Feb 11: Back home in Telal Howa

Destroyed ambulance beside park-up compound

Destroyed ambulance beside park-up compound

Last night after S’s birthday party, I walked round the corner from Al Quds hospital complex with him to the re-occupied 101 Ambulance Dispatch Centre. (I suffered a momentary sense of homelessness when I went to Al Quds the other day and discovered the temporary dispatch room had returned to its former office identity and the “101” sign was gone from the door.)

destroyed ambulance

destroyed ambulance

101 Dispatch

101 Dispatch

The regular Dispatch Centre is in the Red Crescent complex that they had to evacuate after the inital Dec 27 attacks, because of an unexploded rocket in it. It also includes a storage and distribution centre, and the ambulance park-up, which is burned and blackened, as are some of the ambulances.

I didn’t know, during those crazy days in Al Quds in Telal Howa, that Am, a friend of mine we’d lost touch with, actually was hiding very close to me in his family house there. Like Reem, (who by the way is doing ok in her business studies exams this week) they too were in the line of the tanks and didn’t dare move.

Red Crescent Cultural Centre - housed a theatre & music school

Red Crescent Cultural Centre - housed a theatre & music school

When I finally saw him last week, and my colleague N who stays with University professor Dr Asad’s family opposite the Red Crescent complex, they told me that the houses in that area had again that day received the recorded phone calls Israel sends to Gaza people, with the same instructions as were used during the January attacks: “Your houses will be destroyed – move away from them and go to the city centre”. I’d always thought Telal Howa counted as the city centre. They and many others resignedly stayed home, though I imagine some families exhaustedly packed up again and vacated for a while. Nothing happened in their area, though shelling was occuring in Rafah around that time.

On January 19, the day after the “ceasefire”, I finally walked around this area, and understood just why everyone living in apartment buildings in this area ran to Al Quds hospital…

Telal Howa homes…









Shots thru Doctors Tower window...

Shots thru Doctors Tower window...

...hit foyer wall...

...hit foyer wall...

...and floor

...and floor

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7 Responses to Feb 11: Back home in Telal Howa

  1. Deborah says:

    thank you for everything you are doing..be safe.
    Bye Deborah

  2. LFB says:

    Have you thought of doing a piece for radio [bbc] I wonder? It would be a good thing to send a short piece that they could use on Radio 4, where they had a pretty sharp interview with the Israeli ambassador; and would sympathise I guess with your account. and maybe try a longer piece for a ‘from our own correspondent’ type of programme. It is a long shot, but so necessary to try… maybe you could channel it through your local [UK] radio station?

    • talestotell says:

      During one night early on in the land invasion, we were getting calls from the BBC to do brief voice clips for middle of the night BBC news updates. So they do know about us UK residents over here in ISM/Free Gaza. Apart from that, I tried quite hard to talk with the BBC TV people while they were here about 2 weeks back when journalists were let in for 6 days, and while they expressed interest they didn’t follow through. I don’t think Radio 4 take unsolicited stuff, but if you wanted to try making some calls from the UK, and for example found a researcher interested I would definitely talk with them and see if they wanted an interview or for me to write something. Womens Hour maybe?

      I realise it’s a bit cheeky to put this suggestion back in your hands for the next steps, but lots of people are making suggestions of things I could do and I don’t have the time to run with them all, as even in the tasks I’m already committed to and our daily work here, I’m way behind. So I’m responding this way to everyone. Hope you don’t mind.

  3. LFB says:

    No that is fine, you suggest things that we could do to help. Now I know you are happy with this, I’ll try from this end. may not lead anywhere, but I will try my best. What is the best way to get in touch with you? You have my email address if you want to use it, and care to tell me who/how I should say the bbc could be in touch ?

  4. Christine Grodd says:

    In a couple of hours, I and a bunch of other singers will be singing at an Interfaith Gaza Memorial Service in the city (in Brisbane, Australia). We’ll be singing two songs, one called “I Have a Million Nightingales, whose lyrics were written by a Palestinian poet, and one which is an Israeli peace song, the Hebrew name of which is “Lo Yissa Goy” but we will be singing an English language version of this song which is called “Vine & Fig Tree”.

    The lyrics of the first one, a four-part round, are:
    “I have a million nightingales,
    on the branches of my heart [x2].
    Singing freedom, freedom, freedom.
    Singing freedom, freedom, freedom.”

    The lyrics of the 2nd one, a 2-part round, are:
    “And every man ‘neath his vine and fig tree
    Shall live in peace and unafraid [x2].
    And into ploughshares turn their swords.
    Nations shall learn war no more [x2]”

    Thinking of you and your brave colleages and Palestinian friends in Gaza,
    love from Christine.

  5. A Vawda says:

    Hi hope u wel! Thanks for stil letting us know wats happening in gaza. I ve heard that everyday people are stil being kiled in gaza is this true ? Regarding the letters to the gaza kids every where i tried i got no reply hope i get somewhere with it! Anyone reading this blog knows wat i can do please let me know

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