Here are some chosen parts from Laila's experience of the sleepless night;
"Just as my mother and I were chatting nonchalanatly, putting away the small plates of za'tar, olive oil, goat cheese, and persimmons, an enourmous explosion erupted following by the loud swoops of fighter jets-unlike ANYTHING I had ever heard- shaking our kitchen windows off the their hinges...the sound of Israeli fighter jets breaking the sound barrier over Gaza in a psychological war of terror.
I cannot begin to describe the sound except to say it penetrates into your very heart. Our whole building shook. I rand outside of the kitchen, fell down to the ground crying in hysterics, then screaming. My father woke up and held me tight, "its ok its ok", as my mother trying to calm me down. "what's happening, what's happening" I remember repeating hyserically. "We are being bombed, we are being bombed!"It is that feeling of uncertainty, of vulnerability and fear in the face of an unseen, seemingly formiddible force, of feeling that death is at your doorstep, that gets to you...that strikes morbid fear in your heart and soul.
I tried in vain to go to sleep after taking a benadryl. I brought Yousuf to sleep with me (who now, if asked what sound a plane makes, says "BOOM!"). Exactly at fajir call to prayer, it started again. Two more insane sonic booms. I cry now when I think of them. I can't get the near windows, I'm too afraid to be alone... I really dont' think anything I've witnessed here has had this kind of effect on me. Nothing.
I found this description by someone who has also experienced them: "You never get used to it if you're not prepared for the flypast. It's the scream of a thousand banshees which come immediately before the crash that unnerves. If you believe the aircraft is gonna attack, you're completely disorientated."
Read the posts here and here.
UPDATE: This particular night my children slept through most of the noice. When the first two hit, my daughter had just woke up and was luckily sitting in my knee. All you can do is hug her shaking little body and tell her that everything will be ok. Laila's description "it penetrates your very heart" is exactly how I have described it to my friends in Sweden. It feels like your heart is breaking.
It affects your mind (thereof the title "mindblowing"...), makes you do things totally out of character. The most scary thing is that IT MAKES YOU HATE. It makes you hate your life, you get depressed.
Laila's Yousuf now says "boom!" when asked how an airplane sounds. My 3 1/2 year old daughter asked me last time they dropped sonics on us, what it was that made that boom-sound? When I stumbled for words to explain, my 2 1/2 year old daughter filled in for me saying in arabic:
"Amal, hadha jahud!" - "Amal, it's the jews!"
Where's the hope in that?