Illustrated Poetry: ‘Oh rascal children of Gaza’

Rafah-born author and poet Khaled Juma wrote a heartbreaking tribute to the children of the Gaza Strip amidst the missiles striking his hometown. At least 506 Palestinian children have been killed since Israel commenced its latest invasion of Gaza on July 8, 2014.

Photograph #1: A Palestinian boy, who fled with his family from their home during Israeli air strikes, bathes his brother at a United Nations-run school in the Jabalya Refugee Camp in the northern Gaza Strip on July 31, 2014. The school is a designated shelter for Palestinians who were displaced by Israel’s offensive. Photo credit: Mohammed Salem

Photograph #2: A Palestinian girl reacts at the scene of an explosion carried out by the Israeli military that killed at least eight children and wounded 40 more in a public garden in Gaza City on July 28, 2014. Photo credit: Finbarr O’Reilly

Photograph #3: A traumatized Palestinian child is comforted by a man arranging care for him in a hospital in Gaza City following an Israeli air strike on July 9, 2014. Photo credit: Momen Faiz

Photograph #4: A Palestinian child pulls out toys from a box at a local market in Gaza City during a temporary ceasefire on August 6, 2014. Palestinian and Israeli delegations met in Cairo with Hamas demanding an end to the siege on Gaza and Israel demanding a demilitarization of the territory. Photo credit: Lefteris Pitarakis

Photograph #5: A Palestinian boy sleeps at a United Nations-run school in Gaza City on July 14, 2014, after fleeing with his family from their home in Beit Lahya. Photo credit: Mohammed Salem

Photograph #6: Doctors tend to injured children while a young girl sitting on her mother’s lap cries at a hospital in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on August 4, 2014. Photo credit: Eyad El Baba

Photograph #7: A Palestinian girl cries while being treated at a hospital in Beit Lahya following after sustaining injuries from an Israeli air strike on a United Nations school in the Jabalya Refugee Camp on July 30, 2014. Photo credit: Khalil Hamra

Photograph #8: Two Palestinians girls celebrate the first day of Eid Al-Fitr on the grounds of a United Nations school in the Jabalya Refugee Camp in the northern Gaza Strip on July 28, 2014. Their families are among the dozens that have fled their homes and sought refuge in the school. Normally, Muslim families in Palestine celebrate Eid Al-Fitr by visiting one another and gifting children with new clothes and shoes. Photo credit: Khalil Hamra

Photograph #9: One-and-a-half year old Razel Netzlream was killed after she was fatally hit by shrapnel from an Israeli air strike on an adjacent home the previous day. Her father carries her body to the funeral in Khan Younis on July 18, 2014. Photo credit: Alessio Romenzi

Photograph 10: A portrait of Shahed Quishta, 8, is fixed to a pillar in her home in Beit Lahya on August 16, 2014, after an Israeli tank fired a shell into the living room. She was killed on July 22, 2014. Photo credit: Khalil Hamra


There are 17 comments

  1. wordsfm

    A heartrending poem with heartbreaking photographs. You know, I watch the news and keep updated with Dr. Bassel Abuward but sometimes find the scale of the death and destruction hard to comprehend. I understand that land is at the heart of the matter, that some throwaway comment on an outdated charter is being used by the IDF as propaganda to somehow justify this horrific war. When will humanity be at the heart of the matter? I fear for the children of Gaza, I pray for them but most of all, I hope for them.

  2. Mark Burpham

    Thanks Sami, every politician in every country should see this and then tell us they are doing all they can. I’m disgusted with the UK government’s silence, but proud of the people who seem to have taken the lead and are trying to end the suffering. I hope peace will come soon so it can be broken with the children’s screams of joy.

  3. Mohamed Shiham

    Please leave those kids alone d’t kill them I beg you please I might be million miles away but I can feel there calling for help, don’t you have a heart what did the kids do to deseave that I d’t care which religion your all are in but I know one thing every religion protecs children. Protecting children is religious lower your weapons great them with love and care they need it. Just for ones lower yo weapons and carry a baby hug them just look in to there eyes and see how much happiness they give to you by caring a baby who need help of us…… I am so sorry I c’t be there to help you but my prayes are with you may Allah help us all amin….

    Mohamed Shiham
    Republic of Maldives

  4. Mares Hirchert

    Thank you for telling in pictures and words the stories of the children in Gaza, making their lives matter to the world!

  5. Bilal

    It breaks the heart every time. It just breaks the heart that one cannot just go there and hug every child to comfort each one of them.

  6. Deanna Elaine Piowaty

    What a powerfully terrifying work. I would love to feature you and this piece in Combustus magazine. ( This is how to reach people: piercing the heart, soul, spirit. May this be instrumental in helping to call attention to and stop this madness. Peace.

  7. lubna kidwai

    The children are in peace. In gardens of peace secure in the love of Allah forever. They have earned jannat in their innocence.
    It is those who caused this who will never have peace. Never be secure now are in eternity.

  8. patjourdan

    While England goes about celebrating the First World war as if it was something out of Shakespeare, these real life actual children are being hunted down. I’m miles away but thinking and praying of you -and all threatened children, all over the world.
    This poem, ‘ Oh rascal children of Gaza ‘ sums it up perfectly, the fleeting magical presence of small children and how they can light up our lives.

  9. Blotto

    Thank you for your oh so moving and beautiful poem. over your heartrending photographs. We must all try to push our governments into helping the Palestinians achieve autonomy. Their suffering is unconscionable. We, in the UK have a responsibility to insist on their original ’67 borders being reinstated. After all it was our Government that created the division of their country to begin with. We cannot lest this injustice and slaughter continue.

  10. Shammas Oliyath

    A heartbreaking one indeed. My sincere prayers for the People of Palestine for their Independence. May Allah give them the best reward for their struggles.

    I have made a video out of this story. Please find it here.

    I have used a background music which I had composed earlier. I hope this poem and the video and the efforts of people of this site and the many others spending their time and energy will help spread the message of the sufferings at Palestine and will wake up the whole world against the atrocities. In Sha Allah…

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