Human shield in Gaza (1/2)

Human shield in Gaza

, par Dreg Sha

Nous publions en deux parties quelques-uns des mels envoyé par Dreg à Art et aux amis depuis son départ dans la bande de Gaza.version française

I’ve known Dreg Sha [1] since pre-school. He is from Wilmette, Illinois. He
graduated with a B.A. in 1997 from the University of Alaska. Travel and
adventure has always been an important part of his life, and in the last three
years he has visited/lived in the U.K., Cuba, Russia, Myanmar, China,
Mongolia, and Taiwan. When in the United States he is a self-employed horse
carriage driver in Chicago. He also has training in diamond cutting. When last
I saw him January 23 - 24 we listened to Pink Floyd. He told me he was
considering either going to either South America or Palestine. I thought I
convinced him to go to South America. He went to Palestine.


N.B. : Texte non retouché. Les (...) indiquent des passages retirés quand Dreg se répète. Tout est en anglais.

version française
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date : Mon, 17 Feb 2003 05:52:09 -0500
From : Dreg Sha
Subject : palestine

hello folks,

in case you are wondering where i am, i am in rafah, gaza strip palestine.

Rafah is a town on the eygptian border in the highly militarized gaza strip. it is not occupied by Israel as is the west bank. there are resistance fighters and gun fighting daily

the entire gaza strip is like a prison. the palestinians are not allowed in or out.
there are israeli tanks and watchtowers surrounding all the borders. the israelis make incursions daily.
they bulldoze houses around the perimeter daily.
these houses belong to palestinian families most of whom have nothing to do with any form of armed resistance. the bulldozers are armored and are always accompaied by at least one tank.

every night i sleep in one or another house on the front line in danger of being bulldozed with a palestinian family
the idea is that if westerners are living in this house it will not be attacked, however this is not always the case
by day we do things such as help the palestinians rebuild their water supplies and other things that have been destoyed by the palestinians or attempting to stop the israelis from bulldozing houses by standing in front of bulldozers and tanks
i am here with 8 other westerners all of them independent people not affiliated with any government and basically with no power except our western identity.

it is an absolutely insane situation and extremly dangerous but i am learning alot
more than would be possible any other way

the situation is obviously not simple black and white. any newspaper can tell you this.
the palestinians are afraid, the israelis are afraid, there is distrust on both sides.

and there is a lack of dialouge and complete misunderstanding. most palestinians hate arafat.
they say he does not represent them.
they say they want to live in peace.
israeli citizens are not allowed to enter palestine. they cannot see the situation with their own eyes. they only live in fear of something unknown.

the daily dialouge between both sides is spoken with bullets.

There are at least twelve different armed palestinian islamic groups in gaza. they alone keep gaza from being reoccupied.

there is constant fear that israel will attempt to invade gaza using full force, american tanks and Apache helicopters. the fear is especially acute in the event of an iraq war.
the israeli government appears to be eagerly awaiting this war with the stated intention of overthrowing Arafat at the same time.
Arafat ives in Ramallah in the west bank, not in Gaza.
However, most people think that Gaza will fall with Arafat.
i’m not really looking forward to that

Don’t know what else to say at the moment.

sorry to all of you that i cannot write to you individually

i’ll write more in the future as the situation unfolds
it is sufficient to say that this a very good experience and i am enjoying it so long as i avoid the bullets

see y’all later

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date : Wed, 19 Feb 2003 04:39:35 -0500

Re : palestine

things are good here
i drink lots of tea

Abraham and Ishmael could not share a father

the children of heaven practice violence and the violent bear it away

A few days ago the israeli army demolished a section of a tunnel which some Palestinians used to get to Eygpt. There were two men inside at the time but they were not crushed. instead the army pumped poison gas (exact variety unknown) into the tunnel. evidently this gas burnt off their faces.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Thursday Feb. 25, 2003


perhaps I shouldn’t begin with such a cowboy word

perhaps i should say HOW ? as Tonto used to say

i’m still in Rafah, with a mere seven other palefaces.

the sound of heavy gunfire and tanks rolling by lulls me to sleep each evening.

The situation of course is extremely hopeless.

