Calgary family relives the pain of Gaza attacks

Basil Diab left the Gaza Strip in 2017

March for Palestinian support May 15 2021. CONTRIBUTED / Albert Woo

Though the conflict between Israel and Palestine is happening on the other side of the world, the effects are being felt by some Calgarians.

The tension between Palestine and Israel has escalated with Israeli forces attacking Al-Aqsa mosque and the recent missile strikes between Israel and Palestine.

Calgarian Basil Diab is originally from the Gaza Strip. He recalled his previous life in his home land.

“I was raised in the Gaza Strip and I worked there as an engineer. It was nice there, however suddenly life changed when a few small wars broke out in 2000, 2009 and 2012 until the big war in 2014,” said Diab.

Diab was forced to make a massive life change amidst the conflict in the area during that time.

“I met a lot of challenges, especially with my kids, to stay in Gaza so I decided to move from the Gaza Strip in 2017.”

Hard memories

Diab recalls how the conflict has affected those that lived in the Gaza Strip.

“Every year something happens there, something that turns the Gaza Strip upside down. The people there just want a normal life and there is nothing there. No running water, there is no electricity, there are no human rights, and there is no safety.”

Even though Diab and his family moved away from the conflict, they still clearly remember the hardships and the struggle that took place. 

“My son a couple of days ago had a flashback of the previous trauma he had faced when he was living in Gaza. The destruction that had taken place in front of his eyes,” Diab said.

“They destroyed our previous home and it brought back terrible memories for my son and my family.”

Diab’s son Bassam Diab shared vivid memory of the conflict in his home land.

“I was raised in the Gaza strip, I remember in 2014 when buildings were getting shattered into pieces. In every direction I looked, I saw children screaming, blood flowing and buildings crushed. I wonder what we did wrong. All we asked for was a decent life,” said Bassam.

Bassam Diab giving a speech at the Palestinian rally. CONTRIBUTED by Basil Diab.

Diab still has friends and family that live in the conflict area and worries for their safety amidst the chaos of the conflict. He’s able to contact them from time-to-time however sometimes lack of connection in the Palestine region often makes it impossible.

“We can communicate with them but sometimes there is no internet and no communications. I still worry about them,” he said

Going forward

Diab is now helping those that are new to the country. He wants to help newcomers to our country; much like when he first moved to Calgary.

“I found a really great life here in Canada. The human rights, the diversity, and now I volunteer with the Newcomers association and try to teach what I’ve learned here for the last three years,” he said.

Recently, Diab, along with his son, participated in a socially-distanced rally in support of the Palestinian people. He hopes that events like these will inspire Calgarians to become more aware of the situation in Palestine.

“ I hope our voice from what we did a few days ago will reach to the government and get them to speak more in the media about Palestinian rights,” he said.

“If someone is attacking your home what will you do. Just put yourself into my shoes.”

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