|ruins of the el-Wafa Hospital, Gaza|
by Samer Badawi
Today, I went to Sha’af, a community that sits just west of an Israeli tank unit — the same one, presumably, that flattened it to the ground. Six-story buildings stood my height. Corrugated tin hung mangled from phone cables. And everywhere the faces – anguished, ashen faces – looked for signs of what was.
Just then I found one — at the foot of an elevator shaft, a concrete hull angled against a wall. It was a teal wall, the color of something I had seen once. As I struggled to mine the memory, I found a paper beneath a rock, a half-shredded document that read “El Wafa.”
And there it was: the place where Dr. Basman Alashi, executive director of the El Wafa Medical Rehabilitation Hospital, had written about life in a hospital under siege. When I interviewed him at the beginning of this war – this war of one army – he told me about 14 elderly patients, “all dependent on round-the-clock professional care to survive.”
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