Category Archives: MIddle East

Gazan Young Writers “Mosab and Mohammad”


Once the reconnaissance drones and the airplanes disappeared from the cloudy skies over Gaza. Once the soldiers got back to their military basics. The sky turned into a clear blue sky with the sun shining. The owls with their hoots perched on their branches sadly. The horrible bats groaned and rushed to their dark caves. The birds went out their warm roosts happily singing the songs of victory, inviting other kinds of birds to join them. The reptiles slithered out their burrows towards their lovely lagoons. The moles went out their scooped-out holes in the ground and began a new journey of looking for food. The hidden fish in the bed sea trembled slowly towards the surface of the sea to smell new oxygen mixed with the taste of triumph. The afraid children left their mums` humane laps towards the voice of the fireworks happily not believing what happened. Boys and girls wiped their tears out and smiled. Mothers and grandmothers raised their voices with lovely shrills crying with joy. The atmosphere turned into noise of happiness after it was silent. Everyone is happy and everyone is victorious…
Congratulations Gaza, Congratulations Palestine…

She is my Mother, not my Country. Mr Pen, Gaza

from Mohammad S. Arafat


He entered the office of the passports in the airport in Holland wanting to travel back to Palestine. The officer took his red Palestinian passport from his Palestinian hand and she stamped it. She asked him without a thought” What is your lovely country, Palestine or Holland? ”

“The difference between both is like the difference between the Mother and the Wife.” He smiled.” I can get the wife by choosing her according to her beauty and behaviors, but the mother is another story. I cannot choose her, but I own her and she owns me. I can rest only in her lap. I can cry only on her chest. She is only the one who wipes my tears out when I cry. She stands with me when I`m in distress…. I just pray to my God to take my soul over my Mother Palestine”.
The officer smiled and closed the passport and asked him” We hear that the Palestinians live in bad circumstances over there, so why do you love Palestine?” He retorted” You mean my mother?? Oh well, Maybe my mother does not have the price for buying food, water and medicine, but her humanness is my food, water and medicine. Her heart`s beatings treat me..”.
“Could you please describe Palestine for me?” The officer asked in amazement.
“My mother is not blonde as others,” He smiled another lovely smile,” but you will love her hair and face. Her eyes are not green like the westerns, but you will feel safely if you look at them. He flesh is not as white as others, but it`s shiny. Her clothes are too simple, but she is proud of herself. She does not use gold and silver for her beauty, but her beauty is in her Olive trees and wheat spikes. The Thieves have stolen her, but she is still smiling!!!”
The officer gave the passport to him and said” I see Palestine in T.V and Media, but I don`t see what you described for me!!”
“You saw Palestine as it`s on the Map,” He breathed,” but you did not see Palestine into my heart. You did not see Palestine in our hearts as Palestinians. You did not see how steady she is when we are suffering. You did not see how she sacrifices for the sake of her children. You just see the appearance and you believe it, but you forgot the proverb that says, Appearances are deceiving,”
The officer nodded her head down and entered in a long wave of crying over his words begging him to complete his speech…

Mohammad S Arafat (Mr. Pen) — ‎with ‎Mohamed E. Haneya, Abed ElHadi, Ahmed Obaid and 43 others‎.‎

Not a Dream. Mohammad S. Arafat, Gaza


“There were neither bombs nor rockets. There were no bullets and no buzzing of the annoying drones. The sky was so clear and the atmosphere was really lovely. The sun of the morning was as bright as the moon in the moonlit night.
He looked all round and saw what no one would see. The swans were croaking loudly beautifully, ambling in the blue gleaming ponds around him. The nightingales were filling the skies, smelling the fresh breeze of the morning, flying happily, singing their private favorite songs, making a whistled concert through the air. The beautiful colored goldfinches were going in and out their warm roosts bringing delicious food for their little babies. The fish under the deep sea were swimming and chasing each other through the mazes, making a game as it`s their marriage period. The green high trees made shades for him so he could lie down and eat from the scarce edible colored fruit that he picked from the pendulous bunches over his head. The small beautiful children with their white faces and black gleaming hair were running around the tree that he was lying under, smiling at him, hoping him to come and join them. The white steady horses were racing each other on the golden shore in front of him with their manes flying. The yellow green frogs were croaking loudly in the transparent lakes with their small lovely heads out the water. They were blowing out their cheeks like two bubbles so they could crock loudly.” That, merely, was his simple dream while sleeping before a snatched rocket invaded his room and destroyed his body leaving bowel out. His body was thrown yards away….

feeling Nothing….


