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Gaza Youth: We Demand to be Seen, Heard and Supported

People gather near a destroyed building following an Israeli air strike in Deir el-Balah, central Gaza Strip, on May 12, 2023.
Mariam Mohammed Al-Khateeb
13 May

Thirty-three Palestinians have been killed in the five days of Israel's extensive bombardment on the besieged Gaza Strip. Gaza is home to 2.2 million Palestinians, half of whom are children. At least six Palestinian children have been killed in Gaza in the latest aggression.

Living in Palestine, between the realms of dream and reality, is a constant struggle. Our daily lives are filled with anxiety, uncertainty, and loss. We carry two bags wherever we go - one for school or work, and another for our identity papers, just in case. We exchange kisses with loved ones, not knowing if they will be the last ones.

In Gaza, everything can change in a minute. The sound of explosions, the sky turning red, and the increasing number of deaths are constant reminders of the fragile and fleeting nature of life. Children cry, and parents mourn their loss. The night is filled with terror, and everyone runs away, leaving behind their possessions and homes

Youssef (19) was a college student with a dream of pursuing a university course. Mayar (10) and Ali (8) were young children excited to go on a school trip with their friends.

19-year-old Dania's fiancé, Mohammed Saed (left), Brother and sister Ali, 8, and Mayar Tariq Ibrahim Izzuddin, 10 (right)

Dania (19) was preparing for her wedding day. But their dreams and aspirations were shattered by the violence that plagues our land.

Miral (10) lost both her parents and brother Youssef, leaving her alone with only her memories and a lost doll.

Our daily lives are filled with uncertainty, and our dreams are overshadowed by the constant threat of violence and destruction.

As Palestinians, we cannot even open the news without the fear of traumatizing our children. We hear the sound of explosions, see the sky light up with fire, and witness the horror of innocent children losing their loved ones.

The reality we face every day is not a nightmare but a living nightmare. We are trapped in a place full of blood, destruction, martyrs, and sacrifice. We struggle to survive, to hold on to hope, and to dream of a better future.

This is the story of Palestine. Our pain, fear, and trauma are real, and we demand to be seen, heard, and supported. We do not want our dreams and aspirations to be shattered by the violence that plagues our land. We want to live a life free of fear and violence, a life where we can dream and achieve our goals.