Al Jazeera Journalism Review

outside image
Palestinians evacuate the wounded following an Israeli aerial bombing on Jabaliya, near Gaza City, Wednesday, October 11, 2023 [Mohammad Al Masri/AP]

The bombs raining down on Gaza from Israel are beyond scary, beyond crazy

As Israel bombarded Gaza for the third night, I found myself closer to a missile hit than I could have imagined


On the third night of nonstop bombing in Gaza, we all stayed up late at my parents’ house: me, my infant son, sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews and parents huddled together in the dark, listening to the sounds of our city being bombed and our people being annihilated.

Finally, we went to bed, out of exhaustion, not because things quieted down.

We had spent hours playing with the older kids, drawing, playing games, telling them the noises were fireworks. I don’t think they believed us.

Whimpering a bit, my baby finally settled into an exhausted sleep, jumping awake with every loud bang and screaming. I had brought him to my parents’ house after our own home was made unliveable by an Israeli missile that hit it while we were out. My husband and daughter were at my in-laws’ house.

Less than half an hour after I closed my eyes, we were woken up by a terrifying noise.

I picked the baby up right away, not really thinking. My body knew we had to get out, and everyone else did too. All of us were running.


'The air was thick with dust - we couldn't see anything'

Within seconds, the air was so thick with dust and the stench of gunpowder, it was unbearable.

We heard our neighbours shouting and crying, we couldn’t tell what they were saying.

We also couldn’t see anything, our eyes full of dust, debris and shock.

This one was so much closer than any we’d ever experienced, the ringing in our ears seemed to echo in our eyes.

How close was that? Whose home was hit?

Stumbling onto the street we looked in the direction that our neighbours were running towards. The building that had been hit was a four-floor apartment building just one down from my parents’ home, a few metres away.

We saw rubble on the street, but not much else because the police asked us to get back in the house quickly. They weren’t sure if that was a “warning” missile or the main attack.

If it was a “warning” missile, that meant that in about 15 minutes, a bigger, more evil missile would land on the same house and obliterate it.

A view of buildings hit by an Israeli airstrike, in Jabalia, Gaza strip, on Wednesday, October 11, 2023 [Hatem Moussa/AP]

The neighbours across the street put their arms around the families that had run out of the stricken building and took them into their homes, and my family trooped back in and gathered on the ground floor.

We looked at each other silently, some eyes glittered with tears. Our nerves were stretched so tight I half-expected to hear them shriek within my body. Would there be another attack?

We heard the sounds of ambulances. Who had been hurt?

How could there possibly be a missile anywhere in the world that was bigger than this one, I wondered. How were humans supposed to endure something that horrible?

After enough time had passed and the dust in the house had settled a bit, we heard people moving around outside and decided to venture out.


'We are the news today'

On the street, dozens of people had gathered around the fallen building, the dazed residents staring at the rubble that replaced their home, history, memories, their very beds – all gone.

We went back inside. There was nothing we could do outside really, so we went back in to look around our dust-encrusted home and belongings.

Dozens of messages and calls from friends and relatives started coming in to ask if we were OK.

My sister said wryly: “We were the news today.” She’s always been known for her black humour.

Unable to speak, I sank onto the nearest sofa holding my baby. Somehow, by some miracle, he had slept through the whole thing and I thanked God that he hadn’t woken up to these sounds.

The kids who were awake were looking at us with wide wide eyes in pale faces. Four of my nephews are less than four years old, and looking at their mothers’ faces I knew that we were all equally helpless to protect them from this trauma.

The sound of bombs continues still, as it did for the rest of the night.

It has kind of become normal, when there’s a pause I find myself waiting for the next one to hit.

Day and night, the house shakes as projectiles hit, destroying lives.

Beyond scary and crazy.


This article first appeared on


More Articles

Covering the War on Gaza: As a Journalist, Mother, and Displaced Person

What takes precedence: feeding a hungry child or providing professional coverage of a genocidal war? Journalist Marah Al Wadiya shares her story of balancing motherhood, displacement, psychological turmoil, and the relentless struggle to find safety in an unsafe region.

Marah Al Wadiya
Marah Al Wadiya Published on: 29 May, 2024
Fighting Misinformation and Disinformation to Foster Social Governance in Africa

Experts in Africa are using various digital media tools to raise awareness and combat the increasing usage of misinformation and disinformation to manipulate social governance.