A Quick Letter to the Head of the Security Council!!


Note: please notify if  source of the above picture is known so that permission can be granted and acknowledged. Thanks, John

A Quick Letter to the Head of the Security Council!!
For the Desk of:
His Excellency, Mr. Bankemon
The head of the Security Council
New York
From the Desk of:
Mr. Pen
A Gazan Victim
A Palestinian citizen carries the hoarse voice of the people of Gaza to let the world hear it.
Dear Sir,
Thank you for letting me take just ten minutes from your precious time. Thank you for allowing me to have the rights to write this letter for you, your Excellency.
Dear Sir, I don`t know where to begin and even how to begin writing you this piece of words. I don`t really have enough power to let my pen write the suitable words for you, your Excellency. Dear sir, I`m a simple citizen from Gaza, Palestine like anyone lives in this stricken city, if it`s a city. We have the same pain and the same suffering. We have the same status and we all are one belongs to our widow mother Palestine.
Dear Sir, I know and everyone knows that we have the rights to speak up and to seek our stolen freedom. We have the rights to live like anyone in this world and to find our imprisoned joy. We also have the rights to breathe clear oxygen and to eat the least food. We have also the rights to travel and to study like any simple citizen. And those rights, of course, are called human rights and everyone must have them. So where are those rights? Sorry sir if I made you angry at me, but that`s because I`m forced to say that. Forgive me please.
Dear Sir, what shall we do to get our rights? What shall we do to live like others? Why are we prevented from life? Are we from another planet called a planet of strangers? Are we slaves? Why is it inevitable to live under control? All Gazans and I have many whys to ask, but my pen would be exhausted from mentioning them.
Dear Sir, I used to live, like all the families in Gaza, with my family in safe and sound under a simple home. Everything was alright and we were happy enough. But from the beginning of the current brutality on Gaza, I would never call it a war, I left my home. I left my books and my pens. I left everything that I used to live with. I left what made me happy . Why does that happen? Are we terrorists? Are we murderers? I don`t think. Dear sir, I`m sorry if my words annoyed you, your Excellency, but please let me tell you what happened with me as a Gazan like what happened with most of the families here.
Dear Sir, before leaving my home, I have seen what no one would see or even dream of. I have seen what made me sick for more than a week. Shall I tell you what I have seen and witnessed? Sorry if you don`t want to hear, but my pen forces me to mention it.
Dear Sir, I was sleeping in my bed dreaming of my prospective future, like anyone in Gaza, that I would build. I was dreaming of getting the master from any great country like USA, UK, Turkey or Malaysia. I was dreaming of how I will feed my family when I get a suitable job outside Gaza after lacking the jobs here. That beautiful dream was interrupted by my mother when she cried out a warning at me in a morning during this aggression” Wake up dear son and hurry up”. I woke up directly without a though and rushed towards my window. I slapped my forehead when I saw the massacres in front of my eyes in our street. The skies were as dark as the moonless night even if it`s day. The atmosphere was full of gunpowder, so that forced me to close my nose. The black burnt bodies of women and children were spread everywhere in that desolate street. Women where running without their babies not knowing whether they would die or live. Elders were creeping like children not finding anyone to help them. The men with their black faces were looking for their lost children under rubble. The homes all round my home were destroyed. My attention got rapt after what I have seen. Suddenly, my dad came quickly and picked me up and then we rushed towards the stream of the refugees. We began our tiring journey as others to an unknown safe shelter to stay in.
Sorry dear sir for making you sad, but I just want to know why that happens to us. Are we animals? If we are animals, I think there must be institutions for the animals` rights. If we are not animals, so who we are? Why does that happen? Sometimes I think of making suicide or hurting myself. I feel that I`m hopeless in this life here in Gaza. I feel that I have no goals from living this life. Shall I live or die? What shall I do, your Excellency? Shall I make a suicide or shall I wait? If I want to choose the second choice, until when shall I wait? What can I do? Please I need your advice, your Excellency. It`s not just me saying that, but all the families in Gaza are in the same position of suffering and even more than I suffer.
Dear Sir, I want to know when the innocent Gazans and I will achieve our dreams. Will I get the master in one of the big countries? will I get a good job? Please advise me and let me know what to do.
Dear Sir, sorry if I stayed too long writing my words. Sorry for annoying you again, your Excellency. But please let me ask you the last question that all Gazans wish to hear its answer from you, your Excellency. Dear Sir, until when will we stay under aggression? When will we get our least rights? When will we get our human rights? When will we get our stolen freedom? When will our children get their imprisoned childhood? When will they smile and live like others?
Finally, I would appreciate you, your Excellency, for paying your precious attention to my simple letter.
Thank you very much
A bunch of greets from Gaza, Palestine and its people.
Mohammad Arafat (Mr. Pen)

