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A poor man from Gaza
A poor man from   Gaza
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Setting beside the fire , seeking warmth  in the dark cold winter nights, Abu Rami,43, thinks of all that he has been suffering and wonders if his two daughter and the son whom he left in Jerusalem are feeling warm.  

Aref Abu Yousef, who is called Abu Rami , a father of five sons and two daughters  was born in  Nusseirat camp in Gaza. In 1980s , he travelled to the West Bank and worked as a painter in Jerusalem.

He sat sadly  recounting  that happy times he spent with his  beautiful Jerusalemite wife, two daughters and a son. He said Israeli occupation authorities intensified , in that time, their repressive measures against  Jerusalem residents. They launched a mass manhunt under security pretexts in which I was arrested.

Heartbreaking , he said " I spent three years in Israeli prisons where I suffered all kinds of torment. Israel prison service kept transferring  me from Beersheba  to Ramle prisons and in the end they expelled me to Gaza.

When I returned to Gaza I was distracted , I went to one of my friends in Khan Youns who found me a room to live in. I did my best to bring my wife and three children to Gaza but all my efforts went in vain.

sighing for his  children ," they are in their twenties nowadays."

He rented  an old house and  married another wife and begot  five sons and two daughters. He ekes out a living working day and night as a painter, even though he could barely meet his family needs. 

One day while I was on my work I fell down the scaffold  and had my arm broken and hurt my chine, since then I did not work.  "Even a house, I do not own," he explained.

After that accident he could no more pay the rent of the very old  house in  which his family live. Even the words could not describe that house, the walls are damped  with peeling paint, joists are rotting and ceiling is falling .

His wife's family allocated him an en suit room in their house to live in with his family   in Khuza'a town southern  Gaza strip.

During the Israeli " Cast Lead"  operation against Gaza in 2009, the Israeli air forces bombed his wife's family house after forcing them out . They became displaced again.

He explained that the harsh economic life conditions forced him to work in the border tunnels between Gaza and Egypt  for three years . I was at death door for three times while I was working   underground , in the last accident the rescuers  saved my life miraculously as I was covered completely with earth.

He lost his sole source of income after the military coup in Egypt which destroyed all the lifeline tunnels between  the besieged Gaza and Egypt.