11. LIVE from the Gaza Strip: the untold story behind the horror (with Nisreen Al-Khatib from Quds News Network)

Today’s episode is hard-hitting and at times emotional, but really, really important. As the world dissects what’s happening in Palestine, we’re putting aside the politics for now, and focussing on the humans of Palestine: the souls behind the statistics, the reality on the ground, what it’s really like to live and grow up in the Gaza Strip, and what life is like under occupation and under siege.
 
In this episode we talk to Nisreen Al-Khatib, a married, 27 year old mother to a one year old baby boy, living in the Gaza Strip since she was 5 years-old. She is the Co-Founder of Quds News Network and tells her story from the heart.
 

WARNING: This episode has themes of war, violence and terror. 

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 Due to the recent attacks in Palestine, we decided to change our schedule to include this special episode.
 
This was probably one of the most important conversations we have ever had. It was a privilege and an honour, and to be honest, sometimes a little bit scary. We just didn’t know if our guest would live long enough to have this conversation. We recorded this on the day of the ceasefire after Eid.
 
Have a listen, and do leave a comment. Nisreen will be reading and responding. Share this episode and let’s get this story out there.
 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed on these podcasts are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Not Another Mum Pod’s management or of any sponsors. Any content provided by our contributors are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, identity (gender or sexual) club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.

Introduction

Nafisa: We’ve decided not to release our planned episode due to the recent horrendous attacks on our fellow brothers and sisters in Palestine. Today, we will be focussing on the human stories of Palestine, the face behind the souls, the reality on the ground with a view to mobilise our communities to support Palestine in the most impactful of ways.

 

Tasneem: In this particular episode, we are talking to Nisreen – al- Khatib live, on the ground from the Gaza strip. She is a married, 27 year old mother to a one year old baby boy, living in the gaza strip since she was 5 years old. This is a trigger warning to be aware that this episode has themes of war, violence and terror. If you are near children, please put your ear-phones on. 

 

Tasneem: Today, we’re discussing what’s in everybody’s heart, Palestine. Throughout Ramadan, tensions were rising when Palestinians were being restricted in accessing Masjid al Aqsa, the third holiest site for Muslims. Meanwhile, Israeli settlers were forcibly removing Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem. 

 

Nafisa: On the 27th night in Ramadan – the holiest night in the holiest month – Israeli troops stormed Masjid Al Aqsa – the third holiest site for Muslim while unarmed civilians were in prostration, praying to God, in the most vulnerable of positions. Al-Aqsa and the worshippers were attacked using tear gas, skunk water, rubber-coated bullets and shock grenades. Since then, after 11 days of bombardment,  at least 232 Palestinians have lost their lives, including 65 children. 1000 civilians have been injured. 90,000 displaced. 

 



Tasneem: On the Israel side, at the time of recording this podcast, 12 people including 2 children have died. Although the Israeli government has now declared a ceasefire effective in the early hours of this morning, the occupation continues under siege. However, tensions are already rising again. I mean, we don’t even know if Nisreen is going to be able to join the call today. 

 

Nafisa:  A couple of days ago we had this scheduled and Nisreen was online and then after a few minutes she had disappeared it was radio silent. We didn’t hear back from her and Tas and I couldn’t sleep with worry wondering if she was ok and what happened to her. Alhamdulillah the next day we received the message that The internet connection had been very bad since the beginning of the Israeli aggression and in her own words she said it was due to the Israeli fighter jets thkeep bombing the signal towers, affecting our access to a good internet network.

 

On top of that we are witnessing so much injustice from the attacks to the media-whitewashing and the blanket statement of silence or indifference from the world leaders, it was just disheartening to say the least.

 

Tasneem: What’s really killing me is the media bias. They kept justifying the attacks by saying Hamas is attacking with rockets. I kept thinking of that old man in Gaza with a placard that read: 

 

“You take my water, burn my olive trees, destroy my house, take my job, steal my land, imprison my father, kill my mother, bombard my country, starve us all, humiliate us all but I am to blame: I shot a rocket back.”

 

Nafisa: Yeah, that says it all really, that really puts it into context. I think it was Noam Chumsky, that American linguist and philosopher who referred to this story on his article on the assault on Gaza.

 

For me, whenI think of Palesrine, this painful poem:

 

Later that night

I held an atlas in my lap

ran my fingers across the whole world

and whispered 

where does it hurt?

 

it answered 

everywhere

everywhere

everywhere.

 

Written by Warsan Shire

 

If nothing else, we all need to individually, and collectively keep finding ways we can help support Palestine, even if the least thing you do is speak up.

 

On Eid morning, I was elbow deep in cooking and preparing the Eid breakfast, when I got a random call from BBC Asian Network, asking me to come on to their show Big Debate to talk about how the Palestinian attacks have affected our celebrations. I almost said no as I had the kids, the cooker was on, but then realised we can’t criticise the media for not sharing the truth and yet turn down any opportunity to share our side of the truth. I felt like I owed it to the Palesitinians and if it helps in any shape or form, we have got to speak up.

 

Tasneem: I’m so glad you did it, Naf. I mean, that’s exactly why we are here, what this platform is here to do , right? To give everyone a voice – even the voiceless –  and if we can’t use this privilege that Allah gave us, for the greater good, then what’s the point? If nothing else, we can do dua, we can speak up and we can show up. 



 

Nafisa: On that note, let’s hear the real story first hand about living in occupied Palestine, from sister Nisreen al Khattab who is talking to us here, live from the Gaza strip, giving a voice to the voiceless. Assalaamu’alaykum Nisreen!

Discussion points: 

  • Can you tell us what your mother’s aspirations were for your life when she was expecting you?
  • Can you tell us a bit about your life growing up in Palestine? Is there beauty amongst the pain?
  • How old you were when you realised you lived in an occupied state? What were your dreams growing up?
  • What is it like raising a child in Palestine. How do you cope with the constant threat?
  • How do the Israeli’s treat you? How do they treat the Christians who live there?
  • With regards to Hamas one of the largest Palestinian militant groups, how have you found them with civilians? What is the truth about them?
  • Israelis claim that their military gives sufficient warning to Palestininas before they attack. What’s the truth?
  • Does Hamas help deliver any of the social welfare programmes that they originally set out to deliver?
  • Can you tell us  where were you on the 27th Night of Ramadan when Al Aqsa was attacked?
  • As a journalist yourself, cofounder of Quds News Network a media outlet in Palestine – how did you feel when Al jazeera media building was bombed?
  • How do you feel seeing the world mobilised on social media and the international protests across the globe?

Follow and keep up-to-date with Nisreen here:

https://www.facebook.com/nisreenalkhatib94

https://www.instagram.com/nisreenalkhatib94/

https://qudsnen.co/

https://www.instagram.com/qudsnen/

 

Here are some links to learn more about Palestine and how you can help.

Donate to support Palestine: http://Justgiving.com/campaign/medicalaidpal 

 

Watch Mesut Kurtis interview of Nisreen:

https://instagram.com/mesutkurtisofficial/live/17858684489530006?igshid=i1vrsu9lytt  

 

Watch Raef’s interview of Nisreen with Salam Charity: https://instagram.com/mesutkurtisofficial/live/17858684489530006?igshid=i1vrshttps://www.instagram.com/tv/CPBqFWvl4ao/?utm_medium=copy_linku9lytt 

 

Follow the actions suggested on how to support Palesting in the links as the end of this article: https://muslimmamas.com/savesheikhjarrah-an-open-letter-to-anyone-who-has-a-conscience-by-ajmal-masroor/

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