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1446 محرم 9 | 16 يوليو 2024

Gaza’s Children Teach Resilience: Eyewitness Accounts from UK Arab Doctors

Gaza's Children Teach Resilience: Eyewitness Accounts from UK Arab Doctors
اية محمد 28 April 2024

“They asked him only for pens to draw their liberated homeland.” This was the response of a group of children from Gaza to Dr. Mohammed Shalan when he saw their drawings and asked for more, while Dr. Riyad Masharqa said, “We went to alleviate the suffering of the people of Gaza, and they taught us the meaning of resilience,” describing the steadfastness and faith of the people of Gaza in facing the suffering, while Dr. Khaled Dawas stated that empathy alone is not enough for Gaza in a seminar hosted by the Al-Arab in UK (AUK) titled “Doctors Returning from Gaza: What Was the Experience Like?”

The seminar was held on Saturday, April 27th, at the P21 Gallery in London, and lasted for two hours, amidst a large attendance of Arabs and Britons who interacted throughout the seminar with their questions to the participating doctors.

Meeting with Doctors Returning from Gaza  

ندوة عرب بريطانيا هذا ما تعلمه أطباؤنا من أطفال غزة

The Al-Arab in UK (AUK) met with Dr. Mohammed Shalan, a physician and resident consultant in Ireland, who had extensive experience during the siege of Gaza. He was with medical teams that faced many risks and challenges.

Shalan told the Al-Arab in UK (AUK): “During the period I spent there, I witnessed the greatest humanitarian disaster. Upon entering the hospital, I found thousands of injured people, with no medical equipment in the hospitals, and many of the wounded had contaminated wounds due to staying on makeshift stretchers for months.”

He added: “I had witnessed a previous aggression on Gaza in 2012, and the hospital holds great importance for the people of Gaza. I am not talking here about it being the place where they receive treatment, but there are many families who have no home left, so they remained living in the hospital corridors, which also serve as a source of electricity, and a place where children, despite what they are going through, continue to draw pictures carrying their hopes for a liberated Palestine.”

ندوة عرب بريطانيا هذا ما تعلمه أطباؤنا من أطفال غزة

Dr. Riyad Masharqa, President of the Palestinian Doctors Association in Europe, said that Gaza has been under siege for 17 years, not just for months. Throughout this period, the occupying army has prevented medical supplies from entering, and whatever equipment did enter, which was very little, was brought by volunteer doctors and is insufficient to treat the massive numbers of wounded. Doctors faced shortages in all medical equipment and types of medications.

He also said, “There is an aspect that is not talked about much, which is the patients, not just the wounded. We faced a disaster in terms of those with chronic diseases, as well as for patients with kidney failure, asthma patients, and others. These individuals suffered greatly due to the focus of doctors on serious injuries. The aggression left tens of thousands with serious injuries from its brutal bombardment, making focusing on diseases extremely difficult.”

The Suffering of the People of Gaza

ندوة عرب بريطانيا هذا ما تعلمه أطباؤنا من أطفال غزة

As for Dr. Khaled Dawas, a general surgery consultant, he told the Al-Arab in UK (AUK): “The most difficult thing I faced during my time in Gaza was the stage after treating the wounded. They needed to follow a dietary regimen after surgery, but they couldn’t secure even the most basic types of food, which worsened their condition even after the surgical procedure was successful.”

Dawas added: “The people of Gaza are now experiencing the most severe forms of poverty and the harshest types of famine seen around the world. In countries that have witnessed famines, relief organizations played their role, but the situation is different in Gaza. What is happening now is a genocide that is not limited to using weapons but also through starvation, which is even more cruel. Learning from the people of Gaza the meaning of resilience, they were the ones uplifting our spirits, not the other way around.”

ندوة عرب بريطانيا هذا ما تعلمه أطباؤنا من أطفال غزة

It’s worth mentioning that a large number of Arab doctors have called for opening a humanitarian bridge to deliver medical aid to the besieged territory. Most of these doctors are facing Israeli bombardment around the clock. Doctors who have had the opportunity to enter Gaza provide shocking testimonies about what they witnessed inside the besieged enclave. These testimonies are being used in international courts as reliable evidence of Israeli occupation crimes.


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