“Good evening, World,” the last words of the Palestinian writer Nour el-Din Haggag from Gaza

Nour el-Din Haggag, 27, Palestinian writer from Gaza. Israel murdered him on December 5th. He wanted to be heard, so he wrote this on 28 November. We hear you!

Good evening, World,

Last night all communications and the internet were cut. What I thought impossible has come to pass. The postman won’t be able to come in all this bombing and destruction, and his newspapers won’t carry except the same news every day: that Gaza is being annihilated. And perhaps news of my death will be in the next edition. The bombing gets stronger and we hold onto our hearts because what we fear is coming closer, we shall die in silence and the world will know nothing of us. We will not be able to scream or to record our last moments, our last words.

I live in a small neighbourhood, Shuja’iyya, on the east side of Gaza City. Every night the explosions don’t stop. They are varied and come from all directions. With every massive sound that shakes our homes and our hearts we hold each other. We know that an explosion will come that we won’t hear, because we will have exploded with it.

And so I write now. Maybe this will be my last message that will wander the free world, and fly with the doves of peace, and tell the world that we love life if we can get it, but that in Gaza all paths are closed, and we are just a post or a tweet away from death.

OK: I am Nour el-Din Adnan Haggag, a Palestinian writer. I am twenty-seven years old and I have many dreams.

I am not a number, and I refuse that news of my death should pass without you saying that I love life, happiness, liberty, children’s laughter, the sea, coffee, writing, Fairouz, and everything that brings joy .. before all this vanishes in one brief moment.

One of my dreams is that my books would travel the world, that my pen would have wings unhindered by unstamped passports and refused visas.

Another dream: that I should have a little family, that I should hug a son – who looks like me – while I tell him a bedtime story.

And my greatest dream remains that peace should fill my country, that children’s laughter should rise before the sun, that we should plant a rose in every spot where a bomb fell, and paint our freedom on every wall that was destroyed, that war should leave us alone; to finally live our lives, once.

Nour el-Din Haggag

Gaza, Palestine

28 November 2023

Translated from Arabic by Ahdaf Soueif