Letter from a Palestinian in Gaza to those Israeli drones flying overhead

drone

Canada is the world’s third largest exporter of drones, after Israel and the USA. Israeli drones, including some with Canadian technology, now regularly fly over Gaza day and night. Their constant buzzing is a reminder to everyone that the Israeli military is watching. Armed drones have the ability to assassinate at will. Nobody knows when or where they will attack. Read this letter to Canadians from our Gaza correspondent….

This is the second in a series of letters to Canadians written by Ahmed Alnaouq, a young Palestinian trapped in the nightmare of Gaza. His first letter, published a few weeks ago, invited Canadians to visit him in Gaza. In this letter, he talks about how Israeli drones keep him and his friends awake with their whine and implicit threat of impending death. 

He calls it “Letter to a drone”.

2 a.m., 4 November 2017
Abdelkareem Acklok Street
Dair Albalh, Gaza Strip
Palestine

Dear drone,

I didn’t want to write you this letter, but I was provoked—you could say I was driven to it – by your incessant nagging, keeping us up all night long. I remember when I saw you for the first time. You were terrifying—tiny, but terrifying nonetheless. It was just days after the launch of what would become a 21-day assault on Gaza in 2014. When I heard your low, persistent whine, I had no idea what you were. Your sound alone caused chills to go up and down my spine. Then, seeing your sleek, silvery shape in the sky filled me with wonder and fear.

ahmedalnaouq

Ahmed Alnaouq, Gaza City, Palestine.

I know you aren’t human, but you are controlled by one. We have seen in the news that the people who control you sip wine or coffee while they shoot us leisurely and remotely. When I first saw the pictures, it looked like the soldiers were only playing games. The handle they use to control you looks just like the joystick for a video game. It’s indeed like they are playing, and we are the game pieces they destroy.

Rumors circulated wildly after your first visit. People said you are the most dangerous war machine ever invented. Some said you can read our minds and when we dream of freedom, you’ll shoot. Comedians said you can see into our very homes, closely enough that you can tell if we are eating fresh or frozen meat at our meals.

I apologize for these inhospitable reactions of some of my people. I know you are pissed at my friends on Facebook, who have been writing sarcastic posts about you all evening long as you settle in to spend the night with us:

But let’s be honest; they are fed up. And so am I. You’ve been hovering over our heads for more than 15 days now.

(If you want to know what its like for us to look up in the black sky and hear you, click here.)

http://elbitsystems.com/Elbitmain/files/Skylark_1_LE.pdf

Israel markets its drones which fly over Gaza as “battle proven”.

We are fed up because you haven’t just destroyed many of our homes, but you also haunt our dreams.

We’re fed up because you killed more than 900 Gazans since 2008, including my brother and five close friends.

We’re fed up because people all over the world sleep to the ordinary sounds of car horns and trains passing, while we try to sleep with your unpleasant buzzing—and with one foot almost out of the bed, ready to flee.

We’re fed up because you don’t limit your buzzing to wartime only; you’re with us even during so-called “peace.” You think it’s your job to watch us 24/7. We need some privacy, some rest.

We are all fed up. Tonight, we’ve forgotten about our dreams of traveling, of having a good job, of receiving visitors like residents of normal countries. Tonight, we want only one thing: Just leave us and let us have a peaceful sleep. Let us dream of blue skies without your shadow, of birds singing without your whining chorus. Let us dream tonight, even if you kill us tomorrow.

Is there any drug good for a drone headache?

My dear drone, I am trying to sleep, so please stop buzzing in my brain.

Yours,

Ahmed

____________

Ahmed Alnaouq is Gaza Project Manager of We are Not Numbers, (WANN) where an earlier version of this letter first appeared. WANN is a writing project aimed at bringing young Palestinian voices to the world.

