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The Drone Eats With Me by Atef Abu Saif

The Drone Eats With Me (2015)

by Atef Abu Saif

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4726247,300 (4.16)13
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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
It is very difficult for people who do not live in Gaza or a constant war zone to comprehend how very difficult life is for the the children and families who do live and grow up in such a violent and deadly environment. Reading this book provides the reader with some of the experiences and traumas that become part of every day life. Everyone should read this book in an effort to understand that life's challenges are very extreme and difficult in some parts of the world. While I worry about providing food, shelter and safety for my children it does not include daily bombings and enemy soldiers. Even after reading the book it's very difficult to imagine the author's struggle to survive. ( )
  twylyghtbay | Feb 8, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

93. [The Drone Eats With Me: A Gaza Diary] - [[Atef Abu Saif]] – 2016

- GeoCat - Northern Africa & Middle East;
- Dec TIOLI #16: Read a book with the word peace in the text;
- Global Reading: Palestine

Opening quote:”When war comes, it brings with it a smell, a fragrance even. You learn to recognize it as a kid growing up in these narrow streets. You develop a knack for detecting it, tasting it in the air. You can almost see it. Like a witch's familiar, it harks in the shadows, follows you at a distance wherever you go. If you retain this skill, you tell that it's coming – hours sometimes days, before it actually arrives. You don't mistake it. “ – attribution in Arabic p. 1

”Since 1948 – before that in fact, since the British mandate began in 1917 – Gaza has barely gone ten years without a war; sometimes it's as little as two years. So everyone carries their own memories of conflict: wars stand as markers in a Gazan's life: there's one planted firmly in your childhood, one or two more in your adolescence, and so on … they toll the passing of time as you grow older like rings in a tree.” p3

In June 2014, Israel began an attack on the Gaza strip which would last until the end of August that year. Author [[Atef Abu Saif]] started writing a diary of that time, which turned into a blog and then a book. This is his story in diary form.

Abu Saif describes raid after raid on what can only be called civilian targets within the town he lives in . He talks about the total disruption of everyday life; the fear of never knowing when the next attack will come and whom among your acquaintances and family will be killed horribly or hideously maimed.

He describes in detail drone warfare, where Israeli drones constantly hover above them, controlled by operators hundreds of miles away. The operators can target whatever they like – as Abu Saif describes it, it's much like playing a video game for the drone operator. Unfortunately, any movement on the street can easily be targeted day or night.

The strength of the diary format is that everything is immediate – incidents, emotions, reactions. The weakness is that it becomes almost redundant. Destruction after destruction. Death after death. One simply cannot take it all in, and the mind becomes numb to the continuing dreadfulness.

This is the diary of an Arab Muslim man. He mentions his children, his parents and other extended family, his friends and neighbors but his wife hardly at all, except to call to find out what she needs from the market. He himself copes with the day to day horrors by taking a daily risky journey to an internet cafe as an emotional respite to escape the fear and tension in his home. I can't help wonder about his wife – what were her coping mechanisms? How did she fare?

I learned quite a bit about the history of Palestine and the Gaza strip. And by extrapolation, I learned a lot about what the ongoing continuous warfare in other Arab countries must feel like, and to understand the current flood of refugees from the countries in this region.

3.7 stars ( )
1 vote streamsong | Dec 23, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A book about survival, in the meanest and most basic sense .Survival in a 21st Century war zone that is heavily scrutinized by young soldiers on video screens in rooms far away from where you and your family live. A survival that has no expectation from the moment you wake up in the morning, planning for nothing, counting the days hoping you can exist until evening and until the end of the conflict. The conflict in this books is Israel's 2014 invasion of Gaza. The writer, Atef Abu Saif, is a Palestinian journalist, husband, son, father. Little if any info is given about the reason for the conflict. However, reader gets to see and feel the drones, the warships off the coast, the seemingly random bombing of apartment buildings and hears the death screams of children. Reader learns what war might be like in their town--you learn to walk in the middle of the street to minimize being hit by shrapnel or debris if one of the buildings to your right or left is hit. In the evening if you are out and if you see a motorcycle or vehicle--steer clear of it. Moving vehicles of any type are targets for those young soldiers looking at you and your town through the video screen. War is like a game. ( )
  authorknows | Sep 3, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A deeply personal account of a noncombatant Palestinian author/husband/father of 4 young children trying to maintain a sense of normalcy in his family life in the midst of daily deadly aerial attacks and surveillance conducted by modern weaponized drones, naval warships, and heavily armed F16s. His granular descriptions of living next to a sea you aren't allowed to boat/fish/swim in, borders you can't cross, a long-awaited airport quickly turned into rubble, UN elementary schools designated as emergency disaster shelters and then bombed anyway, and quick grocery trips to the food stalls including frequent detours for removing the bodies of civilian casualties (many of them preschool children, their mothers, and the elderly) from homes turned into rubble the night before are all the more harrowing because of the way these events have become almost matter-of-fact to his very young family. The most surprising aspect is his continuing love and respect for his home in spite of all the horrors he and his family have experienced there. Saif's book is important, richly detailed, illuminating, and well written. I'd venture to say that years from now it will be listed along with A Frank's, Nelson Mandela's, and other survivors as one of the most important conflict diaries of its time because it brings real faces to atrocities and deaths which a lot of the international community has largely ignoring or making feeble diplomatic stabs at for decades. ( )
  dele2451 | Aug 19, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
No matter your politics, deep inside, you must have compassion. And this diary from inside the Gaza strip during a 50-day “conflict” can only raise your hackles that the world powers play with words to hide their deeds. If I’m conflicted over what I’ll have for dinner. No one dies. Israel and Palestine are conflicted over who should own what land. Slaughter. Indiscriminate, eeny-meeny-miney-moe, you hold the short straw slaughter. I never read such an intimate non-political rendering of trying to persist day-to-day buying food and separating your family so that at least some of them might survive. God save us all

An advanced copy of this book was provided for an honest review. ( )
  catscritch | Aug 16, 2016 |
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Since 1948--before that in fact, since the British mandate began in 1917--Gaza has barely gone 10 years without a war. Wars stand as markers in a Gazan's life: there's one planted firmly in your childhood, one or two more in your adolescence, and so on… They toll the passing of time as you grow older, like rings in a tree trunk. Sadly, for many Gazans, one of these wars will also mark life's end. Life is what we have in between these wars (2).
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0807049107, Paperback)

An ordinary Gazan’s chronicle of the struggle to survive during Israel’s 2014 invasion of Gaza

The fifty-day Israel-Gaza conflict that began in early July of 2014 left over 2,100 people dead. The overwhelming majority of the dead were Palestinians, including some 500 children. Another 13,000-odd Palestinians were wounded, and 17,200 homes demolished. These statistics are sadly familiar, as is the political rhetoric from Israeli and Palestinian authorities alike.

What is less familiar, however, is a sense of the ordinary Gazan society that war lays to waste.

One of the few voices to make it out of Gaza was that of Atef Abu Saif, a writer and teacher from Jabalia refugee camp, whose eyewitness accounts (published in the Guardian, New York Times, and elsewhere) offered a rare window into the conflict for Western readers. Here, Abu Saif’s complete diaries of the war allow us to witness the events of 2014 from the perspective of a young father, fearing for his family’s safety. In The Drone Eats with Me, Abu Saif brings readers an intimate glimpse of life during wartime, as he, his wife, and his two young children attempt to live their lives with a sense of normalcy, in spite of the ever-present danger and carnage that is swallowing the place they call home.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 08 Feb 2016 21:10:39 -0500)

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