New Internationalist

500 dead: ‘Mr Obama, do you have a heart?’

gazamed [Related Image]
Mads Gilbert, centre, and other doctors treat a child. Facebook under a Creative Commons Licence

Mads Gilbert, a doctor in Gaza’s largest hospital – al-Shifa – writes an open letter as the Palestinian death toll rises steeply.

Dearest friends,

The last night (19-20 July) was extreme. The ‘ground invasion’ of Gaza resulted in scores and carloads with maimed, torn apart, bleeding, shivering, dying – all sorts of injured Palestinians, all ages, all civilians, all innocent.

The heroes in the ambulances and in all of Gaza’s hospitals are working 12-24 hour shifts, grey from fatigue and inhuman workloads (without payment at all in Shifa hospital for the last 4 months), they care, triage, try to understand the incomprehensible chaos of bodies, sizes, limbs, walking, not walking, breathing, not breathing, bleeding, not bleeding humans. HUMANS!

Now, once more treated like animals by ‘the most moral army in the world’ (sic!).

My respect for the wounded is endless, in their contained determination in the midst of pain, agony and shock; my admiration for the staff and volunteers is endless, my closeness to the Palestinian sumud [steadfastness] gives me strength, although in glimpses I just want to scream, hold someone tight, cry, smell the skin and hair of the warm child, covered in blood, protect ourselves in an endless embrace – but we cannot afford that, nor can they.

Ashy grey faces – Oh NO! Not one more load of tens of maimed and bleeding, we still have lakes of blood on the floor in the ER, piles of dripping, blood-soaked bandages to clear out – oh – the cleaners, everywhere, swiftly shovelling the blood and discarded tissues, hair, clothes, cannulas – the leftovers from death – all taken away… to be prepared again, to be repeated all over. More then 100 cases came to Shifa in the last 24 hours. Enough for a large well trained hospital with everything, but here – almost nothing: no electricity, water, disposables, drugs, operating room tables, instruments, monitors – all rusted and as if taken from museums of yesterday’s hospitals. But they do not complain, these heroes. They get on with it, like warriors, head on, enormously resolute.

And as I write these words to you, alone, on a bed, my tears flow, the warm but useless tears of pain and grief, of anger and fear. This is not happening!

And then, just now, the orchestra of the Israeli war-machine starts its gruesome symphony again, just now: salvos of artillery from the navy boats just down on the shores, the roaring F16, the sickening drones (Arabic ‘Zennanis’, the hummers), and the cluttering Apaches. So much made in and paid for by the US.

Mr. Obama – do you have a heart? I invite you – spend one night – just one night – with us in Shifa. Disguised as a cleaner, maybe. I am convinced, 100 per cent, it would change history. Nobody with a heart AND power could ever walk away from a night in Shifa without being determined to end the slaughter of the Palestinian people.

But the heartless and merciless have done their calculations and planned another dahyia onslaught on Gaza.

The rivers of blood will keep running the coming night. I can hear they have tuned their instruments of death.

Please. Do what you can. This, THIS cannot continue.

Mads Gilbert MD PhD
Professor and Clinical Head
Clinic of Emergency Medicine
University Hospital of North Norway

Mads Gilbert MD PhD
Professor and Clinical Head
Clinic of Emergency Medicine
University Hospital of North Norway
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Hospitals under fire

Since Mads Gilbert wrote this letter on 20 July, Israeli fighter jets have shelled Gaza’s Al-Aqsa Hospital killing at least five people and injuring 50. The hospital was hit on Monday afternoon and is the fourth to be bombed since Israel’s military offensive began on 8 July. Medical staff are planning to evacuate the remaining patients but with hospitals deemed legitimate targets by Israeli forces, there is nowhere safe left to go.

On 17 July Israeli soldiers shelled Gaza’s El-Wafa Rehabilitation Hospital, a specialist hospital which treats long-term injuries and physical disabilities. With other hospitals either full or destroyed, these patients had to be evacuated to Mujamma al-Sahaba al-Tibbi, a private clinic that lacks vital equipment.

The number of Gazans killed since the start of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge now stands at over 500. 

This is the second article in our mini-series on Palestine.

Comments on 500 dead: ‘Mr Obama, do you have a heart?’

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  1. #1 atif 21 Jul 14

    well, obama does not have a heart but instead got welcoming orifices for isreali insertions

  2. #2 Jim Newsham 21 Jul 14

    Awesome awesome assessment by one who knows. I am tired of listening to fatuous Israelis, Americans & Brits present their sorrow (always, always preambled by 'no-one wants it this way'). They are brutally unconcerned with the massacre -I am deeply disappointed by Obama -a man voted in on the backs of refugees & the forgotten. You have our deep sorrow but it is not enough and we have failed the beautiful people of Gaza. Obama and so many in the West have left the real, living world behind for a terrible, terrible chess game. Their souls are lost. We hold you in our memory.

  3. #3 Joanie Whitmore Patel 22 Jul 14

    This Massacre of UNARMED INNOCENT CIVILIANS must be stopped immediately.
    Please protect these Palestinians from anymore harm. The Israeli government is evil.

  4. #4 Ross Lewis 22 Jul 14

    Free Gaza from Hamas

  5. #5 Vas 22 Jul 14

    End The Siege!

  6. #6 sarah 25 Jul 14

    ’mr. Obama’??? disguised as a ’cleaner, maybe’??? YOU ARE SPEAKING TO OUR PRESIDENT HERE! our Black President, to which you are suggesting he disguise himself as a 'janitor'?? cuz he's black? YOU FOOL! and you wonder why?
    it's this show of DISRESPECT from you, doc (sic), that you may want to rethink in order to get the shelling stopped!
    this is not Obama's war...this is Netanyahu's race purification...look at his 2000 member/filled concentration camps with sudanese nationals! we didn't build that. he did! we aren't slinging bombs at you. netanyahu is! put the blame where it belongs.
    it's this kind of disrespect that makes me search a dictionary for the definition of 'sympathy'...oh, there it is, between 'shit' and 'syphilis'.

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