Two days ago i accompanied my friends on a mission to stop a bulldozer from destroying a house. this was the second such mission i have joined and luckily this time it brought some success.

out we walked along the frontline border strip between Gaza and egypt. to stand in front of an armored bulldozer and israeli tank going about their business of clearing away the town house by house.
we had no means of defence except our palefaces and fluent english which was demonstrated via a handheld mega-phone. our passports strapped across our hearts. anyway
we stood in front of the dozer and it actually stopped (unlike last time, my first day here when i was almost crushed, shot, and had a sound grenade thrown at me, see the valentines day installment of "Rafah today" )

instead it went over to destroy another house. we followed and had warning shots fired at us. the most gung-ho of our group ignored the live ammuntion and climbed on top of the house
myself and the rest of the group followed and stood in the dozer’s path once again.

once again it left. and went back to what it was doing before.
finally myself and another stayed top of the roof while the four others went to confront the bulldozer again. thus dividing the group and forcing the israeli team too make a decision whether to use more force and possibly kill one of us or go home as it was almost time for dinner anyway.
so they went home.

a victory

we helped calm the weeping mothers whose homes were demolished and help salvage their personal possesions, family photos, furniture, refrigerator, chickens (they also demolished a chicken coop, a garden and some lemon trees)

of course

the next day they came back at night with ten tanks and four bulldozers and finished the job quite easily destroying yet another dwelling of a peaceful family and probably accruing plenty of overtime in the process.


i don’t see any hope here.
but life goes on anyway


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Wednesday Feb. 26, 2003


The sound of heavy gunfire and tanks rolling by lulls me to sleep each night.
the travel warnings have been issued "get out while you still can" they say
The folks i’m with are determined to the best of their ability to stand up against the fourth largest army in the world.

by stand up i mean that literally
by day we have been standing in front of tanks and bulldozers, our passports strapped over our hearts, as the go about "cleaning up the streets and neighborhoods".
the smaller houses (two or less stories)they bulldoze.
the big ones they blow up with dynamite.


Today we stood in front of a very aggressive bulldozer who had a lot of fun trying to crush us with huge boulders.

then the bulldozer hit a live electrical pole.
the wires were over our heads and they fell right next to us.

then the armed Palestinian resistance begin shooting and we were nearly caught in the cross fire.
ridiculous foolhardy stupid i realize this
but im still enjoying myself
obviously there is no hope of changing the situation. the army can flatten this city any time they wish.

At least we are giving the people here some hope and something to laugh about.
the Palestinians don’t expect us to achieve much. they are just happy to see some western people risking their lives on their behalf. It is really entertaining and encourages them to feed us well.

I’m learning lots of valuable first hand information about warfare and martyrdom.

The israeli army’s actions really are ethnic cleansing and aparthied.
when you are here it is impossible to deny.

the israelis are stealing the water from Gaza (one of the most densely populated places on earth). they are sending the drinking water to the desert to wash sand.

There are lots of people who want revenge here.
nobody sees an end.
middleaged women with tears in their eyes after having their houses destoyed have said to us they want to become martyrs

the Palestinians breed and breed and breed.
the children are demented
from living on streets where bullets fly everyday. almost every family has lost at least on member.

the current policies of Israel and america are inherently racist. based upon a racial bias in public opinion, divisive messianic religious instincts passed through the generations. the desire to be wealthy, superior, and on the winning team.

bodies and shekels, and land mark the score here and the palestinian team is being blown out

i don’t really see any hope for them.
but life goes on anyway


---------- Forwarded message ----------
March 11, 2003


apologies for not keeping all better informed.

just writing to mention that I am still alive as of today and that i will write more soon.

if any person wishes to distribute what i have written thus far you have my permission to do so.

If any persons wish to come here, there are two organizations that i know of which accept volunteers.

the first is ISM at

the second is the Christion Peacemaker Team (CPT)

good tidings to all

Dreg —

---------- Forwarded message ----------
March 15, 2003

hi folks

I am still here in Rafah, Gaza

things have pretty "quiet" here lately.

only three houses that i know of have been destroyed recently and the gunfire seems to be about 50% less. (Although there is shooting from tanks outside on the street as i write this in the internet cafe.)

I have not been shot at by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) in over a week. although certainly there have been people shot within a few blocks of me

I have the feeling that Israel is keeping things just a little bit quiet in this crucial week.

wouldn’t want to upset any one with the glorious liberaton of Iraq so close at hand.


I fully expect something really bad to happen here (as well as there) as soon as the Iraq war begins.

Common sense would tell any one to get out of here. perhaps i shouldn’t be here.
perhaps it is not my battle
not my family friends or country

but i’ve already met too many people. really good people. People who have invited me into their homes and shared everything with me although they had almost nothing.
They are in prison and they may be killed for absolutely no reasonable reason.

except that not enough people can understand how what they do effects people on the other side of the world.

so i plan on staying with them to see what happens to them because at the moment i would rather lose my life than my humanity.

i realize this all sounds very melodramtic.

but after all thats why people like war movies


version française