A searing memoir of daily life in Gaza from July 6 to Aug. 26, 2014, when the territory was under constant bombardment by Israel.
Palestinian political scientist, columnist, and novelist Abu Saif (A Suspended Life, 2014, etc.), who was born in 1973 in the Jabalia Refugee Camp in Gaza, describes moment to moment the experience of living under fire. While shells fly in from ships at sea and rockets from tanks on the ground, it is the drones overhead that fill the author with dread. As he writes while breaking the fast during Ramadan, “the drone eats with me.” Abu Saif’s diary shows the horror in detail: the sounds, the smells, the sights. He is a husband and father intent on keeping his family safe, though he knows he cannot. Anyone looking for an analysis of the political situation, a discussion of who started the conflict and why, will not find it here. What the author offers instead is a vivid picture of living surrounded by death and destruction, going to sleep hoping you will awake, fearing for the safety of your loved ones, seeing the fear in your children’s eyes, and knowing that the next bomb could be the one that destroys them all. The diary has been augmented after the fact to provide additional information: when a day’s entry gives the numbers of Palestinians killed, footnotes often give the names of the individuals; maps of Gaza highlight areas under attack, providing a guide to readers unfamiliar with the geography of the territory; and end-of-book notes offer further background. Portions of this diary appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, and Slate, and the book was previously published in England last year.
Readers able to put aside the larger picture of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will find here a very human, up-close, and personal picture of war.