Frost


Most of the year I’ll be complaining about the weather. It’s never right, as it were. Too mild in winter, too wet or too dry in summer. “Climate change,” I’ll sigh, pointedly nodding towards the window.

So now, I should rejoice and tell anybody who is willing to listen to me, that here where I live, the weather is for once just right, just the way it should be in late November: The temperature drops and drops, precipitation stops, the winds stall, fogs slither in and out, to and from goodness knows where, and all of nature seems to be holding its breath pending the arrival of loads of snow. Said arrival will without doubt be briefly prefaced by a marked rise of the mercury in the thermometer. Let us enjoy these days of climatic normality for all they are worth. We may or may not know such normality ever again.

In Gaza, the temperature is now 15 degrees. At 7 AM tomorrow the temperature will be 11 degrees. I’ve never been to Gaza, so I cannot tell you whether or not the cool 11 degrees are normal for this time of year. But I’m sure of one thing: Climate change will not enter into the equations to be solved by the displaced survivors of the ongoing genocide in Gaza, wherever they catch a couple of hours’ sleep now and then.

Here in Europe we have suffered due to the sanctions war against Russia (which deprived continental Europe of NLG) from lack of energy to heat our dwellings in winter. In Norway, we had always had more than enough hydro-electric power until our energy was commodified and put on the stock market (and sold to poor continental Europe) at which point we could no longer afford to buy our own electricity. We had to adapt to a drop of indoor temperatures from 23º C. I have managed to adapt to 20.5 º by wearing thermal underwear and woollen sweaters. I can cope with 18º by being in constant activity, cleaning house, etc. But at 16º… Let me tell you that at 16 degrees, I wish I were dead.

Of course, some of us can adapt. Some of us are made of tougher stuff. But 11 degrees without a roof over your head! When I am frozen stiff, I take a hot bath. I can still afford to take a hot bath a couple of times a week. But for the barely surviving people of Gaza, I assume there is no such thing as a bath, let alone a hot bath or a big warm towel and clean underwear.

I dare not even think of what it must be like to have to pee for a woman in Gaza, not to mention to menstruate! Good God what humiliations they must endure! And bowel movements for men and women; where do they go? There must be an unbelievable stench everywhere.

And the dead! Oh Lord, the dead! Not only the thousands and thousands who are known; also those who are simply “missing”, decomposing under the ruins of the bombed buildings.

I have never been to Gaza, never been to the West Bank, far less to Israel. Having written what I have written I will probably never be allowed anywhere near occupied Palestine. (Not that I shall ever humiliate myself or the Palestinians by asking for Israeli permission!)

But I must ask Israelis: You maintain that we, those of us who criticise you, do not understand your “plight”. But have you even tried to imagine what life has been like for the population you maintain is trying to eradicate you?


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