A Picture of Life in Gaza (Three months before war 2014)

From Mohammad Arafat


Living in Gaza has many different pictures and scenes. It has tragic sad pictures and happy ones. No one can doubt that many Shakespearean tragedies happen in Gaza. Torturing is still torturing, killing is still killing, besieging is still besieging and bombing is still bombing, but that cannot prevent us from speaking about the beauty of Gaza. Away from talking about political speech and the traps of it and the bad things that it results, I want to mention and to speak about the beautiful side of the young Gaza, so I made a debate with my heart leaving my mind a side. We began to look at and to flip all the pictures of this city, the sad and the happy, and the good and the bad until we found a beautiful picture that portrays the beautiful simple life and the atmosphere of this Holy city. We finally agreed to write about that picture to show the fabulous sweet side of Gaza. We chose that picture which can let readers fly and swim in the core of imagination that they will never get bored of.

Gaza is a city located 19 miles north of Egypt. It’s considered as the only way that links Asia with Africa. Many ancient traders talk about the profits of this city and the importance of its place. It has a long golden shore with a beautiful glittering sea called the Mediterranean Sea. This sea has an old seaport called (Mina’ Ghaza). Many tourists and visitors come to this city to enjoy its fabulous beautiful places like the Al-Emary Al-kabeer Mosque in Sheja’eia lane, barqouq castle in Khanyounis, Al-Basha castle museum in the middle of Gaza and especially the seaport in the west of Gaza. The simple life of Gazan people is accepted although there are many wars and clashes can interrupt their life and their children’s. They live as others as nothing threat them because they know their fate so they have no fear.

When Gazans wake up every day at dawn after hearing the caller of the Al-Fajr prayer and having ablution, they go to the mosque asking God to pour from his mercy on them and their families and to give them the appropriate livelihood they wish. The atmosphere at dawn freshens prayers’ spirits and minds. The fresh breeze expels the sad atmosphere in Gaza lanes and replaces it with a happy one. Purity of prayers lightens the dark street that the power abandoned.

In the morning and after an hour from dawn, the white pure Gazan moon disappears saying good bye to the orange young sun after shaking his hands and hugging him. The sun lightens the dark silent innocent homes and shelters of poors asking them to begin their lively day. It appears and welcomes the energetic proud workers that go to their work and the hopeful little pupils that go to their schools to begin a lovely day of working and studying.

The sun lightens the nests of the cute tiny birds pulling them to fly out their nests and to begin a concert full of twitting and chirping and to start a trip full of happiness and vital work. Children of those birds wake up after a long journey of sleeping and dreaming of the breakfast ,that they will have, under their mothers’ smooth light bodies. The mothers fly under the fading sun of the morning after awaking their children looking for some worms and grains for the breakfast on the brown fertilized lands and among the old long trees of olive, orange, and lemon. They look for their targeted food among the Gazan farmers who wipe the sweat from their heads by their tired hands and among the rusty axes that the farmers use for plowing the lands.

