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And, yes, I DO take it personally: Yes, it brings tears to MY eyes too...!
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Monday, April 14, 2008

Yes, it brings tears to MY eyes too...!

read the following... read it slowly... read it carefully... let the full impact sink in... then imagine yourself living in gaza... imagine that you or a loved one desperately needed medical care, but the ambulance couldn't reach you because someone was shooting at the ambulance... imagine that the only way you could even reach the emergency ambulance crew was through calling a radio station and putting your appeal for help on the air... imagine all that as you sit in your comfortable chair in front of your computer screen with all the conveniences of the 21st-century literally at your fingertips...
"I am bleeding uncontrollably, I need an ambulance." That was not a call to emergency services, it was an appeal broadcast live on radio in Gaza City.

Who knows whether there will ever be an ambulance or not. But this way the ambulance services still hear the appeal broadcast on Al-Iman FM Radio Station, one of few independent radio stations in Gaza. And if the emergency services cannot help, someone else who hears the appeal might.

The ambulance dispatcher announces he cannot get the ambulance to the man. An Israeli bulldozer is blocking the road, and an Israeli tank on a hilltop has been firing at the ambulance, he says. Nobody can say if anyone else got to help the man. But at least his SOS could have been heard.

Appeals again went on air after the Friday attacks on Bureij refugee camp, where the death toll climbed to 16 by the weekend. The deaths included six children among nine people killed Friday. Again, ambulance crews confirmed they could not reach many of the injured. But the appeals were made on radio for all to hear.

A man called from east of Jabaliya refugee camp asking for an ambulance for his wife about to deliver. The radio host asked his location, and that of Israeli tanks. "I can't look from the window to see," he said. "They will shoot me if I do."

A lady called to ask an ambulance to clear the remains of a body lying on the door. IPS confirmed later that it was the body of Abdelrazek Nofal, who was 19. He was blown to bits by an Israeli tank shell.

Someone else called from Bureij asking for ambulance, and for food and water. "My mother needs to be in hospital urgently," he called the radio station to say. Another difficult mission, with the Israeli troops patrolling the area.

The appeals are heard on radio day after day. No one can say what follows the appeals in each case. But the live broadcasts on the radio can be a lifeline – or at the least, a line of hope. Where emergency services and aid agencies are not listening in, the radio then calls them.

"It brings tears to my eyes," says radio host Khaled al-Sharqawi. "I can sometimes hear shooting, and women and children screaming, asking for ambulances, and the ambulances cannot reach them."

how can we allow this to be happening...?

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