What is Quality of Life? The general “well-being” of all of us, wherever we are. Emotional well-being, as well as physical – not only how much money you’ve got. How would you judge your quality of life?
Do you have the basic human needs such as food, water, shelter, freedom, healthcare, education, employment, safety? Do you live in a condition of poverty or constant danger? With poisoned air or water?
Does where you live suffer from vandalism, muggings, robberies, break-ins, random shootings, traffic hazards and accidents, public safety problems? Are you protected by police and fire departments and other public safety organizations? Can you walk or drive down the street without fear? Are you and your family safe in your home? Are the streets and bridges and highways in good condition?
What about availability to healthcare? When you or family need medical care is it available? Does it exist? Is it adequate? Can you reach it safely? Can you afford it? Are you at risk for physical or emotional and mental problems? Do you have a support group to help you cope with problems in your life?
What kind of Quality of Life do you call this:
- A 13 year old boy is machine-gunned from a helicopter while playing soccer
- A giant wall built on your land prevents you from reaching your job, your family, health care, your own farmland and orchards.
- Roads are built through your land that you are not allowed to travel on.
- Men are taken from their homes and imprisoned without charges, leaving families wondering if they are alive or dead.
- Husbands and fathers are humiliated in front of their families.
- You are forced to wait for hours in the hot sun in order to pass through gates and checkpoints to visit family, shop, get healthcare, work
- Water is diverted from your land so that you never have enough.
- Gas and electric power are diverted from your home to give it to other people.
- Men, women, and children are forced to live for generations in crowded, dirty, slummy camps.
All of this describes the Quality of Life today of the men, women, and children in the Palestinian lands.
Delphine, in my new book, is shocked to discover these living conditions and restrictions endured day and night by the families she meets as she travels among the villages and towns of Palestine.
“Layla took Delphine to some of the camps holding Palestinian families. Thousands of people still lived in those crowded internment camps, waiting for a day when they might return to their homes….
“The people stared at Delphine, curious, but not hopeful. Her face was so beautiful, her clothes so new and stylish – clearly she didn’t belong there…. A young girl, maybe twelve or thirteen, in a faded dress over long pants that trailed in the dirt, ventured closer to Delphine, her pitted, pock-marked face twisted with wonder under her dark kerchief. Delphine wanted to give the child something, but Layla told her no – that wouldn’t be fair to the others.”
Bruce Douglas Reeves, author DELPHINE, winner of the Clay Reynolds Novella Competition, published by Texas Review Press, available from University Press Books (800-676-8722), Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the Texas A & M University Press Consortium, as well as your local bookstore, by order.