MICHELE NORRIS, host:
Hossam al-Madhoun was at today's demonstration in Gaza. He's lived there his whole life and he has these thoughts on the current violence.
Mr. HOSSAM AL-MADHOUN (Resident, Gaza City): The darkness has fallen and invaded all of the Gaza Strip. We tried to protest against the war today, but gunmen shot at us when we tried to cross the street. This was a peaceful demonstration to try to get these gunmen to stop killing our future, to stop killing our hope. The darkness has fallen. There are no other words. Gaza is not a place for human beings anymore.
Hamas and Fatah have defeated the Palestinian people. Both factions have triumphed against the hope for the future, for a state of our own. These factions are killing the future of my daughter. She is 6 years old only and has to live through this senseless civil war.
Yes, it is a civil war to me. You can call it whatever you like. This has to stop. These young killers in the street are just boys. They've become killers and they don't realize that. They're just being used by both factions. They're being used by the political leaders who are shouting every day on the satellite TV news shows. These so-called leaders in suits are the real killers, turning our boys into murderers.
It will take generations to recover from all of these. It will take so long to change this violent culture we've become. It becomes so easy for any young boy to hold the gun and to shoot. We now have a generation of damaged youth.
There were many brave people today in Gaza during the demonstration. They stood in the middle of the street - in the crossfire with bullets flying everywhere - telling the gunmen to stop, stop, stop. Two people were killed. Many people here including myself thinks that the West is doing everything it can to weaken the Palestinian authority - and Israel as well.
All of their acts are aimed at Hamas, but they have also weakened Fatah, the more moderate faction here in Gaza. This is hypocrisy by the West and Israel as they steal the hope by tightening this economic embargo against the Palestinian people. Desperate people don't think rationally. Desperate people turn radical. And that is just what is happening in Gaza today.
My name is Hossam al-Madhoun.
NORRIS: And that was lifelong Gaza resident Hossam al-Madhoun. He works for a Spanish aid agency in the Gaza Strip. He's also worked for NPR as a news assistant in Gaza.
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