(written September 2013)

I wrote the word resilience on a piece of paper and hung it on the wall in front my bed. It was the “clock” I would look at during hard and good times.

In wartime, I gazed at it for long hours. In peaceful times, I looked at it and smiled.
I told my friends how much I love this word, and they said: “You’re just too sensitive!” They didn’t understand what I meant. I didn’t fully understand it myself. But I discovered that I don’t have to understand it, for this word was what I am.
During the war I collected books. I read as much as I could. When bombs fell, I read aloud. It was my own form of resistance. The words in the books filled me with hope that the war would soon be over; that I would be alive. With my family I was silent. I wanted to shout and say No to the insanity of war.
The voice of a man on our street, crying for help as he was dying, still echoes in my ears. One of my friends, a journalist, covered the news. I asked him how he was.
“I’m fine, thanks,” he said, and then started to cry.
It was the third day of the war; people were being killed in the streets.
“I can’t stand taking photos of dead people anymore,” he said. I didn’t know what to say. I used to inspire and help my friends when they were down. But his words and sobs paralyzed me.
What can I say to a journalist who is crying because his memories are now all about death and the smell of blood? I told him that he is doing a great job documenting the truth on the ground and the silent suffering of Palestinians as human beings, and that he should pray and ask Allah to end this war!
I was sad that day in a way that even books couldn’t help me feel better.
When the war was over, I went to the beach to relax. But as I was looking out at the horizon, all I could think of was the war: people who died, helpless cries and tears, my journalist friend. I even thought of Israeli pilots in F-16s – would they regret their actions when they are old? Would they feel shame in the eyes of their grandchildren?
As the sun was setting I collected seashells – my habit when I went to the sea. That day I collected three seashells. I wrote a word on each shell:
Hope Resilience Love
I kept them until my journey to Boston. There, I met an American girl named Amy. We became close friends. She was beautiful, with long brown hair, a lovely smile. But sometimes when I looked in her eyes, I saw sadness.
On my last day in Boston we exchanged gifts. She gave me a black coffee mug. I gave her the three seashells, and told her their story. Later, Amy told me that she had lost her mother. She said that she felt close to me because she noticed how strong I am despite the fact that I live in an occupied country, in a war zone.
People who are suffering feel close to one another, as all tears speak one language. It’s only when we understand the importance of compassion and kindness that we will be able to heal from the wounds of our suffering.
Majd-Al-Waheidi-croppedMajd al Waheidi is a graduate of Al Azhar University in Gaza City in business. She is the New York Time’s Gaza based reporter, and a freelance correspondent for Channel News Asia in Singapore. She works hard to find human interest stories in a place that struggles with lack of information, and tight social and external restrictions and wars. As most of the people in Gaza, she is the descendant of refugees, but likes to define herself as a global nomad. Majd lived through three wars, and covered the last one, in 2014, known as Operation Protective Edge, for several international channels. Majd is a lover of words, different cultures, and music.
1 Comment
  1. veronica@veronicaentwistle.com'

    You bring home how much we all share. To me you bring me a relationship with Palestinians which I would not have. To actualy feel that oneness. Thanks

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