 111:21
    ...that hitting a death toll of 1,000 civilians marked the limit
    after which this brutal attack and infanticide would be halted.
  • 111:21 - 111:27
    Itís a bit like what happens
    at the Vucciria markets in Palermo,
  • 111:27 - 111:32
    where quarters of beef
    are hung up to drip blood out in the open,
  • 111:32 - 111:37
    and you haggle for the meat,
    so much per kilo.
  • 111:37 - 111:49
    Few Palestinians now miss tuning in for Ismail Haniyehís
    appearances on the small screen here in the Gaza Strip.
  • 111:49 - 111:56
    You canít speak of a ceasefire
    without simultaneously establishing an end to the siege.
  • 111:56 - 112:03
    Continuing to keep Gaza under siege
    now that itís been reduced to a heap of rubble,
  • 112:03 - 112:06
    not allowing provisions and medicine to come through,
  • 112:06 - 112:09
    preventing the sick and injured from getting out,
  • 112:09 - 112:14
    is equivalent to condemning them
    to more prolonged agony.
  • 112:14 - 112:20
    These in brief were the words spoken by Hamasís leader,
  • 112:20 - 112:30
    spoken from an underground bunker from God knows where.
    These words find an echo in Gazan public opinion.
  • 112:30 - 112:36
    This was the speech of a leader
    who could have fled and taken refuge elsewhere.
  • 112:36 - 112:44
    To the contrary, he decided to risk a bomb
    being dropped on his head like everyone else.
  • 112:44 - 112:48
    I was just interrupted, while typing this piece,
  • 112:48 - 112:52
    by the usual intimidating phone call...
  • 112:52 - 112:56
    ...ordering us to evacuate the building
    before a bombing.
  • 112:56 - 113:03
    Iím currently in the building
    where the main international media agencies operate,
  • 113:03 - 113:10
    these being, among others,
    Al-Jazeera, Ramattan and Reuters.
  • 113:10 - 113:17
    We were forced to unplug our PCs,
    rush downstairs and crowd the street,
  • 113:17 - 113:21
    where we kept our eyes glued to the sky,
    trying to pick out...
  • 113:21 - 113:26
    ...where the destructive thunder
    would strike from this time.
  • 113:26 - 113:33
    There wonít be any cameras or reporters
    around to document the civilian massacre tonight,
  • 113:33 - 113:40
    as we suspect that Gazaís innocent casualties
    will be more numerous than usual.
  • 113:40 - 113:46
    Still standing in the street,
    I stared at Alberto, winking at him.
  • 113:46 - 113:50
    He came up closer and, whispering,
  • 113:50 - 113:58
    I asked him whether he thought it plausible that the threatening
    phone call had been made especially for the two of us,
  • 113:58 - 114:01
    after the discovery of the American website...
  • 114:01 - 114:05
    ...singling us out as targets:
  • 114:05 - 114:10
    ALERT THE IDF MILITARY TO TARGET ISM
  • 114:10 - 114:17
    Number to call if you can pinpoint the locations of Hamas
    with their ISM members.
  • 114:17 - 114:20
    From the US call,
  • 114:20 - 114:28
    ...011-972-2-5839749.
  • 114:28 - 114:31
    From other countries drop the 011.
  • 114:31 - 114:35
    Help us neutralize the ISM,
  • 114:35 - 114:40
    now definitely a part of Hamas
    since the war has begun.
  • 114:40 - 114:46
    #1 ISM TARGET FOR THE ISRAELI AIR FORCE
    AND IDF GROUND TROOPS:
  • 114:46 - 114:54
    VITTORIO ARRIGONI (PICTURED BELOW)
    IS CURRENTLY IN GAZA ASSISTING HAMAS
  • 114:54 - 114:59
    This is copied from "stoptheism.com".
  • 114:59 - 115:02
    Don't bother to visit this website...
  • 115:02 - 115:06
    ...or provide a link to it from your own websites.
  • 115:06 - 115:13
    Itís a sociological case
    to be passed on to future generations for study.
  • 115:13 - 115:16
    On closer analysis of the present,
  • 115:16 - 115:21
    the future will pronounce its sentence without appeal:
  • 115:21 - 115:26
    of how hatred was the purest of all feelings.
  • 115:26 - 115:32
    Spite against anything
    thatís different could fuel whole armies,
  • 115:32 - 115:37
    becoming the feeling
    that brings masses of people together.
  • 115:37 - 115:41
    Thereís no need for my enemies...
  • 115:41 - 115:46
    ...and those who wish for my martyrdom
    to dial that number.
  • 115:46 - 115:50
    The Israeli Army
    knows exactly where to find me tonight,
  • 115:50 - 115:55
    on the Al-Quds Hospital ambulances in Gaza City.
  • 115:55 - 115:57
    Stay human.
  • 115:57 - 116:39
    Stay human.
  • 116:39 - 116:42
    14th January 2009
  • 116:42 - 116:48
    The children of a lesser God.They continue to atone
    for the spite passed on from one generation to the next,
  • 116:48 - 116:51
    through no fault of their own.
  • 116:51 - 116:57
    The soldiers bearing the Star of David are perfectly at ease
    in their roles as so many contemporary Herods,
  • 116:57 - 117:02
    with 253 massacred Palestinian children so far.
  • 117:02 - 117:04
    An endless horror,
  • 117:04 - 117:07
    for which no soldier, no Israeli army officer,
  • 117:07 - 117:15
    nor the Israeli government
    will ever be put in front of its responsabilities of war criminal.
  • 117:15 - 117:18
    If these innocent victims are spared for a few hours,
  • 117:18 - 117:21
    it might not necessarily be so for the buildings
    and courtyards providing a backdrop for their games,
  • 117:21 - 117:24
    dreams and ambitions, their fantasies of growing up.
  • 117:24 - 117:29
    The places filling the void left by
    their deceased fathers and mothers,
  • 117:29 - 117:33
    that is, orphanages, have become a favourite nesting place
    for a species of Israeli mechanical bird.
  • 117:33 - 117:37
    Itís there that the fighter
    planes go and lay their bombs.
  • 117:37 - 117:41
    My fellow ISM volunteers in Rafah
    have written to me, saying:
  • 117:41 - 117:45
    On Sunday, 11th January, at about 3.00am,
  • 117:45 - 117:51
    the F16s bombed the orphanage
    of the Dar al-Fadila Association,
  • 117:51 - 117:55
    which included a school, a college,
    a computer centre...
  • 117:55 - 118:02
    ...a mosque in Taha Hussein Street,
    in the Kherbat al-Adas neighbourhood, north-east of Rafah.
  • 118:02 - 118:08
    Parts of the buildings were severely damaged.
  • 118:08 - 118:13
    The school assisted 500 orphaned children.
  • 118:13 - 118:19
    This very personal Israeli jihad
    against Islamís sacred places along the Strip...
  • 118:19 - 118:23
    ...is still under way as well, with blessings from the international
    communityís lack of anything resembling a protest.
  • 118:23 - 118:25
    Including the Kherbat al-Adas Mosque,
  • 118:25 - 118:29
    20 Muslim places of worship
    have been razed to the ground up till now.
  • 118:29 - 118:34
    Thankfully, no Qassam "rocket"
    has as yet even brushed the walls of a synagogue.
  • 118:34 - 118:41
    Otherwise, weíre certain that weíd have heard rightful
    cries of disdain from every corner of the world.
  • 118:41 - 118:46
    God must be paying a tax
    for receiving prayers from the Palestinians.
  • 118:46 - 118:51
    Out of almost 950 victims, 85% are civilians.
  • 118:51 - 118:58
    The infernal Israeli death machine is slowly advancing,
    taking over the whole of Gaza,
  • 118:58 - 119:02
    knocking down houses, schools, universities, hospitals,
  • 119:02 - 119:08
    without any tangible sign from the international community
    of a will to boycott these actions.
  • 119:08 - 119:11
    Itís now our turn,
  • 119:11 - 119:13
    as ordinary citizens without citizenship,
  • 119:13 - 119:18
    if not without the feeling of belonging
    to the one and only community of people,
  • 119:18 - 119:19
    the Human family.
  • 119:19 - 119:25
    it's time we put a spoke in this this hellish contraption.
  • 119:25 - 119:30
    I recently met Doctor Haidar Eid,
    a Professor at Al-Quds University in Gaza City.
  • 119:30 - 119:36
    A leftist intellectual type, tough as nails
    and simultaneously good-humoured, passionate and generous,
  • 119:36 - 119:38
    the likes of which is completely extinct in Italy today.
  • 119:38 - 119:41
    And if they're still to be found their type is likely to be
    imprisoned in some basement, removed from the collective memory.
  • 119:41 - 119:44
    Itís impossible to adapt their type to the bipartisan...
  • 119:44 - 119:48
    ...trend whereby post-fascists and post-socialists
    walk arm in arm,
  • 119:48 - 119:54
    reciting in unison their refrain
    to defend every single massacre Israel carries out.
  • 119:54 - 119:57
    Haidar also happens to be a spokesman for PACBI
  • 119:57 - 120:01
    (The Palestinian Campaign
    for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel),
  • 120:01 - 120:06
    and BNC (The Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions
    Campaign National Committee),
  • 120:06 - 120:10
    and with him
    i discussed about the boycott.
  • 120:10 - 120:13
    History is a teacher, but it has no students.
  • 120:13 - 120:17
    Nelson Mandela or Mahatma Gandhi
    are at the moment unable to hold remedial lessons.
  • 120:17 - 120:24
    Thankfully, the history lesson offered by South Africaís example
    can show us the way towards forcing a racist and colonialist Israel...
  • 120:24 - 120:26
    ...towards compromise.
