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Mads Gilbert: Gaza in the First Hour of November 21, 2012


GAZA in the first hour of November 21. 2012   

By Dr Mads Gilbert

In Gaza, Palestine

November 20, 2012


In Jan. 2009 Norwegian medical doctor Mads Gilbert was in Gaza, working at the Shifa hospital, and almost alone supplying world media with reports of the bombardments. See report in his book (with Erik Fosse) Eyes in Gaza (2010) and Wikipedia,


Now he is back in Gaza. Tuesday night, Nov. 20, he sat down at the computer and sent the following report:


Midnight passed. No truce

No rest for arms means no rest for children, for women for humans.

 Drones buzzing like evil insects and we know they will be followed by thunderous detonations. The curtains in the window flicker and I feel the shock waves. All windows are open not to implode and spread deadly swarms of glass. There are so many deadly swarms here in Gaza. Grenade and bomb shrapnel, the drone swarms, swarms of flyers dropped from heaven to threaten further terror against the civilian population.

It was a day of horror.

 How can I describe 13 torn bodies, cut off and torn limbs, charred, toddlers cut in two – they all come to Shifa. With desperate cries for help, screaming in pain. Mothers collapse in paralyzed despair when the dead children recognized.

 We work. Intubate, cut off clothes, cannulate, try to understand where the injuries are where there is still signs of life.

Today there were 24 killed and 189 injured. Not all come to Shifa, but very many.

We lost two "on the table," splinter damage to the pulmonary artery and fatal head injuries. A cava inferior torn off was rescued with the help of a skilled vascular surgeon in the group of 40 volunteer Palestinian doctors that arrived from the West Bank yesterday.

 Solidarity. New alliances among Palestinians. Major Arab delegations whisk through the hospital with shocked faces while thunderous bombings. Unstoppably remind them of the imminence of their political responsibility

 A family with children enters in the morning hours after Israeli jet bombers have crushed the largest bank in the center of Gaza City. Dad is furious, calling for revenge. Children listen, horrified.


Break at 00:44: Hell, now they bomb just nearby us. Serial bombing

How are they able to comfort their children through this night.

I am afraid. Evil seems to prevail.

I do not know whether "the world" understands what this one million prison really is like. It is not possible to find refuge, shelter, escape, flight route, protection. And the same power that keeps everyone behind lock at the same time bombs unstoppably with one of the world's most powerful war machines.

 What would have happened if Michelle Obama had been here this night with her two daughters? Stayed in a house in Beit Lahia in the outskirts of Gaza City, a quarter of paupers, without light, without any security. What if she had come running in here with one of her beautiful children in her arms, penetrated by shrapnel – with no escape? 

Would that have brought change?

 I do not understand Jens, Espen and Inga Marte [Norwegian PM and cabinet members] and all the others who said the right things on fighting terrorism and political violence a short while ago [after Norway was hit by solo terrorist in 2011] – how can they sit there with all their influence and either keep silent or express understanding for Israel's "right to defend itself"?


Defend itself? 

They attack, as they have attacked for the past 60 years.

Did we not learn that injustice must be stopped now, in our time, while we know and can act – not as an archaeological exercise where the hindsight and the cool historic distance makes the discomfort of the betrayal easier to live with?

Do not send more bandages, doctors, lunch boxes and meaningless proclamations.

Stop the bombing.

Open Gaza

End the occupation of Palestine.


Let the kids have peace.

Let mothers breastfeed.

Let old people drink clean water.

Permit fishermen to fish and farmers to harvest.

Let teachers teach and children learn.


Let the youngsters travel and discover something other than siege, blockade and fear.

Let the soothing mildness of a nights sleep wrap like a woollen carpet to end seven years of longing for rest for the people of Gaza.


Then they will not have to defend themselves against an overwhelming power.


The weapons will drop and lose their power. Creating human dignity we create peace, he wrote, Nordahl [Norwegian poet and war hero in WWII].


Gaza, in the night of horror,


00:40 21.11 2012

Mads Gilbert


(Translated from Norwegian by Fredrik S. Heffermehl, Oslo)

Fredrik S. Heffermehl, Oslo, lawyer and author


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