Tamer Jarada and his wife Wafaa Dawoud were both born in Gaza. He moved to Calgary to complete his Ph.D. in Computer Science but the rest of his family still lives in the occupied territory.
Every day the conversations with their family living in Gaza get shorter as it becomes harder to find a place to charge a phone.
“When I talked to my dad this morning, he says goodbye every time. The same for my wife. They are saying goodbye. They are just asking us to look after each other and say bye to the kids, that’s the way we end our calls,” said Jarada.
The Calgary couple was in Gaza over the summer and they said the neighbourhoods they used to walk through are unrecognizable now. Dawoud said her sister’s home had been damaged but she survived.
“I was watching the news and I saw her building was destroyed,” Dawoud said.
Jarada’s parents and his uncle’s family are crowded into one apartment because their homes were damaged.
“They said we don’t have any place in southern Gaza. Where can we go? They can’t go there so they stay because they have no option. Streets are destroyed so they can’t even take a car and go there,” Jarada said.
He worries it’s just not possible for that many people to leave. Also not possible, he said, is for two million people living in the kind of conditions those in Gaza are living in and expecting peace.
“I would say 90 per cent of people in Gaza are living day to day, which means if they can’t work today they can’t put food on the table by the end of the day,” Jarada said.
The couple’s families said food and water were running out. The United Nations said it’s become a matter of life and death.
“When I talk to my dad I ask him what are you doing? He said he is just staying and waiting for something to happen. It’s so hard,” said Jarada, his voice cracking with emotion.
Jarada is calling on Canadian politicians to speak out.
“It’s time for the government to act. It’s not about keeping the status quo anymore. Our governments have been trying to keep the status quo for so long,” Jarada said.
On Saturday, The World Health Organization condemned Israel’s repeated order for 22 hospitals in northern Gaza to be evacuated, describing it as a “death sentence” for the sick and injured.
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