  • 120:26 - 120:31
    Refraining from boycotting the regime of apartheid back
    then was a little like being an accomplice to it.
  • 120:31 - 120:33
    What has possibly changed today?
  • 120:33 - 120:40
    Like myself, the vast majority of Palestinians donít think
    the answer to the Israeli occupation and the ongoing massacre...
  • 120:40 - 120:44
    ...is suicide bombings,
    ëkamikazesí and ërocketsí against Sderot.
  • 120:44 - 120:47
    Boycotting is peaceful and non-violent,
  • 120:47 - 120:54
    the most humanly acceptable answer to a conflict so depraved
    it has turned every gesture into something inhuman.
  • 120:54 - 120:57
    Itís the best weapon in our arsenal of non-violence,
  • 120:57 - 121:01
    as Naomi Klein reminds us in the London Guardian.
  • 121:01 - 121:06
    Haidar even manages to look on the bright side
    despite the bloody pit weíre sinking into.
  • 121:06 - 121:12
    Just as the world felt the time had come to say "Enough!"
    after the Sharpeville massacre of 21st March 1960...
  • 121:12 - 121:21
    ...when 78 black citizens were torn to pieces
    by the will of a barbaric regime in South Africa,
  • 121:21 - 121:28
    the incomparable massacre of 1,000 Palestinian civilians
    could breathe life into an equally strong activist campaign...
  • 121:28 - 121:30
    ...to punish Israeli crimes.
  • 121:30 - 121:35
    Haidar also supports the idea of Israel and Palestine as a sole,
  • 121:35 - 121:38
    secular, democratic, and inter-religious state:
  • 121:38 - 121:44
    he sees no other pragmatic way out of the conflict.
  • 121:44 - 121:48
    More intimately, he speaks to me of al-Nakba,
    which he was spared from by a few years,
  • 121:48 - 121:52
    as if it had been very much brought to life by the stories
    he had inherited from his family.
  • 121:52 - 121:56
    As the child of a post-catastrophe,
    he speaks without mincing his words.
  • 121:56 - 121:59
    The Nakba has been passed down to him as a nightmare...
  • 121:59 - 122:03
    ...that has fed into the collective unconscious
    of thousands of Palestinians.
  • 122:03 - 122:08
    The nightmare has come to life again,
    knocking on the rooftops on the 27th December 2008.
  • 122:08 - 122:12
    It still hasnít finished inflicting sleepless nights ever since.
  • 122:12 - 122:16
    Haidar encourages me to divulge all this,
    so I jot down his appeal in my tattered notebook...
  • 122:16 - 122:22
    ...to no longer buy anything "made in Israel".
  • 122:22 - 122:28
    You can pick out Israeli products
    on the shelves from their barcodes,
  • 122:28 - 122:32
    with 729 being the first three numbers.
  • 122:32 - 122:38
    To obtain the complete list of products
    you can access at www.boycottisraeligoods.org.
  • 122:38 - 122:46
    Get hold of a list and stick it on your fridge door
    for safe keeping until your next shopping trip.
  • 122:46 - 122:50
    "if you buy just one glass of water
    that was imported from Israel,
  • 122:50 - 122:57
    you might be funding one of the bullets that might lodge itself
    into one of our childrenís bodies,í said Haidar.
  • 122:57 - 123:02
    The boycott movement
    that saw the light in Palestine in 2005...
  • 123:02 - 123:07
    ...is now taking gigantic steps forward and is spreading
    among millions of consumers around the world.
  • 123:07 - 123:11
    Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez,
    who expelled the Israeli Ambassador...
  • 123:11 - 123:15
    ...and stopped all relations
    with the state thatís currently strangling us,
  • 123:15 - 123:18
    is an example for all of our politicians to emulate.
  • 123:18 - 123:25
    The South African leaders of the struggle against apartheid,
    Nelson Mandela, Ronnie Kasrils and Desmond Tutu...
  • 123:25 - 123:31
    ...have stated that Israelís oppression of Palestine
    is far worse than South Africaís of the blacks ever was.
  • 123:31 - 123:35
    Voices certainly most authoritative
    than italian politicians Frattini and Fassino.
  • 123:35 - 123:39
    Some Israeli Jews have joined the boycotting campaign,
  • 123:39 - 123:43
    about 500 so far, among them Ilan PappÈ and Neta Golan,
  • 123:43 - 123:48
    the descendent of Holocaust survivors,
    who protests, ëNever again!í
  • 123:48 - 123:51
    The Israeli poet Aharon Shabtai also urges us to act:
  • 123:51 - 123:54
    "My hopes rest on Europeís support,
  • 123:54 - 123:57
    hoping that the descendents
    of Voltaire and Rousseau might help Israel,
  • 123:57 - 124:03
    because Israel wonít end its occupation
    until Europe says "Enough!"
  • 124:03 - 124:10
    Only pressure from civilized and democratic nations
    can change the situation and bring us peace.
  • 124:10 - 124:14
    The current situation, with the army in charge,
  • 124:14 - 124:17
    cannot be changed from the inside.
  • 124:17 - 124:23
    For the values that it represents,
    Europe must refuse to continue cooperating with Israel.
  • 124:23 - 124:28
    729 must therefore become our Shoah:
  • 124:28 - 124:31
    never again!"
  • 124:31 - 125:06
    Stay human.
  • 125:06 - 125:09
    15th January 2009
  • 125:09 - 125:13
    Jabaliaís Circles of the Inferno
  • 125:13 - 125:23
    Dante Alighieri could never have imagined circles as hellish
    as the wards of the damned in Jabaliaís hospitals.
  • 125:23 - 125:26
    The laws of divine justice
    are turned on their head around here:
  • 125:26 - 125:33
    the more innocent the victim, the less likely
    that theyíll be spared martyrdom through shelling.
  • 125:33 - 125:40
    At Kamal Odwan and Al-Auda Hospitals,
    the ceramic tiles in the first aid units are always pristine.
  • 125:40 - 125:46
    The cleaners are kept permanently busy
    wiping away the blood dripping copiously...
  • 125:46 - 125:52
    ...from the stretchers constantly being
    brought in carrying massacred bodies.
  • 125:52 - 126:01
    Iyad Mutawwaq was walking in the street
    when a bomb tore open a building not far from him.
  • 126:01 - 126:05
    He and other passers-by rushed over to try and help...
  • 126:05 - 126:09
    ...when a second bomb
    was dropped on the same building.
  • 126:09 - 126:13
    It killed a father of nine,
    two brothers...
  • 126:13 - 126:20
    ...and another passer-by
    who had rushed over to help.
  • 126:20 - 126:25
    The same story
    could be told over ten or a hundred times.
  • 126:25 - 126:33
    The perfect terrorist technique is being carried
    out immaculately by the Israeli Army.
  • 126:33 - 126:37
    You drop a bomb,
    wait for the first-aiders,
  • 126:37 - 126:40
    then drop another bomb on the wounded
    and the people rushing in to help.
  • 126:40 - 126:48
    In Iyadís eyes, these were American bombs, but they also carry
    the stamp of Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian dictator
  • 126:48 - 126:55
    who rivals Ehud Olmert here in Gaza
    when it comes to stirring up resentment.
  • 126:55 - 127:03
    Behind Iyadís bed, an elderly man
    with both his arms in plasters is lying staring at the ceiling.
  • 127:03 - 127:09
    Iím told heís lost everything,
    his family and his home.
  • 127:09 - 127:11
    Khaled stares at the cracks in the falling plaster,
  • 127:11 - 127:18
    as if seeking an answer
    for the sheer destruction of his existence.
  • 127:18 - 127:24
    He worked in Israel for 25 years,
    prior to the first Intifada.
  • 127:24 - 127:28
    In recognition,
    Tel Aviv hasnít even granted him a pension,
  • 127:28 - 127:32
    only a series of missiles
    from land and air onto his house.
  • 127:32 - 127:36
    He suffers from shrapnel wounds all over his body.
  • 127:36 - 127:41
    I ask him where he plans to go after
    heís been discharged from hospital.
  • 127:41 - 127:46
    He says heíll join his family,
    out on the streets.
  • 127:46 - 127:50
    Not unlike Khaledís,
    many families donít know where to find shelter.
  • 127:50 - 127:56
    The most fortunate were offered hospitality
    by relatives and acquaintances,
  • 127:56 - 128:04
    but can you really say that 100 people crammed
    into two apartments having three rooms each is really a life?
  • 128:04 - 128:08
    Two bombs were dropped onto Ahmed Jaberís home
    and though his family initially fled,
  • 128:08 - 128:12
    it wasnít third time lucky for some of them.
    The third explosion...
  • 128:12 - 128:16
    ...buried seven of his relatives under the rubble,
  • 128:16 - 128:21
    including two children aged eight and nine,
    plus his neighbourís children.
  • 128:21 - 128:28
    He says: "They made us leap back in time,
    back to 1948.
  • 128:28 - 128:32
    This is their punishment
    for our attachment to our country.
  • 128:32 - 128:40
    They can tear my arms and legs off from my body,
    but they wonít make me leave my land".
  • 128:40 - 128:47
    A doctor takes me aside and tells me that Ahmedís seven-year-old
    daughter was just brought in, or what was left of her,
  • 128:47 - 128:52
    inside a tiny cardboard box.
  • 128:52 - 128:59
    They donít have the heart to tell him
    and make his already precarious health condition any worse.
  • 128:59 - 129:06
    In the evening they took the phone away from Iyad as well,
    to prevent him from receiving any more bad news.
  • 129:06 - 129:12
    A tank had hit his sisterís house,
    beheading her in the process.