After filling their stomachs with live worms and fresh seeds, the mothers go back to their nests safely hopefully that the food is enough for their entire families. In the afternoon and when the trees have no shades, the fading sun turns into firing ball that warms the pure glancing Mediterranean Sea water forcing the swarms of fish to wake up and to travel happily towards the golden wet beach of Gaza for the fishers to fish. The fishers begin their fishing by the name of God so he offers them the flaring fish that they and their families dream of.

Before the sun gets exhausted and tired and before he prepares his luggage to travel, he watches the workers who go back to their homes finding their children waiting for their hugs and kisses. He then waves his hands to them saying ,see you tomorrow.

In the twilight, the sky turns into red and the sun becomes so tired so he disappears asking the moon to appear dancing under the sparkles of the stars and lighting the dark homes and lanes in the clear night in order to let the innocent Gazans sleep and dream as they want and as they wish.
This is a simple life of Gaza

Done by: Mohammad Arafat

A strange question!!! Mohammad S. Arafat. Gaza


I was chatting with a new friend from Australia after adding me on Face Book. It was a very long conversation with lots of questions and answers about Gaza and its people. He asked me a tremendous number of questions and I answered all of them. The first question that I was asked, after I told him that I`m a Gaza, was” Where does that place locate?”
I smiled a little bit and sent him a smiling face. And then I asked him instead of answering his strange question” Have you ever seen mutilated children full of blood spread in the ground and under rubble in the Media?”
“Yes for sure. I have seen many of them, but why do you ask?” he retorted.

Now it`s my turn to answer his first question” So here Gaza locate”. The friend stayed silent for more than two minutes; however, I thought that he would unfriend me directly. After the two minutes have gone, he sent me another strange message” How can I come to you and kiss your forehead??” and then he sent me a crying face. I was shocked and cried a little bit and said to me “we are known by our blood. What a miracle”.
I`m not kidding when I say the people of Gaza are the greatest and the bravest in all round the world. I don`t say that because I`m one of them, but our rare behaviors forced my pen to write these humble words. I must admit that we are the bravest in all the sides, from the men to women and from the youngest to eldest. We all are one person called Gaza and our widow mother Palestine.

The second question that he asked me after crying” Tell me more about Gaza please!!”, I answered him without thinking” We are the greatest and the bravest people in all over the world”. He stayed silent again for a while and asked me” How come?”
My fingers typed directly as if I entrusted them my mind” Lets first speak about our men. When I speak about the Gazan men, I speak about the LIONS of Palestine. They are our honor that many countries missed these days. They are the first and the last defenders who protected our boarders and our families from the oppressive enemy. They stayed more than thirty days resisting the enemy. They did not know the taste of food except having three dates every day. Our men stayed at their homes and lands and refused to evacuate them in order not to let the despoilers steal them.

Beside of our men, there are our great women who refused to be the victims of the murderers. They have done what no one did. Many of them did not sleep during their nights staying beside their sick and injured children and husbands in the protective edge operation on Gaza. Many of them did not cry over their children and stayed patient when they were killed. Most of them returned to their destroyed homes under the danger and looked for food and clothes under the rubble for their children. They did not eat for days to save the food for their families. They breasts got dry and empty of milk and that did not stop them from feeding their children. I must say that they are the LIONESSES of the LIONS of Gaza.

I cannot deny that our children are brave as well even if they are children. They did not resist like the men and the women, but they did a lot of things that brought the word HUMANITY back to the dictionary of the human rights. Our children used to drink from the grimy water and the water of the toilet while the other children are drinking coca cola and Pepsi in the biggest restaurants in the world. Many of our children got killed in the sake of their countries while the others are enjoying their time in the amusement centers and cinemas. Our children studied under the destroyed schools refusing the let the enemy makes them illiterate and the other are asking their parents to let them join special schools. Our children see the death follows them in every moment and every step. The bloody sharpened dagger of the enemy follows them whenever they try to smile even if a small hidden smile. The joy of our children is imprisoned inside the jail of silent of the leaders of humanity. So I must consider them the SONS of the LIONS who will lead the humanity of the world after they missed it.

