The Unseen Wounds: The Psychological Toll of Constant Drone Presence in Gaza

FILE PHOTO: An Elbit Systems Ltd. Hermes 900 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is seen at the company’s drone factory in Rehovot, Israel, June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Orel Cohen

Voice of Palestine, 3/05/24

In the besieged region of Gaza by Israeli occupation, where every day brings new challenges and hardships, there exists a silent but pervasive threat—one that hovers overhead, relentless and unnerving. This threat comes not from the ground, but from the sky in the form of Israeli drones, whose incessant presence has become a haunting reality for the people of Gaza.

For six long months, these drones, often referred to as “Zennana” by Gazans, have dominated the airspace, their unmistakable buzzing sound a constant reminder of the surveillance and potential danger lurking above. While the physical impact of drone strikes is well-documented, the psychological toll of their continuous presence, particularly on children, remains largely unexplored and under-addressed.

Imagine being a child in Gaza, where the sky, instead of offering a sense of freedom and wonder, serves as a constant source of anxiety and fear. From the moment they wake up to the moment they try to sleep, the ominous hum of the Israeli drones fills their ears, a stark reminder of the conflict that surrounds them. This unrelenting exposure to stress and trauma can have profound effects on their mental health and well-being, shaping their perceptions of the world and their place in it.

Studies have shown that exposure to chronic stress and trauma during childhood can have long-lasting effects, leading to increased rates of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The constant presence of drones not only disrupts daily life but also erodes the sense of safety and security that every child deserves.

Moreover, the psychological impact extends beyond individual experiences to the collective psyche of the community. The pervasive sense of surveillance and vulnerability instills a pervasive feeling of powerlessness and helplessness, amplifying the trauma of living under illegal Israeli occupation and 16 year long siege.

Yet, amidst this despair, there remains a glimmer of hope—a recognition of the resilience and strength of the people of Gaza. Despite the challenges they face, they continue to find ways to cope and support one another, drawing on their sense of community and solidarity to navigate the tumultuous waters of war on Gaza.

As the world bears witness to the ongoing Israeli genocide  and suffering in Gaza, it is crucial not to overlook the invisible wounds that linger long after the American bombs have stopped falling. Addressing the psychological toll of drone warfare requires more than just ceasefire agreements; it demands a concerted effort to prioritize the mental health and well-being of the most vulnerable, especially the children who bear the brunt of israeli genocide  lasting scars.

In the face of adversity, let us stand in solidarity with the people of Gaza, acknowledging their pain and resilience, and working towards a future where the skies above are no longer filled with the ominous buzz of Israeli drones, but with the promise of peace and freedom for Palestinians.

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