  • 129:12 - 129:17
    In the end, our Free Gaza Movement boat
    never got to the port in Gaza.
  • 129:17 - 129:21
    About 100 miles from their designated destination,
    they were intercepted in international waters...
  • 129:21 - 129:25
    ...by four Israeli war ships,
  • 129:25 - 129:33
    poised to open fire and kill its cargo of doctors,
    nurses and human rights activists.
  • 129:33 - 129:40
    No one must dare to obstruct the massacre of civilians,
    now in full swing for the last three weeks.
  • 129:40 - 129:44
    East of Jabalia, in front of the border,
  • 129:44 - 129:50
    eyewitnesses speak
    of numerous decaying bodies in the streets.
  • 129:50 - 129:53
    Their rotting flesh is being devoured by dogs.
  • 129:53 - 129:59
    There are also hundreds of people
    unable to get anywhere, many of whom are injured.
  • 129:59 - 130:06
    The ambulances simply cannot get anywhere near,
    with trigger-happy snipers all over the place.
  • 130:06 - 130:13
    Palestinians are sick of languishing
    in the midst of this general indifference,
  • 130:13 - 130:17
    and many even accuse the International Red Cross
    and the UN of not doing enough,
  • 130:17 - 130:25
    including not fulfilling their duties,
    nor risking their lives to save hundreds.
  • 130:25 - 130:32
    We of the ISM will thus equip ourselves
    with some stretchers and proceed on foot to the areas
  • 130:32 - 130:40
    where humanity has surpassed all boundaries,
    eclipsing itself in the process.
  • 130:40 - 130:43
    The heavy-bottomed settlers
    sitting in the pristine lounges of armchair politics...
  • 130:43 - 130:46
    ...harp on about military strategies
    against Hamas.
  • 130:46 - 130:51
    Meanwhile,
    weíre being literally massacred out here.
  • 130:51 - 130:53
    They bomb hospitals,
    and yet there are some...
  • 130:53 - 130:57
    ...who still champion Israelís right to self-defence.
  • 130:57 - 131:02
    In any self-styled civilized country,
  • 131:02 - 131:06
    self-defence is proportionate to the attack.
  • 131:06 - 131:13
    In these 20 days weíve counted 1,075 dead Palestinians,
    85% of whom were civilians,
  • 131:13 - 131:19
    and over 5,000 injured,
    of whom half were under 18 years of age.
  • 131:19 - 131:24
    303 children were atrociously massacred.
  • 131:24 - 131:31
    Thankfully, there were still only four victims
    on the Israeli side.
  • 131:31 - 131:34
    Itís equivalent to saying that for Israel,
  • 131:34 - 131:43
    butchering at least 250 Palestinians is a justified blood-bath
    in avenging each civilian victim on its own side.
  • 131:43 - 131:49
    How can this lop-sided reaction not take one back...
  • 131:49 - 131:55
    ...to some of modern European historyís bleakest periods?
  • 131:55 - 132:00
    Letís get straight to the point:
    are we seriously talking about self-defence?
  • 132:00 - 132:05
    For journalists who support the refrain
    that Hamas bears full responsibility for this genocide,
  • 132:05 - 132:14
    as well as for breaking
    the truce between Israel and Palestine,
  • 132:14 - 132:19
    I would like to remind them
    of the UN's position on the matter.
  • 132:19 - 132:25
    Professor Richard Falk,
    a special rapporteur for human rights at the UN,
  • 132:25 - 132:28
    has clearly expressed his views:
  • 132:28 - 132:32
    it was in fact Israel
    that broke the ceasefire in November,
  • 132:32 - 132:36
    by literally exterminating 17 Palestinians.
  • 132:36 - 132:41
    In the same month,
    no Israeli victims had been recorded,
  • 132:41 - 132:46
    none in October
    and none in the previous two months.
  • 132:46 - 132:53
    We were also recently reminded of this
    by Nobel Peace Prize winner and ex-US President Jimmy Carter.
  • 132:53 - 132:56
    It really is a crying shame
    that a journalist like Marco Travaglio,
  • 132:56 - 133:03
    whoís earned our admiration
    as a proud upholder of freedom of the press,
  • 133:03 - 133:06
    is now sporting an IDF helmet...
  • 133:06 - 133:11
    ...and entertaining the masses on TV
  • 133:11 - 133:15
    while amusing himself
    with the pastime most in vogue at the moment:
  • 133:15 - 133:18
    infant-shooting in Gaza.
  • 133:18 - 133:22
    As I franticly tap at my keyboard
    in the Ramattan Press Agency office,
  • 133:22 - 133:28
    all the Palestinian reporters around me
    are wearing bullet-proof vests and helmets.
  • 133:28 - 133:32
    They havenít come in straight
    from driving a tank,
  • 133:32 - 133:36
    theyíve simply been sitting in front of
    their computers the whole time.
  • 133:36 - 133:41
    Two floors above,
    the Reuters offices were recently struck by a rocket,
  • 133:41 - 133:44
    which seriously injured two.
  • 133:44 - 133:49
    Almost all the floors in the building are empty at the moment,
    and only the most heroic of journalists are still around.
  • 133:49 - 133:54
    The story of this hell
    must somehow continue to be told.
  • 133:54 - 134:00
    And yet earlier this week, the Israeli Army
    had assured Reuters it wouldnít need to evacuate,
  • 134:00 - 134:03
    as they would be safe staying in their offices.
  • 134:03 - 134:08
    This morning the bombing of the United Nations building
    also caused many casualties,
  • 134:08 - 134:12
    built, among others,
    with money from the Italian government.
  • 134:12 - 134:15
    Silvio Berlusconi, where are you?
  • 134:15 - 134:18
    There were many dead and wounded.
  • 134:18 - 134:21
    John Ging,
    Director of UNRWAís Field Operations in Gaza,
  • 134:21 - 134:26
    spoke frankly
    about white phosphorous bombs.
  • 134:26 - 134:33
    In the Tal El-Hawa neighbourhood in Gaza City,
    a whole wing of Al-Quds Hospital is presently in flames.
  • 134:33 - 134:41
    Leila, an ISM colleague is trapped inside,
    alongside 40 doctors and nurses and about 100 patients.
  • 134:41 - 134:46
    She described
    these last dramatic hours to us by phone.
  • 134:46 - 134:51
    She described
    these last dramatic hours to us by phone.
  • 134:51 - 134:57
    A tank is stationed in front of the hospital.
    There are snipers everywhere, ready to shoot at anything.
  • 134:57 - 135:00
    Destruction is all around.
  • 135:00 - 135:06
    At night, from their windows, they could observe
    a building going up in flames after having been shelled.
  • 135:06 - 135:10
    They heard the cries of whole families with children,
  • 135:10 - 135:12
    pleading for help.
  • 135:12 - 135:15
    hey were impotent to help,
  • 135:15 - 135:20
    watching people being devoured by flames,
    running out on to the street...
  • 135:20 - 135:23
    ...and then being reduced to ashes.
  • 135:23 - 135:30
    Hell has switched places
    and come to the centre of Gaza,
  • 135:30 - 135:33
    and we are the damned,
  • 135:33 - 135:36
    designated as such by an inhuman hatred.
  • 135:36 - 136:22
    Stay human.
  • 136:22 - 136:24
    16th January 2009
  • 136:24 - 136:27
    Turning Geography on its Head
  • 136:27 - 136:33
    Thereís a story of an elderly Palestinian
    who leaves his house in search of his next meal...
  • 136:33 - 136:36
    ...during one of our rare morning ceasefires.
  • 136:36 - 136:39
    But he is then unable to find his way back home.
  • 136:39 - 136:44
    Shelling and bombing has radically changed Gazaís cityscape,
  • 136:44 - 136:47
    warping its social structure with it as well.
  • 136:47 - 136:53
    Hundreds of families are forced to flee
    to different destinations all over the whole of the Strip,
  • 136:53 - 136:58
    and hundreds who used to live alongside one another before...
  • 136:58 - 137:01
    ...are now no longer even in touch.
  • 137:01 - 137:06
    In order to reach the Tal El-Hawa neighbourhood
    in south-eastern Gaza City,
  • 137:06 - 137:09
    you have to walk across a lunar landscape.
  • 137:09 - 137:12
    Leaving behind a trail of craters and mounds of rubble,
  • 137:12 - 137:18
    the Israeli tanks yesterday have pulled away after a 48-hour siege.
  • 137:18 - 137:26
    Ever-present in this desolate scenario
    is the lingering, pestilent and unmistakable stench of death.
  • 137:26 - 137:34
    Struggling past what remains of entire buildings and houses,
    carcasses of burnt-out cars and ambulances,
  • 137:34 - 137:37
    I started searching for Ahmedís house.
  • 137:37 - 137:43
    It wasnít an easy task
    because of the radical transformation that whole neighbourhoods...
  • 137:43 - 137:49
    ...razed to the ground and burnt to cinders
    had endured at the hands of the Israeli military.
  • 137:49 - 137:54
    I remembered that Ahmed lived
    at the end of a dirt road, impossible to recognize...
  • 137:54 - 138:01
    ...now that I was struggling to tread
    over one whole vast surface of debris...
  • 138:01 - 138:03
    that had been chewed and spat out by the tanks.
  • 138:03 - 138:09
    If a satellite photo of Gaza
    were taken at the end of this massive genocidal attack,
  • 138:09 - 138:18
    it would be difficult to convince anyone
    that the city in the photo was the same one pictured just 20 days earlier.
  • 138:18 - 138:21
    I had a chance to put my arms around Ahmed again,
  • 138:21 - 138:24
    it was as if we hadnít seen one another in years...
  • 138:24 - 138:28
    ...after a long journey from somewhere far off.
