I’m a Pediatrician in Gaza. Please Save Us From This Horror.



Oct. 29, 2023 (NYTimes.com)

Palestinians in mourning holding hands with each other in southern Gaza.
Credit…Mohammed Abed/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

By Hussam Abu Safyia

Dr. Abu Safyia is a pediatrician at Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza.

At Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza, we are no strangers to treating victims of airstrikes over the years. The team all too often must rush into the emergency room, all hands on deck, ready to treat shrapnel wounds, burns and blood loss. In the early days of the current Israel-Hamas conflict, our hospital of only 80 beds was quickly overrun. On Oct. 17, following the explosion at Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City, we were flooded with dozens of wounded and dying victims. By the next day, our patient roster had grown by nearly 120. We knew it would be another sleepless night, another in a string of far too many since the violence started 10 days earlier.

As many as three to four children had to share single beds, and many more were forced to settle for the floors. Some patients from the hospital explosion came in screaming in pain, but others were silent, in shock or beyond saving. With anesthesia, iodine, alcohol, blood and even gauze running low or entirely gone, we had a dwindling supply of tools to help ease the human suffering. The people who flocked to Kamal Adwan to sleep in our hallways or even the parking lot, believing it safer than their homes, were no doubt as frightened as we were.

As I write this, the hospital is on the precipice of true disaster. We are down to the last gallons of fuel necessary to run the electric generators, despite our most stringent efforts to ration it since the start of hostilities. Lights are off most of the time, elevators are out and patients are carried between floors. When the fuel runs out, we will no longer be able to function at night after the sun goes down. Most of the tools and equipment needed to run a modern hospital like ventilators, defibrillators and our neonatal units will become useless. When the generators fall silent, we will be relegated to practicing medieval-level medicine. Without an urgent resupply of fuel, the lights will go out permanently, and our hospital could turn into a morgue.

Kamal Adwan is far from the only hospital reaching its breaking point, as doctors like myself desperately cry out for more aid to Gaza. I’m a pediatrician at Kamal Adwan, part of a team of nine MedGlobal doctors and humanitarian aid workers that have been on the ground in Gaza since 2018. In that time we’ve seen our share of tragedy, suffering and shortage, but nothing could have prepared us for the horrors of the past few weeks. My team and I have divided our time between caring for patients and locally sourcing and distributing medical supplies, food and fuel to 11 different hospitals — $1.3 million worth of resources since the violence began. And it is still not nearly enough.

Most of us have chosen to remain in northern Gaza, defying the evacuation orders because we’re unwilling to leave behind our patients, for many of whom evacuation would mean certain death. Abandoning them now would be a violation of my Hippocratic oath as well as basic human decency. My wife and six children have also stayed at the hospital with me since the violence began. I’ve tried to convince them to head south, but my wife told me that we will either live or die together. Many Palestinians in north Gaza feel the same, risking their lives at home rather than face the prospect of becoming refugees in the south.

Doctors are no strangers to tragedy or death and are trained to steel themselves against it, but the pressure we’ve been under these past few weeks is beyond any training. One of my colleagues lost his father and brother to an airstrike in the first week of the fighting; another saw his dead son wheeled in by an emergency crew. At a professional level, a personal level and most fundamentally a human level, the people of Gaza and the medics who care for them are at a breaking point. Like our patients, especially the children, this conflict will leave every one of us traumatized.

Even so, we are treating our patients to the best of our ability with the bare minimum of electricity, medicine and supplies. We sterilize wounds with vinegar, previously unthinkable in our modern intensive care unit. Drinking water ran out days ago, and the water we do have isn’t potable, contributing to a rising tide of intestinal infections and diseases not seen in Gaza in years. Our morgue filled to capacity within the first week and we’ve had to store many dead children in a nearby tent, praying that the decomposing bodies don’t contaminate the water wells or spread further disease. We fear an outbreak of cholera and typhoid. We fear for the long-term mental health impacts on the children in our care. Their little bodies are quick to injure and quick to heal, but their minds and spirits will need a lifetime of care to overcome what they have seen and experienced.

On Oct. 20, as I finished operating on a girl who had lost her leg, I stepped into the hallway and my wife was there to hug me. Our home, she told me, had been destroyed in an airstrike on an adjacent building while I was in surgery. The hospital is now our only home. At night, I go to my office and close the door to cry, away from the eyes of my patients and family.

It may be hard to understand why any of us are still at the hospital, running our resupply routes and struggling against a sea of despair. The answer is hope. As Kamal Adwan Hospital and Gaza itself run out of everything — food, water, fuel, medicine — the one thing we have not yet run out of is hope. I see it in my fellow doctors and the MedGlobal team risking their life every day to drive the streets of Gaza delivering supplies. I see it in the eyes of our patients — not all, but many. There’s a resilience and tenacity at the heart of the human experience that’s stronger than any horrors men can inflict on one another.

