Latest News: Posts Tagged ‘mohammed omer’

“Summer Camp Under Siege” MOHAMMED OMER for The New York Times

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

“Balloons emblazoned with an Olympic-style torch bobbed cheerfully in the sky above a swimming meet. For 12-year-old Adam Nairab and the other children on the beach, they provided inspiration. The balloons meant there was more to life than drones, explosions and the threat of sudden death.”

To hear more, visit The New York Times

Vijay Prashad commends SHELL-SHOCKED in a review of recent books on Gaza

Monday, December 14th, 2015

Of the two and a half thousand Palestinians who died in the last attack, over 500 were children. Omer tells their story with poignancy. There is Fares al-Tarabeen (age three months), whose body came to the overworked Shifa hospital. “He was still wearing his diapers,” writes Omer. Umm Amjad Shalah talked of her son, Salman (age 10) who could not let her go, being in terror of the noise of the explosions and the death around him. “Sometimes he screams so loud,” she says, “it almost sounds like he’s laughing loudly.”

To read the rest of the review, visit Economic & Political Weekly.

SHELL-SHOCKED excerpted on Huffington Post

Monday, August 31st, 2015

As shouts of celebration about the cease-fire ring out across Gaza, 10-year-old Thaeer Juda lies in Gaza’s Shifa hospital ICU unit.

He’s badly injured and has had his right leg and some of his right fingers amputated. His left side is only marginally better off. His hands have been shattered, while his face and chest have been pocked by shrapnel that ripped through his little body after an Israeli strike.

Thaeer will survive, but will have to do so without many of the loved ones he expected to know for the rest of his life. He doesn’t know what happened to his mother, Rawia, or his two sisters, Tasnim and Taghreed, nor his brothers Osama and Mohammed. But they are all gone — killed in one foul swoop by the same Israeli strike that landed Thaeer in hospital and will keep him there, long after the “victory” cries outside have died down.

To read the rest of the excerpt, visit Huffington Post.

In the New York Times, MOHAMMED OMER argues that international indifference leaves Gaza in ruins and far from a meaningful peace

Monday, August 24th, 2015

After last summer’s horrors, most Gazans simply want to secure a better life for their children. International donors, including Arab states, must transform pledges into facts. The United States and the European Union must find a moral commitment to assist Palestinians who are striving for freedom and control over their lives.

To read the rest of the piece, visit the New York Times.

“Clear, concise and evocative” Counterfire reviews SHELL-SHOCKED

Monday, August 17th, 2015

This book tells the story of the seven weeks of Operation Protective Edge, launched by Israel in July 2014, from the perspective of the people of Gaza. Each chapter is a journalistic record of what is happening as seen through the eyes of Mohammed Omer. The writing is clear, concise and evocative whilst remaining professionally detached. Within that attempt to provide a detached, historical record, a sense of deep and burning anger shines brightly without ever detracting from the author’s task. That task, it seems to me, as Eduardo Galeano argues in Days and Nights of Love and War (Monthly Review Press 2000), is to ‘make audible the voice of the voiceless’ (Galeano, p.8) and so to expose the ‘distorted reality’ (Omer, p.8) in which the people of Gaza live. In this, the author absolutely succeeds and it is a crucial task as the ‘Palestinian narrative is underrepresented in the media’ (p.10). Not only is this view underrepresented, but the horrific human cost in terms of lives lost and people being forced into abject, inhumane conditions, is rarely if ever told when covering this or any conflict. The inhumanity of violence and its consequences told through real-life stories is an essential lesson about this or any conflict.

To read the rest of the review, visit Counterfire.

Electronic Intifada reviews SHELL-SHOCKED

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

“Shell-shocked” is a term that was used commonly to describe veterans of the First World War suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, the term more commonly used today. One year after the onslaught, the whole of Gaza remains in the cross-hairs, the whole of Gaza remains an open-air prison, and this account leaves little doubt that the whole of Gaza must inevitably be shell-shocked.

To read the rest of the review, visit Electronic Intifada.

“This book will ensure that Israel’s war crimes in Gaza will never be allowed to be swept under the carpet.” Middle East Monitor reviews in SHELL-SHOCKED

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

Timely and filled with harrowing accounts of life on the ground during Israel’s brutal carnage in the tiny, besieged coastal enclave, Omer’s eyewitness dispatches make a profound contribution to our understanding of Gaza’s tragic plight. In 300 pages, Shell-Shocked bears testimony to Omer’s extraordinary professionalism and amazing tenacity to capture in words the horror unleashed by the occupying power, Israel.

To read the rest of the review, visit Middle East Monitor.

“I never lose hope.” MOHAMMED OMER interviewed by TruthOut

Monday, July 27th, 2015

Mark Karlin: Your book is an extraordinary account of a Gazan journalist with a family enduring the 51-day Israeli killing spree both personally and as a journalist reporting on the assault. How did you overcome the fear of possible death – and limitations such as the infrequent availability of electricity – to file such informative and vivid accounts, something akin to a written version of Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica”?