  • 138:28 - 138:32
    Unfortunately,
    our journey at the end of the night had no new dawn in sight,
  • 138:32 - 138:41
    except the one set alight by the hatred
    of those ordering the generals and troops into action for this massacre.
  • 138:41 - 138:45
    My friend showed me
    where an Israeli tank had stood for two days,
  • 138:45 - 138:47
    right in front of his garden.
  • 138:47 - 138:54
    During all that time his entire family
    had remained huddled underneath a stairwell,
  • 138:54 - 138:59
    terrified that a shell shot
    by a howitzer might wipe them out at any minute.
  • 138:59 - 139:04
    Only last night,
    Ahmed went against the orders of his apprehensive father...
  • 139:04 - 139:11
    ...and, dragging himself across the floor,
    dared to look out the window at the hellish scenario all around.
  • 139:11 - 139:14
    He saw the tank moving about 30 metres away,
  • 139:14 - 139:20
    smashing into the shutters of a supermarket
    and opening a hole in it.
  • 139:20 - 139:23
    He then watched soldiers emerge from the armoured vehicle...
  • 139:23 - 139:27
    ...who cheerfully wandered in to "do some shopping".
  • 139:27 - 139:31
    "They filled the tank
    to the point that they were struggling to get back in."
  • 139:31 - 139:37
    He then described the jubilant laughs, the mocking songs,
  • 139:37 - 139:40
    providing a soundtrack to the explosions all night long:
  • 139:40 - 139:46
    "Ali, Mohammed, this is a message to your Allah Akbar!"
  • 139:46 - 139:52
    The resistance, which for some days
    had stoically succeeded in limiting the advance of the Israeli tanks,
  • 139:52 - 139:55
    fizzled out within a couple of hours.
  • 139:55 - 139:59
    Kalashnikovs can only tickle plated tank armour,
  • 139:59 - 140:03
    while the shells of howitzers
    can blow up a house from wall to wall.
  • 140:03 - 140:07
    The residential neighbourhood of Abraj Towers,
  • 140:07 - 140:14
    mainly inhabited by the families of the teaching staff
    from Al-Aqsa University and in large part sympathetic with Fatah,
  • 140:14 - 140:19
    certainly does not host any "Hamas terrorists".
  • 140:19 - 140:25
    The same way that Iím aware of this,
    Iím certain that itís also common knowledge in Tel Aviv.
  • 140:25 - 140:32
    It didnít seem to matter, though,
    as the neighbourhood was reduced to a pile of rubble all the same.
  • 140:32 - 140:38
    Next to the crumbled buildings stands the Al-Quds Hospital,
    set on fire only yesterday.
  • 140:38 - 140:42
    My ISM companions have assisted the hospital staff...
  • 140:42 - 140:49
    in evacuating the 300 wounded there
    to Gaza Cityís other hospital, Al-Shifa.
  • 140:49 - 140:54
    It took them many hours,
    especially since moving seriously-injured patients...
  • 140:54 - 140:59
    ...required the use of specialist ambulances
    that the Palestinians donít have.
  • 140:59 - 141:05
    We waited for the last evacuees with Dr Dagfinn Bjorklind
    from the Norwegian NGO Norwac...
  • 141:05 - 141:11
    and asked some questions
    of the nurses whoíd survived the Al-Quds fire.
  • 141:11 - 141:18
    These were blood-curdling stories,
    backed up by my companionsí own eye-witness accounts.
  • 141:18 - 141:24
    About 200 metres from the hospital lay about 30 bodies,
  • 141:24 - 141:27
    among them many women and children,
    many of whom were still alive.
  • 141:27 - 141:32
    They couldnít be rescued as the snipers
    on the roofs shot at anything that moved.
  • 141:32 - 141:37
    Those bleeding bodies in the street were what was left of civilians
    whoíd escaped from their own homes...
  • 141:37 - 141:40
    ...when theyíd caught fire after being shelled.
  • 141:40 - 141:45
    The Israeli snipers hadnít hesitated to shoot them, one by one,
  • 141:45 - 141:51
    including the children,
    once they were framed by the viewfinders on their guns.
  • 141:51 - 141:55
    Iíll confess that my motto "stay human"...
  • 141:55 - 142:02
    ...has been direly tested in the last few days,
    but has survived intact nevertheless.
  • 142:02 - 142:09
    It pulled through,
    just as the pride for and attachment to oneís native land,
  • 142:09 - 142:15
    expressed as identity and the right to self-rule,
    has enabled Gazaís people to carry on.
  • 142:15 - 142:20
    From the university professors
    to the people you meet in the street, doctors and nurses,
  • 142:20 - 142:23
    reporters, fishermen, farmers,
  • 142:23 - 142:30
    men, women and teenagers,
    those whoíve lost everything and those who had nothing to lose,
  • 142:30 - 142:34
    all will use their last breath to say ëinshaíAllahí, for the sake...
  • 142:34 - 142:40
    ...of the sincere conviction that their roots run so deep...
  • 142:40 - 142:44
    ...that no enemy bulldozer can tear them out.
  • 142:44 - 142:52
    While I write, a TV screen not far off is showing images
    from the inside of the Al-Shifa Hospital.
  • 142:52 - 142:57
    Men in tears cover their faces
    as if to contain a flood of desperation.
  • 142:57 - 143:04
    At Shijaíiya, east of Gaza City,
    a shot from a tank just killed seven and wounded 25.
  • 143:04 - 143:10
    The casualties were all at a funeral commemorating a family member
    whoíd been killed the previous day.
  • 143:10 - 143:17
    Yesterday the Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak
    apologized to the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon,
  • 143:17 - 143:20
    for the artillery fire against the UN Agency...
  • 143:20 - 143:22
    ...for Palestinian Refugees in Gaza City,
  • 143:22 - 143:28
    which had been built with the Italian governmentís money.
    (Berlusconi, where are you?)
  • 143:28 - 143:31
    "It was a grave error", Barak said.
  • 143:31 - 143:38
    There wasnít the trace of an apology to the families
    of the 357 Palestinian children killed up till now.
  • 143:38 - 143:41
    Clearly, that was no error.
  • 143:41 - 143:48
    I listened a Red Cross paramedic tell me
    the story of their arrival on the scene of a massacre at Zeitoun.
  • 143:48 - 143:52
    A visibly malnourished child
    crouched in front of his motherís corpse,
  • 143:52 - 143:54
    already in an advanced state of decay.
  • 143:54 - 144:00
    He had taken care of that body for four days,
    as if she were still alive.
  • 144:00 - 144:02
    He had dried the blood from her face...
  • 144:02 - 144:05
    ...and dragging himself through the rubble
    of what had been their home,
  • 144:05 - 144:11
    bringing her water, bread and tomatoes,
    which heíd carefully placed next to her head.
  • 144:11 - 144:14
    He thought she was only sleeping.
  • 144:14 - 144:19
    The Israeli snipers had prevented the Red Cross
    from rushing in to bring aid,
  • 144:19 - 144:25
    and they only managed to reach the scene of the massacre
    several days later.
  • 144:25 - 144:58
    Stay human.
  • 144:58 - 145:01
    17th January 2009
  • 145:01 - 145:04
    Love under the Bombs
  • 145:04 - 145:10
    Making love under the bombs.
    I remember a friend from Nablous once telling me...
  • 145:10 - 145:16
    ...how difficult it was during the occupation
    to reserve a moment of intimacy with his wife.
  • 145:16 - 145:22
    One evening, while they lay in a tender embrace,
    a bullet lodged itself into their headboard...
  • 145:22 - 145:25
    ...inches away from their heads.
  • 145:25 - 145:31
    In Gaza these days canoodling under the bombs
    is out of the question,
  • 145:31 - 145:38
    and the conjugal future of young Palestinian couples
    is shaping up to be quite a challenge.
  • 145:38 - 145:43
    Many have lost their homes
    and are forced to live huddled together in the UNRWA schools,
  • 145:43 - 145:49
    or crammed inside a tiny apartment
    with as many as 20 people.
  • 145:49 - 145:55
    "Tonight is Saturday and the young couples in Tel Aviv
    go out and have fun in the clubs or on the beach.
  • 145:55 - 146:00
    Meanwhile, out here,
    we canít even make love in our own beds",
  • 146:00 - 146:03
    says Wissam,
    who got married in November.
  • 146:03 - 146:07
    "We do have strobe lights though",
  • 146:07 - 146:14
    he says, pointing to a succession of flashes to the south,
    the evidence of bombing in full swing.
  • 146:14 - 146:23
    Young men like Wissam, himself aged nineteen, become fathers
    very early on in life and are already grandfathers by middle age,
  • 146:23 - 146:33
    being aware that ñ as they are in Palestine ñ
    this is the only form of survival available to them.
  • 146:33 - 146:40
    While thereís talk on the outside of a ceasefire,
    accepted by Hamas but, as usual, rejected by Israel,
  • 146:40 - 146:44
    in the last two days
    thereís been an escalation of bombings...
  • 146:44 - 146:47
    ...with a subsequent boost in civilian deaths
  • 146:47 - 146:50
    60 only yesterday.
  • 146:50 - 146:55
    About 10 were killed
    outside a mosque at the time of prayer.
  • 146:55 - 146:59
    What worries Palestinians
    the most is the call for a ceasefire...
  • 146:59 - 147:04
    ...without reopening the border crossing points
    at the same time.
  • 147:04 - 147:08
    Even before materials
    for reconstruction are let in,
  • 147:08 - 147:10
    food supplies are urgently needed,
  • 147:10 - 147:15
    and those whoíve been seriously injured
    need to get out.
  • 147:15 - 147:18
    Hospitals are overwhelmed
    from the overcrowding.
