Hani Biari, 25

"The problem does not lie in the city or the electricity outage but rather on the fact that we got used to this."

One of my friends asked me what it means to be a writer living under siege. In my answer to him I told him it meant never writing again because this siege is a shortcut to our experience as human beings. We, writers and artists in general, need to see, hear, and observe new things to be able to produce.

He is my friend, and I disliked my own response. Such an answer does not reflect who I am.

Dear friend, I wish for the question to be: "What does it mean to be a human being living under the siege?" I dream of traveling not because the world is prettier outside of this city but because I have exhausted the beauty here. I know that God has created the world for us, I wish to see it. I wish to see a lake in a city, I wish to see a river in another. Did I ever try to ride a train? Never, and I really want to.

Living under siege does not mean that you will die of starvation or from lack of water. This siege has killed us because nothing amazes us. We got used to this city, to the electricity outages. The problem does not lie in the city or the electricity outage but rather on the fact that we got used to this.

Hani Biari
Gaza’s unemployment rate is over 40%—one of the highest in the world. Youth unemployment is over 60%.

We walk in the same streets, we wake up, we go to work, we return from work, we meet our friends to do the same things in the same small city, we sleep, we wake up from our slow death, This city repeats itself.

How does this world understand that I cannot visit another city in the same country? How could this happen in this world--it is an ugly world that we have learned by heart. We do not wish to run away from this city. We want it to know what other people know of life and could be at least courageous to tell this city that it does not resemble me and it does not suit me. I want to be in another, I do not want to be next to the coast line, I want to live on the highest mountain.

 

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