Car horns honking. Lots of them everywhere.
Generators humming when the electricity goes off.
Merchants shouting through their bullhorn to grab the attention of the passerby.
Heavy equipment tearing down a building next door to replace it with a larger one.
The muezzin calling the faithful to prayer through a loudspeaker.
The familiar television game show and soap opera, along with commercials.
Fighting cats screeching.
Fire crackers popping almost every night because there’s a wedding almost every day.
Very loud recorded music with a DJ blasting out salutations (I think) to the bride and groom. Good for dancing, not so much for conversing.
Ambulance sirens rushing someone to Shifa Hospital.
Shouting, shouting, shouting to be heard over the din of all this noise.
No surprise, I guess, that I never hear my cellphone ring.
These are the sounds of Occupation in Gaza.
I haven’t heard the drones, or gunfire, or rockets, or any of the sounds of fighting and conflict that I thought I might hear —- at least not yet.
A true story about the call to prayer.
The Israeli soldiers stopped a Palestinian man and ordered him to dance in the street to humiliate him in front of his family and friends. The Palestinian agreed to dance if the soldiers would clap. They put down their weapons and started to clap, giving the Palestinian time to run away. They gave chase, running after him through the refugee camp. But he was faster, and he got away. He ran to the Mosque.
His family was worried about him but he couldn’t go home. The soldiers were in the streets everywhere. So he called the evening prayer over the loud-speaker at the Mosque. He had a beautiful voice, quite distinctive, and when his family heard the call to prayer, they knew he was alright.