  • 147:18 - 147:24
    In the entire Strip,
    they have a capacity of only 1,500 beds.
  • 147:24 - 147:30
    But the number of the wounded
    presently hovers at around 5,320
  • 147:30 - 147:38
    In addition, Palestinian public opinion mistrusts Egypt,
    the chosen intermediary for the talks,
  • 147:38 - 147:43
    whose leadership
    is notoriously obsequious to Israel.
  • 147:43 - 147:46
    "Why not have a European country mediate?
  • 147:46 - 147:49
    The role of Germany, a truly neutral country,
  • 147:49 - 147:54
    was decisive in the resolution of the conflict
    between Israel and Hezbollah",
  • 147:54 - 147:59
    says a heavy-hearted Hamza,
    a university professor.
  • 147:59 - 148:03
    This morning another UN school in Beit Lahiya,
  • 148:03 - 148:08
    in the northern Gaza Strip,
    was heavily hit by Israeli tanks.
  • 148:08 - 148:17
    There were 14 injured and two little brothers,
    Bilal and Mohammed Al-Ashqar, aged five and seven, were killed.
  • 148:17 - 148:21
    Their mother survived, but lost both her legs.
  • 148:21 - 148:24
    Along with 42,000 others,
  • 148:24 - 148:31
    they had sought shelter in the school
    after Israel had ordered them to evacuate their homes.
  • 148:31 - 148:35
    They believed theyíd be safe there,
    just like the 43 refugees
  • 148:35 - 148:42
    exterminated on the 6th January
    in the UNRWA school massacre in Jabilia.
  • 148:42 - 148:45
    "These two children were without a doubt innocent,
  • 148:45 - 148:50
    just as there isnít the shadow of a doubt
    that theyíre now dead",
  • 148:50 - 148:55
    said John Ging,
    the Director of UNRWAís Field Operations in Gaza,
  • 148:55 - 149:04
    who tirelessly, albeit in vein,
    continues to report the war crimes committed by the Israeli Army.
  • 149:04 - 149:13
    But the Israeli generals are still busy preparing the "mission
    accomplished" speech they intend to deliver to the world.
  • 149:13 - 149:17
    I went back to whatís left
    of Tal El-Hawa Hospital,
  • 149:17 - 149:23
    the part still standing after the building
    was set on fire by the Israelis.
  • 149:23 - 149:30
    It has now started operating as a first aid unit
    and logistical base for ambulances again.
  • 149:30 - 149:39
    They continue to extract casualties trapped for days
    under the rubble, found around its seriously-damaged buildings.
  • 149:39 - 149:45
    Al-Shifa Hospital hosts a child called Suhaib Suliman,
  • 149:45 - 149:51
    the only survivor in a family of 25,
    all of whom are dead.
  • 149:51 - 149:56
    A young girl,
    Hadil Samony, lost 11 relatives.
  • 149:56 - 150:02
    Sheíll have no one to take care of her
    after being discharged from hospital.
  • 150:02 - 150:07
    Excuse me, but can someone please explain
    what kind of mission this is?
  • 150:07 - 150:12
    Itís straight from collective punishment
    to mass slaughter.
  • 150:12 - 150:20
    On his blog, a frustrated Arab
    called Raja Chemayel sums it all up as follows:
  • 150:20 - 150:25
    "Take a strip of land
    about 40 km long and only five km wide.
  • 150:25 - 150:27
    Call it Gaza.
  • 150:27 - 150:31
    Then cram in 1.4 million inhabitants.
  • 150:31 - 150:37
    After that surround it by the sea to the west,
    Egypt with Mubarak in the south, Israel in the north,
  • 150:37 - 150:41
    and dub it "The land of terrorists".
  • 150:41 - 150:48
    After that,
    declare war against it and invade it with 232 tanks,
  • 150:48 - 150:51
    687 armoured vehicles,
  • 150:51 - 150:55
    43 airports for fighter jets,
  • 150:55 - 150:57
    105 war helicopters,
  • 150:57 - 151:01
    221 units of ground artillery,
  • 151:01 - 151:06
    349 mortars,
    three spy satellites,
  • 151:06 - 151:12
    64 informers,
    12 spies and 8,000 assault troops.
  • 151:12 - 151:16
    Then call all of this "Israel defending itself".
  • 151:16 - 151:21
    After that,
    stop for a minute and state that
  • 151:21 - 151:24
    you will "avoid hitting the civilian population"
  • 151:24 - 151:28
    and call yourself
    the only democracy in action.
  • 151:28 - 151:33
    Whichever way you look at it,
    only a miracle could prevent you hitting those civilians,
  • 151:33 - 151:41
    or it could quite simply be a lie.
    But once again, just call it "Israel defending itself".
  • 151:41 - 151:43
    Now comes the question:
  • 151:43 - 151:47
    what would happen
    if the invader turned out to be a liar?
  • 151:47 - 151:51
    What would happen to those unarmed civilians?
  • 151:51 - 151:56
    With such firepower,
    how could even Mother Theresa, or Mickey Mouse,
  • 151:56 - 152:02
    avoid hitting all those civilians,
    considering the ... situation?
  • 152:02 - 152:04
    Call it whatever you like,
  • 152:04 - 152:09
    but Israel knew damn well
    those unarmed people were out there.
  • 152:09 - 152:12
    It was Israel itself that had put them there.
  • 152:12 - 152:18
    So, go ahead and call it genocide.
    Itís much more credible".
  • 152:18 - 152:21
    Aside from a couple
    of brutally-assassinated leaders,
  • 152:21 - 152:25
    Hamas hasnít suffered from this attack,
  • 152:25 - 152:28
    and certainly hasnít lost its popularity.
  • 152:28 - 152:31
    If anything,
    theyíve gained some more.
  • 152:31 - 152:37
    Once in a while it would be wise to remember
    that Hamas arenít a bunch of terrorists, nor a political party,
  • 152:37 - 152:39
    but a movement,
  • 152:39 - 152:45
    and as such theyíre impossible
    to neutralize with storms of cluster bombs.
  • 152:45 - 152:51
    When I ask Palestinians for their opinions
    on the real agenda behind this brutal massacre,
  • 152:51 - 152:56
    many say it has everything to do
    with the Israeli elections in February.
  • 152:56 - 152:58
    "They made successful propaganda,
    one vote at a time.
  • 152:58 - 153:04
    Itís always been like this
    on the eve of all elections".
  • 153:04 - 153:09
    Just a month ago, Benjamin Netanyahu
    was forecast to be the sure winner,
  • 153:09 - 153:18
    but heís now expected to lose in competing
    against the bloodthirsty vision of Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni.
  • 153:18 - 153:28
    Avigdor Lieberman is the leader of Yisrael Beitenu, a growing
    political force, that had won 11 seats after the 2006 elections,
  • 153:28 - 153:31
    but the polls show that they are gaining
    in popularity even with statements like the following,
  • 153:31 - 153:36
    "Gaza ought to be erased from the map
    with a nuclear bomb,
  • 153:36 - 153:41
    the way the Americans
    did with Hiroshima and Nagasaki."
  • 153:41 - 153:46
    Yesterday Israeli writer Abraham Yehoshua
    stated to Haaretz:
  • 153:46 - 153:51
    "We kill their children today
    to save many more tomorrow."
  • 153:51 - 153:56
    Iím afraid that now,
    his "Journey to the End of the Millennium"
  • 153:56 - 154:00
    has ended up on board a tank
    in front of a hospital in flames.
  • 154:00 - 154:04
    Voltaire invited us to respect all opinions.
  • 154:04 - 154:07
    I would suggest
    stopping the sowing of seeds of hatred,
  • 154:07 - 154:13
    sprinkling them with blood
    and feeding them with terminal resentment.
  • 154:13 - 154:49
    Stay human.
  • 154:49 - 154:53
    19th January 2009
  • 154:53 - 154:55
    The Living and the Dead
  • 154:55 - 154:59
    In Gaza,
    only the dead have seen the end of war.
  • 154:59 - 155:05
    For the living, no ceasefire can make up
    for the daily battle of a constant quest for survival.
  • 155:05 - 155:08
    They have no running water,
    gas, electricity,
  • 155:08 - 155:12
    and no bread and milk
    with which to feed their children.
  • 155:12 - 155:15
    Thousands of people
    have lost their homes.
  • 155:15 - 155:19
    Humanitarian aid seeps
    through the passes in drips and drabs,
  • 155:19 - 155:21
    and you get the feeling that the benevolence...
  • 155:21 - 155:24
    ...of the killersí accomplices is only temporary.
  • 155:24 - 155:29
    Tomorrow, Ban Ki-Moon,
    the UNís Secretary General, will travel to Gaza,
  • 155:29 - 155:38
    and weíre pretty sure that John Ging, Director of NRWAís
    Field Operations in Gaza, will have many stories to tell him...
  • 155:38 - 155:40
    ...after Israel bombed two UN schools,
  • 155:40 - 155:43
    assassinated four of their workers,
  • 155:43 - 155:48
    and bombed and destroyed
    the UNRWA Centre in Gaza City,
  • 155:48 - 155:53
    reducing tonnes of medicine
    and food supplies destined for the civilian population...
  • 155:53 - 155:57
    ...to ashes in the process.
  • 155:57 - 156:03
    Gazaís mountains of rubble
    continue to spit out corpses back on to the surface.
  • 156:03 - 156:11
    Yesterday in Jabalia, Tal El-Hawa in Gaza City
    and Zeitoun, the Red Crescent paramedics,
  • 156:11 - 156:14
    with some help from the ISM volunteers,
  • 156:14 - 156:17
    have pulled out
    a total of 95 corpses from the ruins,
  • 156:17 - 156:22
    many of which
    are in an advanced state of decay.
