(Clockwise from top left) Palestinian journalists Motaz Azaiza, Bisan, Khawla-al-Khalidi and Ismail Jood.
(Clockwise from top left) Palestinian journalists Motaz Azaiza, Bisan, Khawla-al-Khalidi and Ismail Jood.

GAZA: With the territory once again encircled by tanks, the hopes of journalists who have worked fervently to report on Israeli atrocities seem to be dwindling.

This became apparent when many of those reporting from Gaza and further afield wrote ‘farewell messages’ over the weekend, sharing heart-breaking anecdotes of how the world was witnessing their suffering from a distance, but had failed to act.

Motaz Azaiza, who has been documenting the violence since the beginning of the Israeli invasion and regularly sharing updates from Gaza, said he had reached a juncture where he had to prioritise his ‘survival’ moving forward.

“The phase of risking my life to show the world what is happening is now over. A new phase has begun — the phase to survive,” he wrote in one of his Instagram posts.

The message goes on to explain that the only possible exits now are through the north and south of Gaza, both under siege by Israel.

“Remember, we are not just content to be shared. We’re a group of people being killed. We are a cause fighting to survive. How alone we are,” his note ended.

Motaz, a 24-year-old photojournalist from Gaza, initially aimed to showcase the beauty and positivity of his hometown. But when the war broke out, he lost at least 15 family members, but the opportunity to mourn these losses had eluded him thus far, so busy was he in documenting the death and destruction wreaked upon Gaza.

In recent posts leading up to the farewell note, he documented the temporary ceasefire, highlighting how people had seized every available moment of relief amid the difficult circumstances.

Nightmare or reality?

Likewise, Bisan, a 25-year-old female journalist, has been steadfastly reporting on the war since its inception, displaying unwavering resilience and strength. Recently, she shared a poignant message on Instagram, expressing that she has reached a point where she no longer harbours hope for survival.

“I suffer from nightmares that are so close to reality that I no longer can differentiate between reality and a dream,” she said in one of her recent posts.

“My message to the world: you’re not innocent. You as government or people that supported Israel’s annihilation of my people. We’ll not forgive you, humanity will not forgive you. We’ll not forget, even if we die, the history will never forget,” the note concluded.

Ismail Jood, another young journalist found himself overwhelmed by the hopelessness of the situation. Despite being vocal about Gaza’s plight since the beginning of the war, it appears that he has grown weary.

“Our last message: faces have become pale, hope has disappeared, and we will not forgive those who were able to speak the truth and remained silent. This world has proven to us that it is a hypocrite, but our world will be in a second place, a place more just, safer and more reassured by our Creator,” he wrote in his farewell note.

“Congratulations on the testimony, people of Gaza, and congratulations on what is coming. My message to the Arab rulers, today it is us, and tomorrow it is you,” he added.

Ismail has been documenting the distressing and cruel killings of children since the very beginning. He has captured footage from hospitals, where people are struggling to survive amidst the pain. Additionally, he has covered the streets, showcasing the desperate search for basic necessities of life.

Abod, a teenager and among the youngest journalists in Gaza, has been risking his life almost daily to document the atrocities in his city. He also finds himself at a point where he no longer holds hope for survival.

In a recent video delivered in the local language, Abod explains how explosions surround his residence from every direction. He captions it with, “The situation is enough, take it from me.”

Previously, Khawla-al-Khalidi, a freelance journalist from Gaza went through the horrifying experience of witnessing her own house being bombed in Israeli stikes while she was reporting live.

“I cried, of course, then calmed down. A couple of days later, I cried again, then pulled myself together. I knew that this is the situation in Gaza now and that everyone is going through the same experience,” she told Al-Jazeera while narrating the experience of losing her home to Israeli bombardment.

Published in Dawn, December 4th, 2023

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