Mr. Pen( A pen for Palestine)

“As the occupying power in Gaza, Israel is legally accountable for the welfare of the population”

I quote from an article “The catastrophe inflicted on Gaza–and the costs to Israel’s standing”. Under international law, as the occupying power Israel is legally accountable for the welfare of the population.

Generally countries build up their defence systems in the light of threats from other powers who similarly spend huge fortunes on increasingly sophisticated armaments. Arms industries are also significant earners and enlist political leaders to help sell their wares indiscriminately. Even royalty is dragged in on their account on diplomatic missions. The Palestinian territories have no match for Israel’s economic and military might.

In the past it has been possible to some extent for the Israeli Government to rely on secrecy to cover its activities. The availability of social media has changed all that so the figures for casualties in Gaza have been plain for all to see:

“Of the fatalities whose identity and status have been verified so far, 86 percent are civilians, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Of those tabulated in its most recent update, 226 are members of armed groups; 459 are children.”

When in 1985/6 Mordechai Vanunu told the Sunday Times about Dimona and the highly dangerous nuclear arsenal held by Israel the official position was neither to confirm or deny the situation. It seems that although facts are there clear for all to see this is still the position. You pretend you didn’t see it. While this is harder and harder to sustain it remains a position shared with many of Israel’s supposed allies in the United States and Europe. As the United Nations speaks of “war crimes” it will be interesting to see if there is a variation in changes to policy of different states. Certainly rhetoric is changing markedly as there appears to be much less willingness to defend the indefensible in many quarters. As far as the people are concerned demonstrations have erupted far and wide with tangible effects on the BDS movement targeted at Israel’s economy, particularly where firms are operating on stolen Palestinian territory.

“It is—as usual—a matter of elementary simplicity to dispense with those declared objectives and the mendacious protestations and justifications Israel has fabricated around them. Gaza is not a sovereign state firing rockets across an international frontier: it is an occupied territory held under tight Israeli control. Sealed off by land, sea and air, even its population registry remains in Israeli hands. Internationally recognized as the occupying power in Gaza, Israel is legally accountable for the welfare of the population whose very capacity for life it has been obsessively reducing to ruins. And in any case the sequence of events leading to this bombardment was triggered not by rockets from Gaza but by the recent Israeli crackdown in the West Bank, which culminated in the burning alive of a Palestinian teenager by Jewish fanatics—and, beyond that, five decades of grueling military occupation.”

Note: Interesting to see in the Independent’s article on arms sales that supply to “Israel and Palestinian Territories” accounts for nearly £8,000 million, well over half the total, yet there is no marker re. concerns for human or civil rights! What, we might ask, is the division between Israel and the Palestinian Territories? Were rockets supplied to Gaza, or stones to be thrown in the West Bank?

As civilians die drone manufacturers are laughing

The only pain that the Israeli Government and it allies, the arms manufacturers and suppliers feel is in their pocket. It is reported that shares in an Israeli based company have risen sharply during the conflict between Israel and Gaza. As with earlier attacks on Gaza arms manufacturers like Elbit Systems regard it as a laboratory for perfecting their trade in death and destruction. One such system called om/elbitmain/area-in2.asp?parent=3&num=36&num2=36″ title=”Perfecting Hermes drone system”>Hermes has reportedly been used on Gaza.

Engines for drones are manufactured here in the UK in Shenstone, West Midlands at UAV, only a few miles from where I am sitting and where regular vigils are held with prayers and meditation in solidarity with past and future intended victims – many, many innocent women and children right now in Gaza.

Many businesses world wide invest in Israel activities on stolen Palestinian land and some are getting increased attention. French based Veolia is one such attracting attention from Dumpveolia. Veolia are getting worried and appear to be moving away from their Israeli business.