  • 156:22 - 156:24
    Walking through the streets of the city
  • 156:24 - 156:31
    and no longer feeling constantly terrified by the thought
    of a bomb surgically aimed to decapitate me,
  • 156:31 - 156:36
    I still tremble
    at the sight of stray dogs gathering in a circle,
  • 156:36 - 156:39
    imagining what could reveal itself before my eyes...
  • 156:39 - 156:42
    ...as constituting their meal.
  • 156:42 - 156:47
    Relieved-looking men go back to hanging out
    in their mosques and cafÈs,
  • 156:47 - 156:52
    but their attitude of feigned normalcy
    is easy to detect.
  • 156:52 - 156:55
    Many of them
    have lost a relative or have nowhere to live.
  • 156:55 - 157:01
    They pretend to go back to their everyday routine
    to boost their wives and childrenís morale,
  • 157:01 - 157:06
    somehow,
    even this catastrophe must be dealt with.
  • 157:06 - 157:12
    This morning we drove in some ambulances
    to the most devastated neighborhoods in the city,
  • 157:12 - 157:15
    Tal el-Hawa and Zeitoun.
  • 157:15 - 157:21
    Questionnaire in hand, we went door-to-door compiling
    a survey of the extent of the damage suffered by the buildings,
  • 157:21 - 157:25
    and wrote down
    the familiesí most urgent requirements:
  • 157:25 - 157:29
    medicine for the elderly and sick,
    and rice, oil and flour,
  • 157:29 - 157:34
    basically the essentials,
    to feed themselves with.
  • 157:34 - 157:38
    All that weíve been able to give them
    so far are meters of nylon,
  • 157:38 - 157:43
    to be used in lieu of their shattered windowpanes
    to block out the cold.
  • 157:43 - 157:47
    ISM colleagues in Rafah informed me...
  • 157:47 - 157:51
    ...that the municipality
    has handed out a few thousand dollars,
  • 157:51 - 157:56
    mere pennies, to the families whoíve had their houses
    completely razed to the ground by the bombs,
  • 157:56 - 158:03
    the very same that according to Israel,
    had been dropped only to destroy the tunnels.
  • 158:03 - 158:05
    After the end of the conflict with Lebanon,
  • 158:05 - 158:11
    Hezbollah had donated millions of dollars in cheques
    to support homeless Lebanese citizens.
  • 158:11 - 158:14
    In Gaza,
    embargoed and under siege,
  • 158:14 - 158:18
    Hamas is hardly able to support its people...
  • 158:18 - 158:22
    ...with what "would barely be enough
    to rebuild a barn for livestock",
  • 158:22 - 158:25
    says Khaled, a Rafah farmer.
  • 158:25 - 158:32
    As the truce is unilateral,
    Israel unilaterally decides not to respect it.
  • 158:32 - 158:37
    Khan Yunos, a Palestinian boy was killed yesterday,
    and another was injured.
  • 158:37 - 158:40
    East of Gaza City,
  • 158:40 - 158:45
    helicopters have showered a residential area
    with white phosphorous.
  • 158:45 - 158:47
    The same happened in Jabalia.
  • 158:47 - 158:53
    In Khan Younis today,
    the warships shot their cannons against an open plain,
  • 158:53 - 158:56
    thankfully without harming anyone.
  • 158:56 - 159:01
    But, as I write,
    news of advancing tanks has reached me.
  • 159:01 - 159:06
    Weíre not aware of any Palestinian rockets
    having been fired in the last 24 hours.
  • 159:06 - 159:12
    International journalists
    are clamoring for news all along the Strip.
  • 159:12 - 159:18
    They only managed to get in today. Israel granted them
    a pass only now that the massacre is winding down.
  • 159:18 - 159:24
    Standing by the blackened skeleton
    of what remains of Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City,
  • 159:24 - 159:28
    an astonished BBC reporter
    asked me how the army...
  • 159:28 - 159:33
    ...could possibly have mistaken the building
    for a terroristsí den.
  • 159:33 - 159:34
    I said:
  • 159:34 - 159:39
    "For the very same reason
    that children running away from burning buildings...
  • 159:39 - 159:42
    ...are put in the sights of snipers on the roofs,
  • 159:42 - 159:45
    who then donít hesitate to kill them,
  • 159:45 - 159:49
    spreading their grey matter
    all over the road."
  • 159:49 - 159:52
    The journalist furrowed his brow further.
  • 159:52 - 159:58
    The enormous difference between us eyewitnesses
    and firsthand victims of the massacre,
  • 159:58 - 160:04
    and those who heard about it through our stories,
    is now further highlighted.
  • 160:04 - 160:07
    From Rome
    Iím told that the EU intends...
  • 160:07 - 160:10
    ...to freeze the funds assigned
    for the reconstruction of Gaza...
  • 160:10 - 160:16
    ...while itís still being governed by Hamas.
  • 160:16 - 160:19
    He hinted.
  • 160:19 - 160:27
    The European Commissioner for External Relations,
    Benita Ferrero-Waldner, has made her point clear on this score:
  • 160:27 - 160:33
    "The aid for the reconstruction of the Strip",
    stated the European diplomat,
  • 160:33 - 160:38
    "will only arrive if Palestinian President Abu Mazen...
  • 160:38 - 160:44
    ...will once again re-establish his authority
    over the territory".
  • 160:44 - 160:50
    For Gazaís Palestinians this is an explicit invitation
    from the outside to engage in civil war,
  • 160:50 - 160:52
    or in a coup díÈtat.
  • 160:52 - 160:56
    Itís equivalent
    to legitimizing the massacre of 410 children,
  • 160:56 - 161:00
    who died
    because their parents support democracy...
  • 161:00 - 161:05
    ...and freely elected Hamas.
  • 161:05 - 161:11
    "The EU is diligently echoing the criminal policy
    of collective punishment imposed by Israel.
  • 161:11 - 161:14
    Why not entrust the funds to the UN?
  • 161:14 - 161:17
    Or some governmental organization?"
  • 161:17 - 161:21
    "The Unites States
    are free to elect a warmonger like Bush,
  • 161:21 - 161:26
    Israel can choose leaders with bloodied hands
    like Sharon or Netanyahu,
  • 161:26 - 161:29
    but we, the people of Gaza,
  • 161:29 - 161:31
    arenít free to chose Hamas?",
  • 161:31 - 161:34
    suggested Mohamed,
    a human rights activist,
  • 161:34 - 161:38
    who never voted
    for the Islamic movement himself.
  • 161:38 - 161:41
    I had no arguments to contradict him.
  • 161:41 - 161:45
    Living Palestinians learn from their dead;
  • 161:45 - 161:50
    they learn to live while dying,
    right from the youngest age.
  • 161:50 - 161:55
    Truce after truce,
    the general perception here is that of a macabre pause...
  • 161:55 - 162:00
    ...during which to count the dead
    between one massacre and another,
  • 162:00 - 162:02
    and peace has never felt so elusive.
  • 162:02 - 162:08
    Scouring Gaza City on board an ambulance
    with the siren switched off for once,
  • 162:08 - 162:10
    the war is still everywhere,
  • 162:10 - 162:16
    among the ruins of a city pillaged of smiles
    and now populated only by frightened gazes,
  • 162:16 - 162:22
    eyes that insist upon scanning the sky
    for the planes still flying endlessly overhead.
  • 162:22 - 162:26
    Inside a home
    we visited with some paramedics,
  • 162:26 - 162:31
    I noticed some pastel drawings on the floor.
  • 162:31 - 162:37
    It was clearly a childís hand that had abandoned them
    after evacuating the house in a mad rush.
  • 162:37 - 162:39
    I picked one of them up,
  • 162:39 - 162:44
    tanks, helicopters and a body in pieces.
  • 162:44 - 162:50
    In the middle of the drawing a child
    with a stone had succeeded in reaching the sunís height
  • 162:50 - 162:53
    and was damaging one of the flying death machines.
  • 162:53 - 162:56
    Itís been said that in a childís drawing,
  • 162:56 - 163:01
    the sun represents their desire to be,
    to exist.
  • 163:01 - 163:07
    The sun I saw
    was crying tears of blood coloured in red pastel.
  • 163:07 - 163:15
    Is a unilateral ceasefire enough
    to heal such traumas?
  • 163:15 - 163:42
    Stay human.
  • 163:42 - 163:45
    20th January 2009
  • 163:45 - 163:47
    Traces of Death
  • 163:47 - 163:50
    "When the details of Gazaís massive destruction become known,
  • 163:50 - 163:54
    my only reason to travel to Amsterdam...
  • 163:54 - 163:58
    will be to appear before The Hagueís International Court".
  • 163:58 - 164:01
    These words were ascribed
    by the Haaretz newspaper...
  • 164:01 - 164:05
    ...to an Israeli minister,
    who prefers to remain anonymous.
  • 164:05 - 164:09
    All around the world,
    indignant humanitarian organizations and citizens...
  • 164:09 - 164:14
    ...wish to see the Israeli Army
    and its government dragged in the courtroom,
  • 164:14 - 164:23
    hoping theyíll be found guilty of the war crimes
    their hands were bloodied with during the 22-day massacre in Gaza.
  • 164:23 - 164:30
    In their public appearances,
    the military and government leaderships donít seem too phased.
  • 164:30 - 164:34
    They claim to have solid proof
    that the sites they bombed...
  • 164:34 - 164:39
    ...were all support bases used by Hamas terrorists.
  • 164:39 - 164:41
    Let me get this straight:
  • 164:41 - 164:46
    weíre talking about
    over 20,000 houses damaged by the shelling,
  • 164:46 - 164:49
    including 1,300 human casualties.