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Canada Talks Israel Palestine (CTIP) aims to promote a serious discussion in Canada about the complicated and emotional Israel/Palestine issue. We invite comments from readers. Both Zionists and non-Zionist opinion is welcome as long as it is expressed in a respectful way. If you support our educational mission, why not join? Or make a donation? Or learn more about what we do?  Contact us at membership.ctip@gmail.com.

34 comments

  1. Evil people do evil deeds. Evil people make drones. Evil people fly drones to humiliate, destroy and kill. Israel does all the above, is Israel evil. Is this a question, of course they are with help from US and Canada.

  2. I cannot speak to evil or non evil…

    But I can say to Ahmed and all the Gazans how truly sorry I am for all your suffering and for the ongoing misery you suffer because the Israelis sometimes appear to be soulless.

    For what it’s worth, I feel deeply about your suffering and assume some of the responsibility because I am a Jew who in the past supported Israeli behaviour. That is true no longer. I wish for you and all Gazans and all Palestinians a full rich safe life such as my family found in Canada more than 100 years ago and I profoundly wish there were something concrete I could do to help you.

    What I do is what I can do. I speak out consistently and publicly that I wish for you and all Palestinians the same rights, freedoms, peace and stability that I enjoy and that my family enjoys, that most in my country enjoy and I wish it for all those in this benighted world who suffer as you do.

    Hopefully you and your family will sleep well tonight. I’m sorry for your suffering and for any part I might have had in it however small.

    1. Dear Sylvia,

      I am so please to read your comment on my story. And I am very happy that you stand with the victimized and oppressed people no matter their religion is. Jew, Muslims and Christians have always lived in harmony with each other in Palestine before the establishment of Israel.

      I am fully aware that you, as a Jew, have no hand in the Israeli injustice, and I am aware that you can’t just change the world. But, for me, just seeing you sympathizing is more than enough.

      During the last war on Gaza, I lost my brother and five of my friends in one minute; they were hit by an Israeli F16. On that day, I didn’t hope for the destruction of the Israelis, I only wished someone would just sympathize and feel and care for us and our suffering. That day, I didn’t find anyone from the outside world sympathizing, and I felt very bad. Today, I am very please that I see comments of sympathy from others here.

      Thank you so much!

      1. You are very gracious and very kind. I am sorry for your losses of loved ones.

        If we could only get in a room together and just meet over tea and treats, we would find so much in common, so much to love that we would find it impossible to hate and kill. Oh, yes…there would be differences and arguments and disagreements and even anger…but you cannot hate someone and wish them ill once you have hugged them and held their children in your arms.

        Be safe and well…I will pray for Gaza and I will think of you.

  3. Hi Ahmed, love your postings. I spent almost 6 months working in Gaza after Operation Cast Lead and can most certainly attest to and identify with the incessant buzzing from the drones day and night. There are many of us “on the outside” who are trying to improve things for the Palestinian people.
    Our thoughts are with you.

    1. Thank you so much. I am pleased your like my postings. I am sure that your attempts of improving things are vital and very important. I have always believed that being heard releases pain. At this point, I am very happy that people from the outside just hear and care about us.

  4. How about an announcement from the nice people running Gaza that they no longer intend to kill all of their neighbors and overrun their land. As recently as a few weeks ago, the Israelis discovered and destroyed a tunnel that was dug with the intention of aggression. I think if the Israelis were reassured that they were no longer in danger of rape, execution, and robbery that maybe things can begin to get easier. Or does all of that make too much sense?

    1. Dear Tim,

      I have never defended acts of violence. Even when the Israelis killed my brother and my friends, I told my American friend that I don’t wish death or harm upon Israelis. But, my dear, you cannot blame the victims for attempting to defend themselves; you cannot beat a child and not expect hearing screams; you can’t collectively punish 2 million civilian inhabitants of Gaza, just because a few hundreds–Hamas– is ruling them. Come and live in our shoes, and you will never blame us at all. Generations of the Palestinian people are being smashed and obliterated without committing any crime, except being born in Gaza. We are the victims, trust me; not the Israelis. And I swear, I wish nothing, but the best for the innocent Israeli people, and I wish we could live together in harmony.