Derick M
Derick Matsengarwodzi Published on: 22 May, 2024
"I Am Still Alive!": The Resilient Voices of Gaza's Journalists

The Israeli occupation has escalated from targeting journalists to intimidating and killing their families. Hisham Zaqqout, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Gaza talks about his experience covering the war and the delicate balance between family obligations and professional duty.

Hisham Zakkout Published on: 15 May, 2024
Under Fire: The Perilous Reality for Journalists in Gaza's War Zone

Journalists lack safety equipment and legal protection, highlighting the challenges faced by journalists in Gaza. While Israel denies responsibility for targeting journalists, the lack of international intervention leaves journalists in Gaza exposed to daily danger.

Linda Shalash
Linda Shalash Published on: 9 May, 2024
Elections and Misinformation – India Case Study

Realities are hidden behind memes and political satire in the battle for truth in the digital age. Explore how misinformation is influencing political decisions and impacting first-time voters, especially in India's 2024 elections, and how journalists fact-check and address fake news, revealing the true impact of misinformation and AI-generated content.

Safina Nabi Published on: 30 Apr, 2024
Amid Increasing Pressure, Journalists in India Practice More Self-Censorship

In a country where nearly 970 million people are participating in a crucial general election, the state of journalism in India is under scrutiny. Journalists face harassment, self-censorship, and attacks, especially under the current Modi-led government. Mainstream media also practices self-censorship to avoid repercussions. The future of journalism in India appears uncertain, but hope lies in the resilience of independent media outlets.

Hanan Zaffa
Hanan Zaffar, Jyoti Thakur Published on: 25 Apr, 2024
The Privilege and Burden of Conflict Reporting in Nigeria: Navigating the Emotional Toll

The internal struggle and moral dilemmas faced by a conflict reporter, as they grapple with the overwhelming nature of the tragedies they witness and the sense of helplessness in the face of such immense suffering. It ultimately underscores the vital role of conflict journalism in preserving historical memory and giving a voice to the voiceless.

Hauwa Shaffii Nuhu
Hauwa Shaffii Nuhu Published on: 17 Apr, 2024
Journalism in chains in Cameroon

Investigative journalists in Cameroon sometimes use treacherous means to navigate the numerous challenges that hamper the practice of their profession: the absence of the Freedom of Information Act, the criminalisation of press offenses, and the scare of the overly-broad anti-terrorism law.

Nalova Akua
Nalova Akua Published on: 12 Apr, 2024
The Perils of Journalism and the Rise of Citizen Media in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia's media landscape is grim, with low rankings for internet and press freedom across the region. While citizen journalism has risen to fill the gaps, journalists - both professional and citizen - face significant risks due to government crackdowns and the collusion between tech companies and authorities to enable censorship and surveillance.

AJR Contributor Published on: 6 Apr, 2024
Silenced Voices: The Battle for Free Expression Amid India’s Farmer’s Protest

The Indian government's use of legal mechanisms to suppress dissenting voices and news reports raises questions about transparency and freedom of expression. The challenges faced by independent media in India indicate a broader narrative of controlling the narrative and stifling dissenting voices.

Suvrat Arora
Suvrat Arora Published on: 17 Mar, 2024
Targeting Truth: Assault on Female Journalists in Gaza

For female journalists in Palestine, celebrating international women's rights this year must take a backseat, as they continue facing the harsh realities of conflict. March 8th will carry little celebration for them, as they grapple with the severe risks of violence, mass displacement, and the vulnerability of abandonment amidst an ongoing humanitarian crisis. Their focus remains on bearing witness to human suffering and sharing stories of resilience from the frontlines, despite the personal dangers involved in their work.

Fatima Bashir
Fatima Bashir Published on: 14 Mar, 2024
A Woman's Journey Reporting on Pakistan's Thrilling Cholistan Desert Jeep Rally

A Woman's Voice in the Desert: Navigating the Spotlight

Anam Hussain
Anam Hussain Published on: 8 Mar, 2024
Breaking Barriers: The Rise of Citizen Journalists in India's Fight for Media Inclusion

Grassroots journalists from marginalized communities in India, including Dalits and Muslims, are challenging mainstream media narratives and bringing attention to underreported issues through digital outlets like The Mooknayak.