  • 164:49 - 164:51
    To check out these alleged,
  • 164:51 - 164:55
    crucial strategic hide-outs of Islamic terrorism,
  • 164:55 - 165:02
    I headed to one of the most heavily bombed areas,
    Jabal Al-Dardour in the northern Strip.
  • 165:02 - 165:05
    Dozens of buildings had been razed to the ground.
  • 165:05 - 165:11
    The mammoth-sized, armour-plated bulldozers
    are custom-built by Caterpillar (boycott it!)
  • 165:11 - 165:13
    to raze Palestinian houses to the ground,
  • 165:13 - 165:19
    and are used to lend the army tanks a hand
    in their destructive effort.
  • 165:19 - 165:25
    Out there I saw men and women rummaging through the rubble,
    looking for things, such as an article of clothing,
  • 165:25 - 165:32
    a few dust-coated school bags
    or portrait photos of families in cracked frames.
  • 165:32 - 165:34
    Iíve never caught sight of any destroyed arsenals,
  • 165:34 - 165:42
    only buildings with their ceilings torn clear off their walls, where you can
    catch sight of what was once a living-room, the remains of a bedroom,
  • 165:42 - 165:45
    or a kitchen reduced to cinders.
  • 165:45 - 165:48
    Abu Omar, a molecular biologist,
  • 165:48 - 165:52
    has invited me to come
    and see whatís left of his apartment.
  • 165:52 - 165:55
    His neighbour, Osama,
    a paediatrician,
  • 165:55 - 166:00
    also showed me his house,
    reduced to a colander.
  • 166:00 - 166:02
    The propulsive power of the missiles...
  • 166:02 - 166:08
    ...splashed some debris
    from the near-by orange orchard onto the building.
  • 166:08 - 166:14
    The juice of oranges,
    mixed with the clotted blood splattered all over the floor,
  • 166:14 - 166:19
    looked like a naÔf painterís canvas.
  • 166:19 - 166:22
    An elderly man,
    his head wrapped in a kafiyeh,
  • 166:22 - 166:28
    approaches us to ask Natalie,
    our Lebanese companion with the ISM, where sheís from.
  • 166:28 - 166:31
    Waving his walking stick in the air,
  • 166:31 - 166:34
    as if to draw a wide arc
    over the devastated landscape before us,
  • 166:34 - 166:36
    he says,
  • 166:36 - 166:40
    "Beirut and Gaza, same painting, same artist."
  • 166:40 - 166:44
    Even Osamaís pigeon coop
    hasnít been spared by the shelling.
  • 166:44 - 166:50
    His birds lie on the ground,
    as if defeated by a sky too heavy for their wings,
  • 166:50 - 166:52
    as heavy as "cast lead".
  • 166:52 - 166:54
    "They tried to defeat the Palestinian air force,
  • 166:54 - 166:59
    or perhaps they thought these birds
    might be dispatch carriers for Hamas",
  • 166:59 - 167:04
    I told the paediatrician,
    causing him to smile sadly.
  • 167:04 - 167:07
    As we travelled in our broken-down taxi,
  • 167:07 - 167:12
    we crossed routes
    with the UNís Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon.
  • 167:12 - 167:19
    A long line of brand-new SUVs,
    all tinted windows and UN logos,
  • 167:19 - 167:23
    darted through Gaza as
    if the earth shook beneath their tires.
  • 167:23 - 167:28
    As it happens,
    this was actually the case until a few days ago.
  • 167:28 - 167:32
    Wandering around the impossible puzzle
    of Jabal Al-Dardourís ruins,
  • 167:32 - 167:38
    I heard someone call my name.
    When I looked over my shoulder, I saw Abu Ashrafa.
  • 167:38 - 167:44
    Iíd attended his sonís funeral
    when he was killed by a bomb last November,
  • 167:44 - 167:50
    a month in which, according to Israel and the Western media,
    a ceasefire had been called.
  • 167:50 - 167:57
    Abu Ashrafa had just lost another relative,
    and his house has been razed down to its foundations.
  • 167:57 - 168:04
    "They havenít left us a single head of livestock,
    a rock, or an olive tree standing ñ theyíre not human",
  • 168:04 - 168:08
    he said, leading me to his olive orchard.
  • 168:08 - 168:14
    Many trees ñ the centenary ones ñ
    have been torn down by Israeli bulldozers.
  • 168:14 - 168:24
    Itís as if they were trying to make up for not being able
    to erase lives that are impossible to uproot from their origins,
  • 168:24 - 168:31
    their identity and their burning desire for justice,
    surviving all destruction.
  • 168:31 - 168:33
    Not far away a middle-aged man approached me,
  • 168:33 - 168:37
    asking if I thought all Palestinians
    were Hamas guerrilla fighters.
  • 168:37 - 168:42
    From a window
    in his damaged home flapped a yellow Fatah banner.
  • 168:42 - 168:45
    "Our Kalashnikov is our faith and honour,
  • 168:45 - 168:51
    we will stand up for our land tooth and nail
    in the same way you would defend your daughter from being raped",
  • 168:51 - 168:53
    this Fatah supporter told me.
  • 168:53 - 168:57
    If Israelís objective was to isolate
    and rid the Strip of Hamas...
  • 168:57 - 169:02
    ...by dividing further a people
    already split by internal diatribes,
  • 169:02 - 169:06
    then Israel has achieved
    the exact opposite of what it intended.
  • 169:06 - 169:10
    The bombing
    has in part given Gaza back its national identity.
  • 169:10 - 169:12
    The litmus test of this new situation...
  • 169:12 - 169:16
    ...is represented by the muqawama,
    the Palestinian resistance,
  • 169:16 - 169:20
    heroic in its attempt
    to stop the Israeli Army from advancing.
  • 169:20 - 169:26
    The flowing beards of the Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam
    Brigadesí Islamists, Hamasí fighting wing,
  • 169:26 - 169:34
    have fought side-by-side with the scampish, goatee-sporting Marxist
    guerrilla fighters of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine,
  • 169:34 - 169:37
    and alongside Fatahís Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.
  • 169:37 - 169:42
    Only time will tell
    if this newfound unity among the militias
  • 169:42 - 169:48
    is a reflection
    of unity within civic and political society.
  • 169:48 - 169:54
    Leaving behind us the lunar atmosphere
    of Jabal Al-Dardour, denuded of its buildings,
  • 169:54 - 170:00
    we paused before a frowning child
    sitting atop a small pile of rubble,
  • 170:00 - 170:03
    or what was left of his houseís courtyard.
  • 170:03 - 170:06
    We asked him what was going through his mind.
  • 170:06 - 170:11
    In his simple words he seemed
    to be saying that Hamas and its resistance...
  • 170:11 - 170:14
    ...were responsible for this catastrophe.
  • 170:14 - 170:19
    So Fida, our ISM companion
    took him aside in a motherly manner...
  • 170:19 - 170:22
    ...and briefly told him of their history.
  • 170:22 - 170:26
    She spoke of soldiers marching into Rafah in 2004...
  • 170:26 - 170:30
    ...and razing entire neighbourhoods to the ground,
  • 170:30 - 170:34
    exactly as had happened here and now.
  • 170:34 - 170:42
    Back then, there was no Hamas, and Fatahís leader, Yasser Arafat,
    was the designated terrorist, the number one enemy...
  • 170:42 - 170:46
    ...to dethrone and wipe away from Palestine.
  • 170:46 - 170:55
    But rather than targeting Fatahís headquarters, even then
    the Israeli troops struck indiscriminately and killed dozens of civilians,
  • 170:55 - 170:59
    razing Fidaís house in the process as well.
  • 170:59 - 171:01
    Travelling back towards Gaza City,
  • 171:01 - 171:10
    the car in which we drove plunged into a hole
    in the concrete created by the tanksí creaking wheels.
  • 171:10 - 171:12
    The taxi driver turned around and said:
  • 171:12 - 171:17
    "Death was here and left its footprints."
  • 171:17 - 171:23
    I wonder how long itíll take
    for the scars of this land to heal.
  • 171:23 - 172:08
    Stay human.
  • 172:08 - 172:13
    22nd January 2009
  • 172:13 - 172:16
    What her tears have seen
  • 172:16 - 172:25
    I crossed the threshold of my house in Almina,
    facing Gaza Cityís port, after several daysí absence.
  • 172:25 - 172:30
    Everything was exactly as I had left it,
  • 172:30 - 172:36
    the gas tank was still anorexic
    (feeding it is too expensive)
  • 172:36 - 172:41
    and the power had been cut off
    by a perfect strangerís pliers.
  • 172:41 - 172:46
    The pleasant panorama
    that had once been outside my window has changed...
  • 172:46 - 172:52
    ...and no longer raises my spirits
    from the miseries of living under siege.
  • 172:52 - 173:03
    To the contrary, it now rubs salt in the wound,
    a trauma that wonít heal with its reminders of a massacre.
  • 173:03 - 173:11
    Twenty metres from my front door,
    where the fire station once stood, a huge crater now gapes...
  • 173:11 - 173:19
    ...wide for children to mess around in,
    as if to exorcize its horror for their parents.
  • 173:19 - 173:29
    The afternoon call to prayer no longer has the same comforting
    quality of the muezzinís chant that I had grown accustomed to.
  • 173:29 - 173:38
    I wonder where heís gone to, and if he managed to survive
    at the top of one of the few minarets still left intact.
  • 173:38 - 173:46
    The last time Iíd listened to him, this anonymous muezzin
    had had to interrupt his solemnly chanted call to prayer...
  • 173:46 - 173:50
    ...because of a chesty cough.