    2. Hi Tim, Israel’s treatment of Gaza has nothing to do with what Hamas says or does or doesn’t do. There are several reasons for that: 1). Israel worked for 2 decades to separate Gaza from West Bank, this is in order not to let about 2 million votes to be added to the Palestinian voice. What you call divide and rule. Part of last Israeli assault on Gaza was because Hamas and the Palestinian authority were talking to unite.Israel put a stop to it. It will do it again this time if the talks will go anywhere. 2). Israel uses Gaza to divert attention from what it’s doing in West Bank and to tell the world that all Palestinians are terrorists. 3).Israel does not want to totally destroy Hamas, only to weaken them. Every few years Israel uses Gaza to test new weapons, both its own and the US. When Israel sells arms around the world, it advertises “battle tested”. After every assault, arms sells spike. Gaza does not pose any real danger to Israel. It is like comparing an elephant to a tiny bird. 4). Israeli government uses Gaza in order to unite the Israeli public behind it. Every assault on Gaza happened about 3 month before Israeli elections. In conclusion, Israel’s policy makers, previously and at present, are not interested to make peace with Gaza or West Bank. Israel benefits enormously from the situation as it is. It gets billions of dollars every year from around the world, by brain washing all that their safety is on the line. Israel sells billions of dollars to the Palestinians, and anything that it does not have, must go through Israel with great surcharge attached to it. In case of peace, all of these will dwindle and land theft can not continue. As Israeli journalist recently said: Israel absolutely will not change from the inside, only outside pressure may do it. As an example: Did Israel ever stop the land theft with all the atrocities that come with it in West Bank. There is almost no violence there for many years, with the exception of once awhile an individual loses its mind due to unimaginable and non stop atrocities done to him, his family or community. Doesn’t it makes sense that in order to stop any violence, Israel will stop all that creates hatred and desire to hit back. Doesn’t it makes sense that if you want peace, you will not do what is exactly the opposite of peace. If anyone thinks that peace depends on what the Palestinian say or do, is delusional.

  5. Dear Ahmed,
    you have lost a brother and friends and you are still able to see a future without violence. Only strong people can do that. My thoughts are with you and with every person in Gaza under the brutal siege.

    Dear Sylvia,
    you are a role model of intellectual integrity and moral courage. It is very difficult for us, as humans, to change beliefs that we adopted for years. You did that. This makes a difference.

    On a political note, Israel has a problem with the Palestinian people as a nation, and not with a political organization. The ideological agenda to create a “Jewish state” leads necessarily to violence and ethnic cleansing against Palestinians everywhere. Just look at how Palestinians inside Israel itself treated and described by Israeli politicians.

    The Gaza siege is brutal, immoral and illegal regardless of the political choices of Palestinians including Hamas. Here is what UN Human Rights Council has said in its report in 2014:

    “.. lift, immediately and unconditionally, the blockade on Gaza”

    http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/CoIGazaConflict/Pages/ReportCoIGaza.aspx

    Yes, the UN Human Rights Council has said–to “lift, immediately and unconditionally, the blockade on Gaza”.

    One more time, the UN Human Rights Council has said–to “lift, immediately and unconditionally, the blockade on Gaza”.

    Ahmed, your heart is full of love and peace. People like you and Sylvia will inspire others and change the world.

    1. Thank you so much dear. I have always believed in the effectiveness of peace and love over hatred and violence. I am so delighted to have seen you sympathizing with me. Thanks again

  6. I am gradually being forced to conclude that the State of Israeli does NOT want peace or steadfastly refuses to recognize that it does NOT operate as a Democratic State that respects Human Rights.
    The time may be approaching when the only option left will be to boycott Israel and shame the Country and its leadership on the World Stage while turning a deaf ear to its propaganda.

