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The Growl

The Growl

What the Gaza conflict has unveiled to me about human struggle

The Wall Street Journal
The aftermath of the al-Rimal neighborhood in the Gaza Strip after recent bombings.

As a mere American, far removed from the complexities of the ongoing conflict, my focus shifts to those caught in the Gaza conflict – the innocent civilians. I was curious about the personal dimensions of the Israeli and Palestinian experiences, illuminating the deep-seated hardships that everyday people endure in the face of an unyielding and relentless war.

I read various articles from teens caught in the middle of this conflict. Their words resonated with me.

An article that deeply stirred my emotions, was Salma Hamad‘s opinion piece on the current conflict through her eyes as a teen from Gaza. I feel like we’ve lately been struggling to hear more Palestinian voices, as they have the same value as Israeli voices. Hamad’s description of her life in Gaza was reality, what we never want to hear.  Reading the gore of Gaza’s reality made me re-think humanity. The situations she explained were frightening because they only left me wondering how I would react if my family and I were in the same circumstances as Hamad’s—seeing constant bloodshed around me. 

Salma stated “even before Oct. 7, children in Gaza were born with the burden of survival. We learned to walk on rubble, avoiding shrapnel-like puddles. Since October, I have lost more friends than has my 78-year-old grandmother. The anguish has become a companion of my existence. If I were your daughter, would you stand for it?”

I read another article from an Israeli teen named Ella Schwartz. I want to point out a difference between Schwartz’s and Hamad’s backgrounds, Ella does not live in Israel but rather visits with family there. Salma has been living in Gaza since birth.  Schwartz has a brother in the military serving for Israel. Sometimes she has to go through processes of not even hearing from her brother for days. Surprisingly, I bet that is normal for many Israeli and Palestinian families.

“The scariest thing for me is my brother was called back to his army base in the middle of Shabbat, and I haven’t heard from him since yesterday because they don’t use their phones,” Schwartz said.

In an article I read by Rachel Alcazar and Elaine Jiang, I can’t get out of my head the number of deaths. It’s actually insane and increasingly messing with my head. If this is messing with my American head this much, just think about the people who are involved.

“Israel has dropped over 25,000 metric tonnes, or 55.1 million pounds of explosives on Gaza, the equivalent of two nuclear warheads, since Oct. 7. Over 11,000 Palestinians have lost their lives,” Alcazar and Jiang said.

In an article by Rhitu Chatterjee, she writes about how a history of trauma affects the children of Gaza. It was upsetting to read about what average young children see in their lifetime of war with Israel. She mentioned that some researchers are concerned that those children who do survive might be scarred for the rest of their lives. But what hit harder was that Gaza had become a graveyard for children. Deaths, kidnappings, disease, you name it.

“According to Palestinian health officials, of the more than 10,000 Palestinians killed in Gaza in the past month, about 4,000 were children. Gaza is becoming a “graveyard for children,” U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said.

This conflict has resonated with me and so many people. Though not intended to be a political issue, this conflict has sparked significant worldwide debate.

What my question is- is it worth removing more lives?

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About the Contributor
Molly McDermott
Molly McDermott, Staff Reporter
Hi there my name is Molly! I've been involved with journalism since 7th grade and I'm excited to continue with it at South Hills. You’ll find me playing club soccer, reading, surfing, listening to music, traveling, playing with puppies, or ranting about additional wonderful things (like my friends). I've been out of the country about 16 times and own a reddish golden retriever puppy. I really recommend seeing other cultures in different countries, it educates you a lot. This year I would really like to get to know more people. 
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