Through that hope, we make an urgent plea to the rest of the world to send more aid into Gaza. In order for hospitals like Kamal Adwan to continue functioning, we desperately need more resources — especially fuel for our generators. If we cannot turn the lights back on and keep lifesaving equipment running, too many of our patients will end up needlessly dying.

We hope that people will read our story and share in our desires: for a cease-fire, for a full opening of border crossings so that the wounded and sick may leave and lifesaving supplies can reach the tired, hungry and the displaced. For a normal life of peace where hospitals in the region see Israeli and Palestinian patients side by side, unburdened by grief, separation and war. We need the world’s help to sustain these hopes and bring this senseless violence to an end.

Hussam Abu Safyia is MedGlobal’s lead physician in Gaza. He is a pediatrician at Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza.

Mark Twain on terrible things

Mark Twain

“I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.”

― Mark Twain

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, known by the pen name Mark Twain November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), was an American writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher, and lecturer. He was praised as the “greatest humorist the United States has produced”, and William Faulkner called him “the father of American literature”. Wikipedia

Taoist Story

No Speech 

The disciples were absorbed in a discussion of Lao-tzu’s dictum:“

Those who know do not say; those who say do not know.”

When the Master entered, they asked him exactly what the words meant.

Said the Master, “Which of you knows the fragrance of a rose?”

All of them knew.

Then he said, “Put it into words.”

All of them were silent.

Taoist Story


Sri Aurobindo on a quiet mind

“A quiet mind does not mean there will be no thoughts or mental movements at all, but these will be on the surface, and you will feel your true being within, separate from them, observing but not carried away.”

Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950)
Indian Philosopher

“Our task for November”




In farming the earth, the seasons are rigid and predictable. Winter begins each year at the winter solstice, and although it will vary in rainfall and temperatures, it is always winter and always comes at this exact time. The same, of course, is true of spring, summer, and fall. The outer farmer can rely on this predictability and need not be concerned with the grape harvest during threshing time or pruning during the time for sowing​.

The seasonal fluctuations of inner farming are, by contrast, unpredictable. Every moment brings with it a new challenge and there is no telling when a labor may become relevant. Now confusion or lethargy sets in, so I must reaffirm or reformulate my aim, as discussed in January. Then negativity flares up, calling to mind the principles discussed in October. Then again, momentum seeks to overtake me, so I must apply the methods taught in May. To farm myself, I must remain armed with all my tools and be ready for the unexpected.

The acreage of outer farming is land; the acreage of inner farming is time. The more time we invest in self-observation, plugging leaks, cultivating attention, and applying any of the methods taught here, the faster our work progresses. On the other hand, the more time we waste through only intermittent practice, the more we allow our habits to reassert themselves and beat back our progress. There is aggressive competition over our time. Every thought, mood, desire, and sensation, competes to dominate our internal landscape and waste our time. This explains why it is so difficult to even remember to do our work. Unless we are vigilant, our impulse to work is crowded out by these other impulses. To dedicate more time to inner work—to utilize more of our acreage—we will have to continually shore up our impulse to work above our crowded internal landscape. We will have to remember more and forget less.

For this end, we employ the counting exercise. We aim to remember our work at least 100 times a day, tallying our progress through keeping count. There are various external aids for this, from the mechanical clicker to the digital phone. All are useful, as the point here is to attach an objective number to our frequency. Each time we remember, and make an effort to apply any tool of this teaching, we ‘click’ on our counter.

Tallying our moments of remembrance by itself motivates us to increase their frequency. At the same time, it exposes patches of our day lost in prolonged forgetfulness. Why was I able to click fairly frequently on my way to work, but entirely forgot once I stepped into my office? Why was I able to maintain good frequency while at my desk but lost remembrance altogether during lunchtime? The longer patches of forgetfulness outline the parts of our acreage that are presently under the full sway of Personality. This indicates unambiguously in which direction our farming must proceed.

When a seed germinates, it pushes its root downwards and its stem upwards in a line vertical to the plane of the earth. Likewise, when we successfully apply any of the methods taught here, we push through the artificiality of our Personality and touch Essence. Personality relies on our not-seeing, or self-forgetting. The more often we remember, the better we utilize our acreage, and the faster we will see progress in this work.

This is our labor for November.