    1. Hey Denny, thanks for your comment. You are hinting darkly at plagiarism. Based on my interchanges with Mr. Alnaouq I have no reason to believe the letter was written by someone else.

      As I indicated in the post, Mr. Alnaouq is the Gaza project manager for We are Not Numbers (WANN), which helps dozens of young Palestinian writers in Gaza, Lebanon and elsewhere improve their journalistic and writing skills.

      I understand that an American woman named Pam Bailey is the overall coordinator of WANN. Are you suggesting Ms. Bailey writes all of the articles that appear over different names? Or only those written by Mr. Alnaouq? Or only this one?

      I would appreciate a clearer statement of your accusation. It would also be helpful to know the information base on which you are working.

      1. Peter,

        It is well known that Israeli supporters trained to change the subject every time the discussion is about facts on ground. I am not sure if Denny is trying to do that, but his comment suggests and leads to that. He does not even mention the Israeli brutal blockade on Gaza which is really the whole issue. Lift the blockade now, Israel, and remove your killer drones. Ahmed and other Palestinians will find other subjects to write about!

      2. I just saw the comment above that is signed Denny Cormier but I can assure you that this is not me who wrote that comment…. in fact, the user has already been deleted…… this may be someone who is trying to pretend that he is me (at least by name)….. I have been a total supporter of the We Are Not Numbers initiative and group from the day it was announced, and I have supported and shared the work of each of your writers…… I also am in total support of their mentors and organizers. And am a total supporter (without any critique) of Pam Bailey’s work with these talented young people in Gaza. Please be assured that this comment is not mine. Although someone may have used my name to attack Pam and others involved with the project.

      3. I hope that it is clear that this was not my comment. I can only think that someone used my name to impersonate me, hoping that a comment like that from me would have a negative impact. The fact is that this impersonator has only encouraged me to work even harder to support the young writers of Gaza – my dear friend Ahmed is among those talented and passionate writers. His efforts empower my own.

      1. Denny and I are friends and I met him many times in Gaza, and we hosted him to WANN many times and he gave wonderful speeches…. I am totally unhappy and shocked with his comment. Why does he say that!!! And Pam is a professional writer and everyone can tell that these comments aren’t written by a professional writer. This is not the way Pam writes at all. This is ME!!!!

    2. Denny, this is Pam Bailey and I never even came to this site until now. What led you to think I was writing for him?

      1. Dearest Pam. I just saw the comment above that is signed Denny Cormier but I can assure you that this is not me who wrote that comment…. in fact, the user has already been deleted…… this may be someone who is trying to pretend that he is me (at least by name)….. I have been a total supporter of the We Are Not Numbers initiative and group from the day it was announced, and I have supported and shared the work of each of your writers…… I also am in total support of your mentors and organizers. And am a total supporter (without any critique) of your work with these talented young people in Gaza. Please be assured that this comment is not mine. Although someone may have used my name to attack you and others…….

    3. I just saw the comment above that is signed Denny Cormier but I can assure you that this is not me who wrote that comment…. in fact, the user has already been deleted…… this may be someone who is trying to pretend that he is me (at least by name)….. I have been a total supporter of the We Are Not Numbers initiative and group from the day it was announced, and I have supported and shared the work of each of your writers…… I also am in total support of their mentors and organizers. And am a total supporter (without any critique) of Pam Bailey’s work with these talented young people in Gaza. Please be assured that this comment is not mine. Although someone may have used my name to attack Pam and others involved with the project.

  7. Someone has used my name in a comment above in an attempt to hurt my dear friend Ahmed Alnaouq from Gaza. I can assure you that this person is not the Denny Cormier who is a dedicated supporter of the Palestinians and whose main goal for several years has been to empower the young writers and citizen journalists of Gaza. I know Ahmed personally and I can assure you that he is a talented and authentic writer. I can also assure you that Pam Bailey is also a long and trusted friend whose work I absolutely support. Whoever used my name to defame either of these amazing people should burn in hell. You may want to note that the person who used my name in the comment already deleted any way to know who they actually are. I can assure you that I am the Denny Cormier who has supported the work of the We Are Not Numbers group from its inception, and I am the Denny Cormier whose friendship with Ahmed and Pam is unquestioned.