Hanan Zaffa
Hanan Zaffar, Jyoti Thakur Published on: 3 Mar, 2024
Why Journalists are Speaking out Against Western Media Bias in Reporting on Israel-Palestine

Over 1500 journalists from various US news organizations have signed an open letter criticizing the Western media's coverage of Israel's actions against Palestinians. They accuse newsrooms of dehumanizing rhetoric, bias, and the use of inflammatory language that reinforces stereotypes, lack of context, misinformation, biased language, and the focus on certain perspectives while diminishing others. They call for more accurate and critical coverage, the use of well-defined terms like "apartheid" and "ethnic cleansing," and the inclusion of Palestinian voices in reporting.

Belle de Jong journalist
Belle de Jong Published on: 26 Feb, 2024
Silenced Voices and Digital Resilience: The Case of Quds Network

Unrecognized journalists in conflict zones face serious risks to their safety and lack of support. The Quds Network, a Palestinian media outlet, has been targeted and censored, but they continue to report on the ground in Gaza. Recognition and support for independent journalists are crucial.

Yousef Abu Watfe يوسف أبو وطفة
Yousef Abu Watfeh Published on: 21 Feb, 2024
Artificial Intelligence's Potentials and Challenges in the African Media Landscape

How has the proliferation of Artificial Intelligence impacted newsroom operations, job security and regulation in the African media landscape? And how are journalists in Africa adapting to these changes?

Derick M
Derick Matsengarwodzi Published on: 18 Feb, 2024
Media Blackout on Imran Khan and PTI: Analysing Pakistan's Election Press Restrictions

Implications and response to media censorship and the deliberate absence of coverage for the popular former Prime Minister, Imran Khan, and his party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), in the media during the 2024 elections in Pakistan.

Anam Hussain
Anam Hussain Published on: 14 Feb, 2024
Digital Battlegrounds: The New Broadcasting Bill and Independent Journalism in India

New legislation in India threatens the freedom of independent journalism. The draft Broadcasting Services (Regulation) Bill, 2023 grants the government extensive power to regulate and censor content, potentially suppressing news critical of government policies.

Safina Nabi Published on: 11 Feb, 2024
Pegasus Spyware: A Grave Threat to Journalists in Southeast Asia

The widespread deployment of spyware such as Pegasus in Southeast Asia, used by governments to target opposition leaders, activists, and journalists, presents significant challenges in countering digital surveillance. This is due to its clandestine operations and the political intricacies involved. The situation underscores the urgent need for international cooperation and heightened public awareness to address these human rights infringements.

AJR Contributor Published on: 5 Feb, 2024
Media Monopoly in Brazil: How Dominant Media Houses Control the Narrative and Stifle Criticism of Israel

An in-depth analysis exploring the concentration of media ownership in Brazil by large companies, and how this shapes public and political narratives, particularly by suppressing criticism of Israel.

Al Jazeera Logo
Rita Freire & Ahmad Al Zobi Published on: 1 Feb, 2024
Cameroonian Media Martyrs: The Intersection of Journalism and Activism

Experts and journalists in Cameroon disagree on the relationship between journalism and activism: some say journalism is activism; others think they are worlds apart, while another category says a “very thin” line separate both

Nalova Akua
Nalova Akua Published on: 28 Jan, 2024
Silent Suffering: The Impact of Sexual Harassment on African Newsrooms

Sexual harassment within newsrooms and the broader journalistic ecosystem is affecting the quality and integrity of journalistic work, ultimately impacting the organisation’s integrity and revenue.

Derick M
Derick Matsengarwodzi Published on: 23 Jan, 2024
Echos of Israeli Discourse in Latin American Media on Gaza

Heavily influenced by US and Israeli diplomatic efforts, Latin American media predominantly aligns with and amplifies the Israeli perspective. This divergence between political actions and media representation highlights the complex dynamics shaping Latin American coverage of the Gaza conflict.

Rita Freire Published on: 23 Nov, 2023
Why have opposition parties in India issued a boycott of 14 TV presenters?

Media workers in India argue that boycotts of individual journalists are not the answer to pro-Government reporting bias

Saurabh Sharma
Saurabh Sharma Published on: 23 Oct, 2023