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

Palestinian refugee from Gaza: ‘I dream of a safe life‘

Suhair Anastas lived in Gaza city until four days ago. She was part of the group of Palestinians who met with Pope Francis on Wednesday morning to share their stories.

Thanks to her Canadian passport Suhair Anastas was able to flee Gaza together with her 16-year-old daughter four days ago.

She is part of the group of Palestinians who met Pope Francis on Wednesday morning in the Paul VI Hall before the General Audience.

Speaking to Vatican Media, she said all those present had different stories to tell but they all ended in the same way: “The people in Gaza are dying.“

Q: What did you say to the Pope this morning?

Actually, at the gathering that we all had, everyone was just telling the stories of what they’ve gone through. Everyone had a different story, but they all end up the same: people are dying, houses [are collapsing] over kids, and you’re losing your family.

I guess I was one of the lucky people sheltered by a church, but at the same time, it wasn’t a safe place. Nowhere in Gaza is safe. There were people who were in the church who would go out to try to get some food for those in the church. And you’d always keep thinking ‘What if anything happens to them on the way? ‘

You just go to sleep not knowing whether you will wake up the next morning because of all the bombings going on all around.

A terrifying experience 

It’s really a bad experience and I wish none of the kids, babies or elderly had to go through it. I wish we could help them all but that’s the guilt you feel when you leave there. You really feel guilty leaving them all behind.

After we got the courage to leave the church and go to Rafah, the church planned that two of the patients in the church, who needed emergency hospital care, be taken to the south. We were supposed to keep driving, but then the military stopped us and demanded we return the car.

We started walking. At a time when you are supposed to have a safe passage, there was fighting, there was the exchange of fire, there were bombings. You don’t know whether they are close or far, but you can hear them. And everyone was always scared. You’re not allowed to look back. You just keep walking, holding your hand up with a white flag. For the kids, it was scary.

The seven-year-old that was with us, every minute she’d say, ‘Mama, are we going to die?’ It was a very devastating experience.

I’m happy that we left. I’m happy that we were able to leave, but there are a lot of people there who are still there. I don’t know if they will live or not.

Q: What do you dream for you and your family?

A safe life. I never dreamt that we’d leave everything and move out of Gaza. It was hard for my kids just being there and not having their dad.

After all that, we just left and now we have nothing. All that reminds them their dad is there and now they don’t have anything. I don’t think anyone will be able to tell you that we have a plan for the future after what we’ve been through. You can’t really comprehend what’s happening, so it’s very difficult to say, ‘I want this.’

Everyone wants the best for their kids, the best life, the best education. And I hope that will be possible.

I hope it will be possible to go back to our houses and live there, I dream of a safe life.

By Beatrice Guarrera | Vaticannews

2023-11-23T20:49:05+00:00 November 23rd, 2023|Categories: News|