The Palestine Entries: Twenty-six mothers killed

// Entry #9

A fellow activist and, more importantly, an admirable friend gave me two children’s books to donate to a library or children’s center in the Gaza Strip. My mother had some business to deal with at a nearby orphanage, so we brought the books along and requested that they be made readily available to the children.

We were given a brief tour of the orphanage center during our visit. Established in 1949, Al-Amal Institute for Orphans has consistently catered to the needs of many of Gaza City’s children. Social service agencies throughout the world recognize the center’s tremendous efforts and donate all that is necessary to keep the center fully functional. The latest donation is a bright yellow bus from an organization based in the United Kingdom.

During the tour, one of the employees presented an upsetting statistic about the center. Before Israel’s 2008-2009 invasion, the center held 49 children. Afterwards, the center’s population expanded to 75, a twenty-six person increase.

Initially, I regarded the numbers solely as statistics, but I was wrong for being so shortsighted. Twenty-six children left as orphans after the bombardment. Twenty-six children, fifty-two parents. Fifty-two parents, twenty-six mothers.

I gave my mother a long glance. It was a rough walk back to our apartment.

Sami Kishawi


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