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'God has disappeared from this place': Euronews reporter recalls Gaza fear and chaos

Palestinians inspect the damage of destroyed buildings following Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City, Friday, Oct. 27, 2023.
Palestinians inspect the damage of destroyed buildings following Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City, Friday, Oct. 27, 2023. Copyright Abed Khaled/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
Copyright Abed Khaled/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Nebal Hajjo
Published on
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"You do not stop or cry. There is no time for that."

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Euronews journalist Nebal Hajjo has given a first-person account of turmoil on the ground in Gaza, as the devastating war between Israel and Hamas rages on. 

These are his latest words sent out before the internet and communications were shut down on Saturday:   

"I used to believe that justice is blind, but today I discovered that it is also deaf. 

"I opened my eyes in the morning and tried to recognise the place around me. Everything was strange to me. It was not my bed and it was not my closet. It was not anything of me. I looked at the walls, hoping to find some of my pictures hanging, but I did not find anything.

"In the corners of the room, I saw my son’s sleeping face, like a little angel trying to steal joy from a life in which pain had prolonged. Then I realised where I was and how I got here. My thoughts did not give me more time, I had to leave and start my new day.

"A few minutes passed and I was preparing to leave. I tried not to make a sound, but I found my children in front of me looking as if they were asking me what was happening? Where will I go? Will you come back? But I did not know the answer. 

"Their questions remained unanswered. I just looked at them as if I was saying goodbye to them. I tried to smile, but the smile was lost from my eyes and I choked in my heart. Without a word, I passed my fingers over my little son’s head and left.

"A few steps outside people gathered around me. All my neighbours were asking together, what is happening? Are we going to die today? They think I know the answers. That my camera can make miracles and tell stories about them. Just as my smile was lost before, words are lost now. I only found a little child holding to my belt and looking at me with eyes shining brighter than the moon. I passed my fingers over his head and left.

"Without any specific direction, my steps took me. I followed the human flow wherever it headed. It was as if we had all lost the directional compass trying to stay alive. My camera is always ahead of me, guiding my way. My fingers do not stop and keep pressing the recording keys. My head is full of images. My heart is beating quickly. 

"A mixture of everything storms my mind and does not allow me to stop. It's like a seizure. The chaotic madness in which you forget your pain and sorrows. You are alone. You do not stop or cry. There is no time for that.

Euronews Gaza correspondent Nebal Hajjo
Euronews Gaza correspondent Nebal HajjoEuronews

"The place is crowded around me. Everyone wants to tell their story and scream and cry. There is no need to ask. The picture alone is enough. It is as if God has disappeared from this place. That the sky has split open and swallowed the earth.

"I awake from my thoughts. My fingers were still cradling the camera and holding it to my chest because it knew people’s stories and heard their voices. I must return. The world must hear the song of life. A few steps into the neighbourhood that I left in the morning, and the scene is repeated again. 

"The same questions that are still unanswered are repeated. I wanted to run my fingers over the head of that little boy who used to hold my belt, but I found nothing but emptiness. He was no longer there. I wanted to ask but I could not. My tongue did not move and the words choked in my heart. Then I realised that I had no voice."

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