This week in Birmingham a demonstration succeeded in closing a Sainsbury’s store in Union Row due to their sourcing of goods from occupied territories. Demonstrators have returned to UAV in Shenstone.

Bibi rattled and riled

While the established media are still prevaricating about what is going on in Gaza, we the ordinary people take to the streets and social networks and see that what is happening daily are war crimes. Still the politicians and sycophantic journalists are saying “maybe” war crimes have been committed. Looking at posts on Facebook and Twitter there’s no “maybe” about it.

In the first place the secrecy beloved by states like Israel and agencies like the NSA and GCHQ (which Edward Snowden recently declared is worse than the NSA – good grief!) is harder to maintain. Israel still maintains it isn’t nuclear power after Mordechai Vanunu blew the whistle in 1986 in the ungrateful Sunday Times. (it now barely utters a word about the man who subsequently spent 18 years, much in solitary, and now another 10 held in Israel against his will. 58 MPs invited him to Britain last month but the Sunday Times was virtually silent, apart from a couple of paragraphs).

That the social media counts is shown by Netanyahu’s (aka Bibi) reaction by offering bribes to young people with scholarships when they tweet something favourable to Israel. I call that scraping the barrel. Hard to stomach as it may seem Hamas also recognises that the world is at last seeing what has been happening to the Palestinian people under occupation and is seeking a long term end, not the capitulation that Israel and supporters such as the US and British Governments would wish. Even the UN seems to accept that scenario. As Ban Ki-moon deplores the shelling of the UN school in Gaza where at least 13 were killed he is reluctant to apportion blame to Israel.

One commentator guaranteed to get Bibi rattled and riled is Daniel Barenboim, holder of Israeli and Palestinian nationality. He can claim to offer both an informed and balanced view on Gaza and stating the obvious – that a military solution will never solve anything – speaks to everyone.

“Israel has the right to….”

10429287_877684545593807_4737092620179463038_nMohammed Dawoud shared ‎أيمن العالول‎’s photo

US Defence Secretary John Kerry is asserting that “Israel has the right to… defend itself”. What does this statement imply given the information that is now coming in from Gaza. Are the sophisticated weapons held by Israel, bank rolled by the US, supported by other western governments defence weapons consistent with defence? Earlier attacks on Gaza using white phosphorus and depleted uranium made commentators ask if the Israeli defence industry was using the residents of Gaza as guinea pigs in the use of new and increasingly deadly technology.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) did not deny using the shells in the conflict. “As a rule, the IDF only employs weapons that have been determined lawful under international law, and in a manner which fully conforms with the laws of armed conflict,” a spokesperson said in response to a request for specific comment on the deployment of flechettes.

Do they believe their own propaganda?

Israel believes it has the right to flout international law, and does so with impunity. It holds a stockpile of nuclear weapons and continues to hold Mordechai Vanunu in Israel against his will for telling the world they were held at Dimona, supposedly a textile factory. Vanunu believes that nuclear power is dangerous for the future of the world whoever holds them. Israel’s secrecy compelled him to speak out. Now we hear NATO deploys Israel’s non-existent nuclear war heads on submarines gifted to Israel by the German government. This would give Israel the capability of a nuclear strike anywhere on the planet. US President JFK was strongly opposed to Israel’s possession of nuclear capability.

Israel takes the right to confiscate Palestinian land, to demolish Palestinian houses and olive groves. Yael Dayan, former member of the Knesset and daughter of the Israeli General Moshe Dayan, believes Israel should return to the 1967 borders. I had the pleasure of meeting her in Tel Aviv in 2004 when she spoke passionately about peace and the rights of Palestinians.

Israeli leaders believe they have the right to do whatever they want, and because there is little said by their partners in the world of big finance they get away with – well literally – murder. Genocide. How long can world “leaders” sit by staying dumb particularly when the people they are supposed to lead rise up and demonstrate their concerns about the treatment of fellow human beings in the Israel apartheid state.