Copyright (C) 2023 BePeriod LLC. All rights reserved. (beperiod.com)

Tarot card for October 31: The Ace of Swords

The Ace of Swords

As a Suit, Swords are about thought, communication, and, sadly, often also about conflict and emotional turmoil. People often become confused about why that should be – this Suit contains more ‘bad’ cards than any of the others. But when you consider that one thing which inevitably happens when we are hurt and unhappy is that objectivity and clarity go out of the window, you might be able to understand why so many harsh cards turn up here.

Aces are always about the beginning of something – usually related to the Suit they are from. From that you can see that the Ace of Swords is about the ability to see things from a clear perspective. When this card rules, we are able to cut away the rubbish and confusion which tends to cloud out major issues. We can see what is important and worth fighting for. And we can also identify the red herrings that keep us from seeing clearly.

We become more able to make good decisions, more ready to see other points of view, more clear about what we really think about things. When this happens we often choose totally new directions for ourselves, reaching a point where we can transform and empower our experiences.

So when this card comes up in a reading, or to rule a day, then it means that we need to step back, and think rationally about everything which crosses our path. We need to cut away rubbish and clutter, so we can see the inner truth we seek.

There is a decisive and powerful energy which flows from this card, and engaging with it will allow us to understand ourselves, and others more thoroughly than before.

In a spiritual sense the appearance of the Ace of Swords will often mark a turning point or breakthrough into new clarity and wisdom

The Ace of Swords

(via angelpahts.com and Alan Blackman)

Halloween is it a Time of Hiding or Revealing? 

by Calvin Harris H.W., M 

My Journal Entry 30 October 2023 subject Halloween 

Halloween has had a  Long History of wearing masks, but under and behind the wearing of masks and costumes there is something more to explore. Something that has longed to be expressed and experienced; For so many, it is the only occasion where they have been fully authentic in their expression of themselves; While for still others, it is treated as a Sacred Holiday.

Halloween as a holiday takes on many guises. There are those who feel it’s all about scary monsters and spirits [not all spirits are bad]. Others observe it as marking the change in seasons from summer to fall. A time of shorter days, when the veil between the mortal world and the worlds of spirits and the dead is at its thinnest.

This thinner veil allows spirits and the dead to pass between worlds, existence between the two becomes one.  The Pagans thought we were closer than ever to our ancestors. This for some can become a serious season of introspection and thought, where rituals are performed in the guise of games, the results given as a nod towards the player’s future.  Apples were associated with the otherworld and immortality and were involved in a few of the traditions such as apple bobbing. Trick or treat also has its origins in the old ways of Samhain [which is one of the names Halloween was known by in Celtic culture]. People used to go from house to house dressed up as the mischievous spirits that emerged through the thin veil between the worlds asking for food for the spirits. They lit their way with a carved turnip [we use pumpkins now] hollowed out and used as a lantern. It also signaled that we were on the cusp of winter.

In times past it was understood that Masks represented supernatural beings, ancestors, and fanciful or imagined figures. This adapting a piece of paper, clay, metal, or even make-up and/or feather these items to form the mask for such incarnations. It is not so much the materials of the mask but the context of wearing that mask is where the full meaning of the wearer is associated with the imagery, and cultural elements. 

Are Masks to hide or to be seen? That is the question.  In Gay and Queer gender communities, Halloween may have been the only time you could show your sexual and gender curiosity or truth in this country or the world. Even if it was for one night only.  It gave people the opportunity to experience, more fully their feminine or masculine sides and for some a clue into androgyny. 

Of course, there was that one decade in the U. S of A’s history when there was that anomaly,  in 1975 the movie The Rocky Horror Show, the movie was released. Soon after there was a cult following of the movie where we saw not only gay but straight men and everyone in between wearing high heels corsets and lipstick. Mouthing the songs from the movie’s character Frank N Furter: “I’m just a sweet Transvestite from Transylvania”. This was a time when the veil came down and individuals celebrated, Not only on Halloween but in movie theaters every Friday night at midnight throughout the country.

Halloween is a night when we can embrace our inner beauty as well as creatures, trying on identities that might feel off-limits the rest of the year.  Where people take to the streets as whatever they want to be. That freedom has long been alluring for people of all ages, who use Halloween as a safe space to explore and play in the messiness of identity — so it’s no wonder it has developed a reputation as a most important holiday.

Halloween has historically in the United States at least,  provided a space where gender diversity isn’t just allowed but celebrated. It is one night only when cities in every region of the country relax their laws prohibiting cross-dressing, Halloween has always been a rare moment of freedom for all people no matter gender, to peek behind the curtain.

I  ask you, is  Halloween a  time of putting on a Mask or is it really a time when one lets down their Mask to explore other areas of who they are?

Stay Curious