“Let us work together to replace despair with HOPE, fear with human SECURITY and humiliation with DIGNITY”

Gaza parish priest talks about living with fear and uncertainty

The fear is about another war. As tensions with Israel grow, two more protests are planned for this week. Meanwhile, the humanitarian crisis continues with only four hours of power supplies per day and hospitals on the verge of collapse. A summer camp has been organised to remind the Christian community of the hope, love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ.

Gaza – In Gaza one lives in “tension and uncertainty” and the constant fear of a new war, this according to Fr Mario da Silva, who has been parish priest in the Strip for the past six years.

“There is a lot of fear. Sometimes there is an agreement between the parties; they promise to keep the truce. At other times, there are bombings. We feel that war could break out at any time.”

After days of rockets launched from the Strip and Israeli air raids, tensions remain high. This afternoon, new protests are expected along the border. On 5 June, the Palestinians will remember the “Naksa” (the setback), i.e. the Six-Day War and the thousands of people forced to flee as a result of the conflict.

Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation in Gaza is going from bad to worse. Power supplies are limited. “For now, we get only four hours,” said the clergyman. “There is not much hope that we can get more [hours]. When I arrived here people were very sorry because they only had eight hours. Then they were angry. Now, the dream is to return to those eight hours they once had.”

The situation is compounded by the crisis of the health system, which was already under strain before the demonstrations. Now things are unbearable. “I saw the situation with my own eyes. Things are just hanging by a thread. The wounded from the demonstrations are still there.”

“All of this has caused the collapse of the hospitals. There are many wounded people, some seriously injured. Doctors have to amputate feet, legs, not simple flesh wounds.”

In this difficult context, the Church has tried to support and give the Christian community a rest, especially the children.

“Despite all uncertainties we cannot postpone our activities. We have organised a summer camp for children, about 160 with 40 young helpers,” Fr Da Silva said.

“In the summer we have to do many activities because it’s a sad period, it’s the holiday season, the kids are home and do not have anywhere to go. There’s no place to have fun. This is why the Church must come up with various activities with Christians.

“The month of June is with the children, July with the young and August with the families. We organise ourselves this way, offering a bit of fun and rest for people.”

The occasion is not only social but also spiritual. “In the middle of all these problems, we try to preach hope; our hope that is Jesus Christ. He is also an opportunity to gather Christians. We are about 980-1,000. We work with everyone, young people and children. It is a wonderful opportunity to preach the name of Jesus Christ, forgiveness and love among us.”


2018-06-07T13:16:10+00:00 June 7th, 2018|Categories: News|