(By our correspondent of Gaza Mohammad Arafat)
While walking in Gaza streets and lanes towards my university in the west, I saw something not familiar. I looked around myself here and there. I looked at the houses and I found many houses are constructed partially. I saw the stanchions that support the unconstructed ceilings that have no concrete to be built with were still as they were. I realized that Gaza lacks something is very important for it and its people. I looked at the entrance of a building there and found that there is a guard was guarding it called Abu-Osama who was sitting on two stones that he made like a chair to sit on. He was boiling unsweetened coffee in a small kettle. I came closer to him and said” Hello Abu-Osama”.
He replied and said” Hello Mr. Mohammad, you are so welcome”. I had a seat also of two stones beside him. Then he rushed and brought an empty cup for me to fill it with the coffee after it was boiled. I shared him drinking coffee and we began our chatting about the current situations of Gaza and its problems. I told him that my heart is sad about the scenes of the unconstructed homes and I did not go to university because of that. I asked him that I want to know about cement crisis and about what`s going on and why the houses are not constructed. I asked him to explain to me about this problem.
He began his speech while drinking coffee while I was listening to him calmly.” I was as a guard for many buildings before thins one here in Gaza. I was guarding them until their residents came and live in them. Eight months ago, the owner of this building asked me to be the guard of his building until the builders finishing building it completely. I agreed and began my work. Everything was going alright. One month passed and the Egyptian government blocked the tunnels that the Gazans invented between Gaza and the Egyptian lands. We waited just for less than one month before the Israeli government allowed us to import cement from our occupied lands. But luckily, it just stayed for two weeks and then they stopped exporting the cement for us because of some flimsy reasons. So, as you see now, this home stopped its constructing after the builders finished the basis and the columns of it from that time.”
The guard stopped speaking and nodded his head sadly and then I realized that his mouth had tons and tons of speech he had to pour on my ears. I finished my cup of coffee and then thanked him before he welcomed me again. I was about to leave the building, but the contractor of the building came and asked me to have the same seat again after he introduced himself to me. His name was Abu-Mohammad. He knew that I was doing an appointment with
Abu-Osama about the cement crisis, so he asked me to listen to his story and to try to show the world what`s going on for the contractors and builders of Gaza.
He began his story” I`m the contractor of this building and another one in the east. I had more than twenty workers who were working and enjoying at the same time. They just worked for three years after the tunnels inventing, so all of them are without work right now. Every one of them is sitting with his children and wife. Everyone has approximately six or more children. If we say 20 beat 6, the result will be 120, so there are 120 people are without sources now from the people I know. As I know, in Gaza there are 60000 workers who were working as builders who are without work and sources now. If we say that every one of those workers has about six organs in his family, that means 60000 beat 6 will give us 360000 Gazans are without sources now. This number is just of the people who were getting money from the building work. It`s an unbelievable number. I myself have a big family. I have four sons and four daughters. Three of them go to universities and another three are in Schools. I have two babies who need care and of course this care needs money and even a lot of money, but I say Alhamdulillah, I`m better than others.”
Abu Mohammad began to beg me after finishing his story to transfer his letter to the world and to tell them the truth and to let them know how much the people of Gaza suffer. He asked me to let the world feel what Gazans feel, so I promised him to show others his story hopefully someone can do something for the people of Gaza. I asked him and the guard Abu-Osama to be patient and to think positively not to be pessimistic.
So will the world, especially Egypt, answer the cries of Gaza and its workers? Will the leaders open their eyes and have a look on Gaza and its people? Will they think of the babies and the children of Gaza who are suffering of the slow death? Will they ask and even force the countries that are besieging Gaza to open the ports and to allow us to get the cement easily?
Notice: My father is one of those builders who have big families…..
Done by Mohammad Arafat