Mohammed Omer: I have known this fear all my life, so far, personally and nationally. If you let the fear of death paralyze you, then you can achieve nothing for yourself, your family, homeland or dignity. You grab whatever chance, whatever time, light and energy to carry on and get the message out to the world. We love our homeland and are proud of our identity; that is always worth defending with my pen or camera.

To read the full interview, visit TruthOut.

SHELL-SHOCKED reviewed in The Independent

Friday, July 24th, 2015

Mohammed Omer’s Shell-Shocked is a vivid series of despatches from what in other conflicts would be called the front line. In the open-air prison of Gaza, though, everywhere is the front line. Or as he puts it, “everyone is running everywhere and nowhere, because there is nowhere to hide”.

To read the rest of the review, visit The Independent.

“Unspeakable devastation” SHELL-SHOCKED excerpted in Truthout

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

This excerpt from Mohammed Omer’s Shell-Shocked: On the Ground Under Israel’s Gaza Assault discusses the reality of life in the Gaza Strip, noting the humanity that persists there against all odds:

Every minute of every day we live in a distorted reality, a man-made catastrophe crafted to protect and enshrine a peculiar manifestation of overt racism that grants privilege and life solely on the basis of religion and race, and then denies it exists. Its purpose is to make the lives of those of us who belong to the non-favored race and religion unbearable. Its objective is to force us to “volunteer” to abandon our country, businesses, family, homes, ancestry and culture. The tool of this persecution is systemic and infects all aspects of life. It ranges over preventing us from rebuilding our homes to military aggression, targeted killings, imprisonment, starvation diets enforced by siege and an array of punishments that dehumanize and strip us of our rights. And then there are the obstacles to our movement— walls and checkpoints for “security.”

And yet, despite all this, we’re still here. It’s true: In Gaza we find ways to survive. Our women recycle the spent tank shells that have destroyed our homes into flowerpots. Students return to bombed-out schools determined to complete their education. Torn books are taped together, pens are jerry-rigged back into service. At night we often study by candlelight. The frequent cutting off of gas, water and electricity is another daily reality of life in The Strip. And so we carry on, focusing on the basics and muddling through with proud determination. We are human, with dreams and nightmares, equally strong and equally vulnerable. We pride ourselves on our self-sufficiency and humbly thank God for the help of others as we hope and pray for justice.

To read the rest of the excerpt, visit Truthout.

SHELL-SHOCKED excerpted in Socialist Worker

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

In an exclusive excerpt of Shell-Shocked: On the Ground Under Israel’s Gaza Assault, Mohammed Omer surveys Gaza one year after Operation Protective Edge and finds two reasons for hope:

I conclude on two positive points: the resilience of Palestinians is intact, despite being constantly hit hard with daily despair and huge unemployment throughout the Gaza Strip. The younger generation do all they can to hold on to their lives and human rights–they attend schools and colleges, and continue to value education highly as a foundation for their future careers, even if very few have been allowed by Israel to leave the Gaza Strip and pursue their dreams. This is the new generation that Israel should be seeking to make peace with, rather than setting up as an enemy.

The second positive point relates to the United States. I can recall my first talks at Harvard and Columbia universities, and in several synagogues across the USA, where most people listened but some came to heckle and shout against the truth being told. This trend is now changing, and there is a stronger connection with young Jewish American people. The tide is turning toward justice and equitable peace. I know it is a slow process and may take years, but it feels right. Change is coming. And that is a good thing.

To read the rest of the excerpt, visit Socialist Worker.

MOHAMMED OMER interviewed on RT

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

RT: What was it like reporting during those 51 days?

Omer: I must say, those 51 days were the most difficult days of my entire 31-years of life. I saw so much during those days. My sleep was from 7:30 till 10 AM in the morning. The rest of the night there was constant bombardment. You could be bombed at any moment. The problem with this attack was that you didn’t know when it was going to end. You didn’t know who was going to be the next target. You don’t know where the tank shell would be landing next. You don’t know if it was going to be yourself, your wife, your son, your neighbor.

To watch the rest of the interview, visit RT.

“Gaza is still struggling to survive.” MOHAMMED OMER interviewed on Democracy Now!

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

“Gaza is still in the same situation as right after the War. The only thing we don’t have are F-16s flying overhead or Israeli drones flying overhead. Nothing has been fixed — not one single home has been built. Gaza is still struggling to survive.”

To read the rest of the interview, visit Democracy Now!.

“The international media has dealt with people killed in the Gaza Strip as numbers. But who are the Palestinians?” MOHAMMED OMER interviewed by Socialist Worker

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

Mohammed’s book tries to tell the human stories behind the figures.

“The book is based on people that I met, events I have survived and attacks I have seen with my own eyes,” he explained.

“The international media has dealt with people killed in the Gaza Strip as numbers. But who are the Palestinians?

“There are the mothers, there are the children, there are the fathers. There is the little girl who got stuck, and her body needs to be dug out of the ruins of her destroyed home. And her brother is alive underneath the rubble—but they can’t get him out under the heavy bombardment of tank shells.”

To read the rest of the interview, visit Socialist Worker.

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