Women in the war zone: Gaza

Kudos to the BBC for publishing an agonizing (and agonized) short interview with Tihani Abed Rabbu, described as “bereaved mother’ in Gaza. Scroll down here to find it.
(But can anyone at the BBC tell me on what basis they placed her interview last and lowest on the page beneath two that seemed far less interesting to me– but that were conducted with, you guessed it, men… And guess what, the first of the men theyfeatured was an outspoken critic of Hamas. I wonder why that placed that one at the top??)
Anyway, scroll on down and read about the anguish of a mother from, obviously, the Abed Rabbu family, whose compound was afflicted so harshly by the Israeli war of last December/January.
Imagine the anguish of this woman, seeing not only the effects the Israeli assault has had but also the effects within her own family of the continuing Hamas-Fateh split– one that has been so assiduously cultuvated by Israel and its western backers.
Here is some of what she says:

    “I’m afraid that after I have lost Mostafa, that I will lose somebody else as well. When my children go to sleep, and I look at them, I start to think ‘who is next – is it Ahmad’s turn, or his brother?’
    “What worries me is the safety of my family, my sons and my husband. My husband is going through a difficult time, a crazy time. He wants to affiliate with Hamas, he wants to get revenge after what they [Israel, I think] have done to us.
    “How do you expect us to be peaceful after they have killed my son and turned my family into angry people – as they refer to us, “terrorists”. I cannot calm my family down.
    “One of my sons is affiliated to [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas, every day he fights with his brothers and his father.
    “If Fatah and Hamas don’t reconcile after this war, I feel like all those people who died, died for nothing, and that the people from both factions have nothing to do with the Palestinian cause – that they are not paying respect to those who died.
    “They should wake up and put an end to this division. Unless they do that, I won’t feel that my son died as a martyr for the Palestinian cause.”

I have reflected for many years now on the importance of the experiences that women residents of war-zones have to go through when the war comes into the heart of their communities and frequently, including in this case, right into their families.
These reflections arose from the experience I myself had, trying to work as a journalist and run a household and co-raise my young children in the heart of the war-zone that Beirut was back in those days. In my husband’s family– as in Ms. Abed-Rabbu’s– there were supporters of both the different sides in the internal Lebanese war. I can deeply relate to her desire that those rifts be healed.
Too frequently decisionmakers in the MSM simply marginalize women’s experiences. But women’s work in holding families together in very tough times lies at the heart of the social resiliency that can either save or break a community that’s in conflict. So it is not only a compelling ‘human interest’ story– it is also at the heart of the big ‘political’ story regarding whether, for example, the people of Gaza or South Lebanon end up bowing to Israel’s very lethally pursued political demands, or not.
Maybe the BBC could, at the very least, elevate Ms. Abed-Rabbu’s story to the top of that page?

4 thoughts on “Women in the war zone: Gaza

  1. Titus

    “One of my sons is affiliated to [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas, every day he fights with his brothers and his father.
    Therefore there must be an Israeli or western agent under the kitchen table assiduously cultivating this family rift.
    BTW, I may have missed your reporting from Iraq Helena, do you have any of the links of your visits to occupied Iraq and what you posted from there or upon your return?

  2. Koala2

    no – they sit at plush green or marble tables far away and coldly make the marionettes play and make their chess moves from afar, in safety of their offices and homes, just like any other imperialist movers and shakers – get a grip and do not put them under the tables of poor Palestinians – get a life

  3. John Francis Lee

    “They should wake up and put an end to this division. Unless they do that, I won’t feel that my son died as a martyr for the Palestinian cause.”
    “They” are of course the US/UK/Israel/BBC who fund the Contras in Palestine, propagandize for them in the West, and push Tihani Abed Rabbu to the bottom of the page and no doubt sometimes under her own kitchen table as they bomb and terrorize Gaza themselves,

  4. Tony Litwinko

    This is a moving piece. Helena, I wonder if you might check out our Viva Palestina-US convoy which is now in Cairo procuring supplies and delivery vehicles for a planned entry in Gaza sometime next week. I am writing from Cairo now and have been posting on my blog. Very little attention, despite some good efforts, has been paid by the US press, and a well respected word or two from you would provide some needed attention. George Galloway was interviewed by Al Jazeera the day we left NYC (July the Fourth) by AP in Cairo when we arrived, and today, Wednesday at the Association of Egyptian Journalists. More information can be found at the Viva Palestina US website as we gather momentum on this second VP convoy. If you send an email I can supply you with local Egyptian phone numbers to call for interviews. Yours in peace–

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