  8. I spent 15 months in Gaza beginning in March of 2014, and I was living in Gaza City throughout the 51 day Israeli attack on Gaza during the summer of 2014. I can vouch for the negative impact of drones in the skies of Gaza. The sound of the drones is intolerable – and there is no drug that make them go away…. I heard them from my windows every night….. I heard them as I walked along the sea with my friends. I prayed on many mornings when I walked from my home to Al Shifa hospital – it was not unusual for them to target people who were walking in the street – and although I was headed to the hospital to act as a human shield against Israeli missiles and bombing, there was always a chance that I would be targeted (even by mistake). The sound of the drones is absolutely frightening to many children in Gaza – they are the source of trauma for many of them, because the sound of drones frequently mean that the sound of helicopters and jets and huge explosions will follow. I never want any of my friends worldwide and family members to have to live with the horrors that my friends in Gaza have had to endure – and one of those horrors is the constant presence of drones in the skies of Gaza – I often refer to them as “angels of death” because that is what they mean for the people of Gaza.

    1. Dear Denny,
      You are courageous human rights activist and an inspiration to us all
      I’ve been a long time admirer of your art, you are an amazing photographer with a keen eye to the pre adolescent beauty of boys.
      It’s so unfortunate that Hamas ordered you to leave Gaza and to never come back.

      1. It is nice that this person is concerned about Denny’s freedom in Gaza, the strange thing that the comment does not say anything about the blockade that Israel is brutally imposing on
        2 000 000 people and deprive them from freedom too!

      2. Note to CTIP subscribers.

        Earlier in this string of comments, an “ad hominem” attack was made on our Gaza correspondent by someone pretending to be Denny Cormier claiming (falsely) that an article signed by Ahmed Alnaouq was in fact written by someone else.

        When the real Denny Cormier pointed out the fraud, a second person, using the name Robert Mapplethorpe, then raised another ad hominem, in this case, a not very subtle allegation that photographer Denny Cormier has an unnatural interest in young boys.

        These efforts are dishonest and frankly distasteful. They appear to have been made by people (or organizations) anxious to deflect attention away from what Israel is doing in Gaza (or elsewhere).

        CTIP is very willing to enter into serious discussion with those who defend Israel and Zionism. If you have a serious argument to make, please make it.

        But we ask Israel’s defenders to please leave aside useless, distracting and annoying ad hominem attacks or allusions. They do not reflect well on either Israel or Zionism.

      1. Hey Mr. Sigman,
        I went to Gaza two years ago. I don’t know if I met anyone from Hamas or not.

        You should come with me next time I go to Gaza. You will meet lots of very nice people who are living in very difficult circumstances.You can ask them what they think of Hamas (or anything else, for that matter). I think you will be surprised at what you hear.

        You can even tell them you are Jewish – some will be curious, others will shrug their shoulders. You definitely wont find any hate, unless of course you start telling them that Israel has the right to bomb them, or blockade them, or prevent them from returning to their homes in Israel. In which case, I think they will object.

  9. Peter,
    Not that I doubt it, but would you mind sharing your source for your first sentence? I understood that Canada was, or would be, buying armed drones from elsewhere. How did they get to be the world’s third largest exporter?

  10. It appears that most here are demanding the Israel lift the blockade. Of course, I am sure that the unintended consequences will be HAMS completing their tunnel system, importing far more powerful weapons, and when ready, attacking Israel.

    The even less intended consequence will be Israel reducing the entirety of HAMAS held territory to rubble. As HAMAS will be holding one million Gazans as human shields, expect the shedding of Gazan blood beyond your wildest dreams.

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