Skip to main content
Amnesty International UK
Log in

Life in Gaza - We are Human

AI UK staged a silent vigil in solidarity with civilians in Rafah outside Downing Street to draw attention to the plight of some 1.4 million Palestinian civilians who are at acute risk in any full-scale Israeli military assault on the city, 14 February 20 © Marie-Anne Ventoura/AIUK

By Areej AlGhazzawi

Where are we going? Our future is unknown. We struggle from day to day under Israel's vicious assault on our ability to live.

Before October 7, I could smile despite the endless obstacles imposed on our blockaded people. In our tiny spot on our shared planet, with poverty levels through the roof, I'd suffer but rarely complain. Now, we don't even have a roof.

Before October 7, I worked hard to complete my studies at the Islamic University of Gaza. There was a sense of a future despite the imposed hardships of apartheid and occupation.

Then everything changed. On October 7 2023, I woke to the sounds of missiles - it's a tragedy that I even know this sound. At first, I didn't understand what was happening, or at least not its scale.

Since then, I've become displaced in time and space. Somehow, I'm still here, but I lost two of my best friends, Malak (20), and Naqa’a (19).The fear of losing my loved ones never leaves me. The anxiety of the current attacks is all-encompassing.

Starvation and disease are also everywhere. These silent killers don't make the news like the bombs do, but they're just as deadly.

I hate what this genocide is doing to our students. Our academic education is being destroyed, setting us back as a people for decades. This is how colonisers have always operated against indigenous communities. As Mandela said, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." No wonder Israel is trying to starve our brains.

Amongst this catastrophe, I am embarrassed to talk out loud about my turmoil. My daily migraines, for instance, have intensified due to the loud sounds of the Israeli warplanes and drones, the lack of water, and the absence of pain relief. I can't escape this crushing feeling, and maybe I must find a way to make peace with the pain.

I also feel stupid for even mentioning the loss of my beloved pens. It seems small, but they remind me of all the hard work I put into achieving my bachelor degree in economics and accounting education. I saved a few and constantly check my backpack to ensure they are okay. They symbolise who I am and what I could be - I want to keep them.

I wonder if world leaders, like your Prime Minister, think we are strong enough to face the pain of loss so many times. Do they think we can continue to stand in the face of brutal starvation, to sleep in a tent that doesn't protect us from the coldness, rain, or harsh sun? 

I don't want these so-called leaders to see us as super-human, I want them to see us as humans.



Areej Alghazzawi is a junior accountancy student at the Islamic University of Gaza. She hopes to become a teacher and an accountant. She had one year left of her studies before Israel's attack put her hopes on hold.

She is currently displaced in Rafah and, along with her family members, struggling every day to survive.

About Amnesty UK Blogs
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
View latest posts