  • 173:50 - 173:53
    Itís an affliction Iím familiar with myself,
  • 173:53 - 173:59
    as the gases of the bombing in Gaza
    have spared no one.
  • 173:59 - 174:04
    I found a note at the foot of the French window
    looking onto my small balcony,
  • 174:04 - 174:09
    as if it had been put there
    by a friend.
  • 174:09 - 174:16
    The street and garden were littered with these same leaflets.
    They had been dropped from Israeli airplanes...
  • 174:16 - 174:24
    ...warning the Palestinians to stay alert,
    and be aware that the walls had ears and eyes.
  • 174:24 - 174:32
    "At the slightest threatening action against Israel
    weíll be back to invade the Gaza Strip again.
  • 174:32 - 174:38
    What youíve seen these days
    is nothing compared with what awaits you."
  • 174:38 - 174:45
    Some kids in the streets had picked up the leaflets
    and folded them into paper airplanes,
  • 174:45 - 174:51
    seemingly sending the message back to its destination.
  • 174:51 - 174:56
    Over the phone,
    Ahmed told me about a new kidsí game.
  • 174:56 - 175:05
    Until a few days ago, they amused themselves by relighting the
    fires, simply kicking the fragments of white phosphorous bombs
  • 175:05 - 175:09
    scattered all over the Strip.
  • 175:09 - 175:16
    The debris left by these bombs
    has very long-lasting flammable properties.
  • 175:16 - 175:27
    Even when picked up several days after their detonation,
    they can still catch fire if shaken about.
  • 175:27 - 175:34
    The Al-Quds Hospital paramedics
    speak of how they have given up trying to put out the fires...
  • 175:34 - 175:37
    ...provoked by these illegal bombs,
  • 175:37 - 175:42
    their flames seemed to feed off the water
    being thrown at them.
  • 175:42 - 175:49
    "The consequences of all the shit
    thatís been thrown at us in these last three weeks...
  • 175:49 - 175:55
    ...will surface again in the near future,
    with new cancer cases and deformed babies",
  • 175:55 - 176:01
    Munir, a doctor
    at Al-Shifa Hospital told me.
  • 176:01 - 176:11
    Even Gazaís neighbours seem to be worrying about this massive
    use of weapons forbidden by all international conventions.
  • 176:11 - 176:18
    In Sderot, and likewise in Ashkelon,
    Israeli citizens have formally asked their government...
  • 176:18 - 176:24
    ...for clarification regarding the weapons
    that have been used to torment us.
  • 176:24 - 176:30
    Itís obvious that impoverished uranium
    and white phosphorous...
  • 176:30 - 176:36
    ...scattered in such a criminal manner
    all over the tiny patch of land that is Gaza...
  • 176:36 - 176:46
    ...wonít discriminate between Jews and Muslims
    when it comes to provoking generic illnesses.
  • 176:46 - 176:49
    The truce ought to have started by now,
  • 176:49 - 176:55
    but today I was awoken in my bed
    by the deafening rumble of cannon shots from the warships,
  • 176:55 - 176:58
    exactly like a few days ago.
  • 176:58 - 177:06
    Some brave Palestinian fishermen had ventured from the port
    equipped with fishing nets on their tiny boats.
  • 177:06 - 177:10
    The Israeli Navy pushed them back.
  • 177:10 - 177:14
    Nowadays, the only edible fish found in Gaza...
  • 177:14 - 177:19
    ...are the Egyptian cans of tuna
    that came through the tunnels months ago.
  • 177:19 - 177:29
    East of Gaza City two children were blown up
    when playing with an unexploded device.
  • 177:29 - 177:35
    The witnesses we heard spoke of active mines
    in front of the ruins of Tal El-Hawaís houses.
  • 177:35 - 177:41
    some bomb disposal experts
    sent over by Hamas defused them and,
  • 177:41 - 177:46
    judging by the care
    with which they loaded them onto an off-road vehicle,
  • 177:46 - 177:59
    I think the Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades might return that
    message of death straight back to its lawful owners sometime soon.
  • 177:59 - 178:08
    Looking from Naeemaís roof, the Israeli-Palestinian border
    has never seemed so easy to pick out.
  • 178:08 - 178:13
    On one side lie the green hills,
    being constantly watered by the Israeli kibbutzim.
  • 178:13 - 178:20
    On the other you see the parching thirst
    of a land robbed of its water springs and herds.
  • 178:20 - 178:24
    Naeema wished to tell me all about her last few days,
  • 178:24 - 178:30
    a tactile,
    aural and olfactory account of the massacre,
  • 178:30 - 178:35
    considering that young Naeema is blind.
  • 178:35 - 178:44
    The soldiers threateningly ordered her fellow villagers to evacuate
    their homes only a few minutes before storming the place.
  • 178:44 - 178:51
    The men loaded the younger children onto their shoulders
    and ran away, along with their women.
  • 178:51 - 178:57
    Naeema chose to stay
    so as not to slow down their escape.
  • 178:57 - 179:03
    She took refuge in her own home,
    believing herself to be safe,
  • 179:03 - 179:08
    and welcomed her neighbours,
    who had nowhere else to go:
  • 179:08 - 179:15
    three women, an elderly lady
    and a paralyzed old man.
  • 179:15 - 179:21
    Then the tanks and bulldozers came,
    spreading death and destruction,
  • 179:21 - 179:29
    devouring acre by acre,
    until they stopped in front of Naeemaís house.
  • 179:29 - 179:35
    Standing on a small hill,
    the building she inhabits is the tallest in the village,
  • 179:35 - 179:41
    and the Israeli soldiers,
    who found that it was strategically positioned,
  • 179:41 - 179:46
    let themselves in
    and occupied it for two weeks.
  • 179:46 - 179:51
    "They came in and pointed their weapons at us,
  • 179:51 - 179:56
    pushing us into a small room,
    where they locked us up for 11 days", Naeema said.
  • 179:56 - 180:02
    "During that entire time
    they only brought us water to drink twice,
  • 180:02 - 180:07
    and food came in the form
    of leftovers from the soldiersí rations.
  • 180:07 - 180:15
    hey never let us go to the bathroom,
    so we had to relieve ourselves one corner of the room.
  • 180:15 - 180:20
    hey wouldnít let us talk among ourselves,
    and would come in and beat us at night,
  • 180:20 - 180:26
    when, huddled in a circle,
    we tried to gather some strength from prayer.
  • 180:26 - 180:32
    Sometimes theyíd come over and, intimidating us
    by pressing their weapons against our napes,
  • 180:32 - 180:36
    they demanded that we confess
    our alleged support for Hamas,
  • 180:36 - 180:40
    insulting us when we wouldnít comply."
  • 180:40 - 180:43
    At the end of the eleventh day of imprisonment,
  • 180:43 - 180:50
    the international Red Cross finally arrived
    and released the six prisoners from their jailers.
  • 180:50 - 180:55
    "They didnít allow us to pick anything up,
    not even my sunglasses",
  • 180:55 - 181:03
    Naeema related, bringing her story to a close, adding
    that when she and her neighbours returned to their homes,
  • 181:03 - 181:08
    they discovered the thievery carried out by the soldiers.
  • 181:08 - 181:15
    They had taken all their gold trinkets and hidden savings,
    after having destroyed their few possessions:
  • 181:15 - 181:23
    two TV sets, a radio, a fridge,
    and the solar panels on the roofs.
  • 181:23 - 181:29
    I saw tears in this womanís eyes,
    hidden by her dark glasses.
  • 181:29 - 181:33
    They seemed the most vivid
    I had ever seen.
  • 181:33 - 181:37
    In actual fact, what Naeema "saw"...
  • 181:37 - 181:43
    ...is a lot more that any young woman her age
    will ever get a chance to see,
  • 181:43 - 181:53
    if she had the misfortune of being born
    in this tortured strip of land.
  • 181:53 -
    Stay human.
Title:
Stay Human - The Reading Movie (2013)
Description:

Stay Human - The Reading Movie (2013)

22 days of bombing. More than 1200 civilians killed, 400 children. This movie features the complete reading of Vittorio Arrigoni's daily diary, the witness of a massacre in progress during the military operation called Cast Lead, unleashed by the Israeli government against the Gaza Strip's civilians between the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009.
_______________________________________________

Film by Fulvio Renzi
Directed by Luca Incorvaia
Full reading of the book "Gaza - Stay Human" written by Vittorio Arrigoni

With: Alberto Arce | Huwaida Arraf | Massimo Arrigoni | Mohamed Bakri | Ronnie Barkan | Egidia Beretta Arrigoni | Hilarion Capucci | Noam Chomsky | Maria Elena Delia | Norman Finkelstein | Don Andrea Gallo | Stéphane Hessel | Mairead Corrigan Maguire | Luisa Morgantini | Akiva Orr | Moni Ovadia | Ilan Pappé | Roger Waters | Rabbi David Weiss

Co-produced with over 1700 people's support
Shooted in Italy, North America, Israel, Palestine, England, Ireland, France, Germany, Czech Republic
Between April 2011 and October 2012

Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Music by Fulvio Renzi
With: Paki Zennaro | Vincenzo Zitello | Gilad Atzmon | Fakhraddin Gafarov | Marco Messina | Emanuele Wiltsch Barberio | David Boato | Adriano Clera | Romina Salvadori | Gionata Mirai | Yuriko Mikami

www.stayhuman.tv
www.thereadingmovie.tv
www.restiamoumani.com

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Video Language:
Italian
Duration:
03:02:33
Amara Bot edited English subtitles for Stay Human - The Reading Movie (2013)
Amara Bot edited English subtitles for Stay Human - The Reading Movie (2013)
Amara Bot added a translation
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