Letter from Gaza

In-depth Report:

As the United Nations urges the world to have a year of celebrations leading up to the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in December 2008, this is a personal letter from a physician in Gaza to a friend and supporter in the UK.

It arrived today, 9th January, the day George W. Bush arrived at Ben Gurion Airport, to talk, on arrival, of the need for Israel’s security (Palestine or its plight, was not mentioned once.) Israel, of course, has defied every United Nations resolution it has been asked to comply with, including that which endorses its right as a State. This short, heartfelt, note is food for much thought and shame. Anything which might identify the writer has been removed, for obvious reasons. Felicity Arbuthnot.

Felicity Arbuthnot

Dear ….

Thanks for the great efforts you’ve been exerting to help us, I am writing so fast as the charge of my battery will be lost while we live in the gloom with the seldomly available electricity.

My children are studying on candles for their exams. Today, a friend of mine, he is the head of pharmacy in the (Ministry of Health) asked for some life saving medications for a cancer patient, the very limited resource that we have were not enough to meet his need, I could not sleep when I went home, thinking that additional victim will die because we do not have money to pay for his treatment.

Two days ago the elevator had fallen at ….. clinic.

Thank God there were no injuries as it had fallen at a height of less than two meters. Our generators are surrendering, I lost one three days ago in ….. hospital and today I need another one for ….. pediatric hospital.

In a time where no vegetables for the hospitals because we can’t cover the suppliers invoice.

This is what we have in Gaza for the new year of 2008. The disaster is also with those who have no bread in their homes, yes bread and I mean it. I know one family like that in Gaza, the father is a cardiac patient, the family is 9 members, two of them are disabled, and their elder son who is a university student found himself the bread winner of this family at once. I swear that they do have nothing to eat unless somebody of the neighbours send them food. “Winter is not that cold in Gaza but it can still chill the bones of children in the primary school of my elder daughter.

The principal of this school sent me a letter saying that they need to fix the broken windows as the wind blows the classes and they have no financial resources. We will see how we can manage that, but this is not the only school. ‘The situation in the local market is just funny, the shelves are almost empty in many of the supermarkets of the poor Gaza …..the people call it here in Arabic “Al-Hesar”, which means the siege. This too is what we have in Gaza for the new year of 2008.’

Yours Dr ….. ‘

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