Real-Life Accounts from Gaza

It's been a calamitous summer for the people of Gaza. Here at Comma we've found ourselves in a unique position of being able to distribute real-life accounts, diary pieces and other writing from Gazan authors living through Israel's Operation Protective Edge (writers whose fiction we recently published in The Book of Gaza). These moving accounts have been picked up by media outlets around the world and contributed to the global conversation about the atrocity.

The links below take you to some sobering accounts of the daily turmoil that Gazans face, their fears for their families, hopes for the future, and the violent tragedies of living in wartime.

'I do not want to be a number' - Atef Abu Saif in The Slate.
'The Children Have Barely Slept' - Atef Abu Saif in Guernica Magazine.
'We wait each night for death to knock at the door' - Atef Abu Saif in The Sunday Times.
'Life Under Fire: Five Days in Gaza' - Atef Abu Saif in The Guardian.
'Eight Days in Gaza: Life and Death in the Gaza Strip' - Atef Abu Saif's in The New York Times.
'We're OK in Gaza' - Atef Abu Saif in Guernica Magazine
'Without Words' - Mona Abu Sharekh - Guernica Magazine.
'Umm Ahmed' - a short story by Nayrouz Qarmout in English Pen's Pen Atlas
'Tomorrow the War Ends' - Najlaa Ataallah in The New Statesman.

'In Gaza We Are Not OK' - Najlaa Ataallah in AGNI online
'Life in War' - Nayrouz Qarmout in English Pen's Pen Atlas.
'My City Burning Peacefully ' - Nayrouz Qarmout in The Electronic Intifada.
'The First Refugee Camp' - Abdallah Tayeh in Diritti Globali.
'The 14th Night (The Massacre)' - Najlaa Atallah in Diritti Globali
Atef Abu Saif on BBC News 24.
Atef Abu Saif on German ZDF TV.

More updates on everyone's situation can be seen on the COMMA PRESS BLOG.

In other languages:

     Mona Abu Sharekh: Senza Parole
     Najlaa Atallah: La Quottordicesima Notte (Il Massacro)
     Abdallah Tayeh: Il Primo Centro per Rifugiati

17 year old Rana Mourtaja in New Internationalist
(piece assisted by Comma Press)

'Fleeing civilians become targets in Shajaiya', - report by Asmaa Al-Ghoul in Al Monitor.

'Never Ask Me About Peace Again' - Asmaa Al-Ghoul in Al Monitor.

'The voice coming through the PA system spoke of freedom. But for one of the speakers scheduled to appear at the Hay Literary Festival last month, there was no such freedom...' - BookerTalk Blog

'Today Atef Abu Saif and other contributors to the anthology are among the 1.8 million Gazans caught up in the hellish Israeli onslaught on Gaza by air, sea and land...' - The Tanjara Blog


'The Book of Gaza is successful in doing what it sets out to do.' - Gaele Sobott's Blog

'“Why does literature matter? Why is it important?” asks Saif before adding, “A prisoner in a refugee camp looking out to sea in Gaza gave me the answer to this eternal question – he said literature gave him hope.” - The National.

'At a time when the eyes of the world are turned on the battle being raged over Gaza, it seems entirely appropriate to be reading an anthology of stories by writers from the territory.' - BookerTalk Review

'A beautifully presented collection, with a fresh geometric Etch-a-Sketch cover by David Eckersall, is a discovery of Gazan voices, rich with stories and emotion.' - Electronic Intifada.

'Despite Israel’s relentless aerial bombardments, shelling and ground attacks for nearly two weeks, Palestinian writers in Gaza have responded to the latest onslaught by doing what they know – writing.' - Electronic Intifada

' Let's hope that the book reaches a wider audience and manages to fulfil that vitally important task.' - Tony's Reading List.

'A welcome reminder of the universality of human relations' - The Guardian

ales that reflect that depth and the variety and universality of the Gazan experience' - The Irish Times.

Interview with Atef in the Middle East Monitor.

Mention of the Guardian review and Najlaa's writing in Los Angeles Times

Mention of the NYT piece by Noam Chomsky.

Foyles Summer Picks, 2014 
"In a recent article, the editor of this collection, Atef Abu Saif, argued that “when a human being is made into a number, his or her story disappears.” With this showcase of the Palestinian short story, Abu Saif and Comma Press reveal the people and place behind the mortality statistics. It’s a powerful collection with particularly strong showings from Talal Abu Shawish, Najlaa Ataallah and Ghareeb Asqalani, who achieves something truly astonishing with ‘A Flower for David.’ Once again, Comma have successfully brought the richness of Arabic fiction to the attention anglophone readers.”
Gary Perry, Assistant Head of Fiction, Foyles. 


To donate to Medical Aid for Palestines or the Middle East Children's Alliance, follow the links.