It was solely a month in the past that award-winning Palestinian poet and author Mosab Abu Toha, a 30-year-old husband and father of three, revealed an essay within the New Yorker describing his life in Gaza and the fear and destruction Israeli airstrikes had been inflicting on his neighborhood. He wrote about bombs dropping in his neighborhood and a barrage of stories notifications on his cellphone alerting to different explosions close by. “Typically I resolve to not verify the information. We’re a part of it, I feel to myself,” he wrote.
“One concept particularly haunts me, and I can not push it away,” he wrote. “Will I, too, turn out to be a statistic on the information?”
On Nov. 20, NewYorker.com govt editor Michael Luo posted on X that the publication had “misplaced contact” with Abu Toha and discovered that he had been arrested in central Gaza. “His whereabouts at the moment are unknown,” the New Yorker reported on Monday, calling for his secure return.
Diana Buttu, a Palestinian-Canadian lawyer and former spokesperson for the Palestinian Liberation Group, posted on social media that Abu Toha was “kidnapped by [the] Israeli military in Gaza as he was fleeing along with his household,” which she stated she discovered by talking straight along with his household.
“The military took Mosab when he arrived on the checkpoint, leaving from the north to the south, as the military had ordered,” Abu Toha’s brother Hamza posted on social media. “We now have no details about him. It’s value mentioning that the American embassy despatched him and his household to journey by the Rafah crossing.”
Buttu instructed the Guardian that Abu Toha’s son was born within the U.S. and was cleared to be evacuated from Gaza, however “Mosab’s title was not on the checklist.”
“Finally, they acquired his title and his spouse’s title and the opposite children on the checklist, and so they had been ready to get out when it was secure,” Buttu recounted, attributing Abu Toha’s spouse. “They had been making an attempt to evacuate from the north to the south, once they had been stopped at a checkpoint with loads of others. They had been instructed to elevate their arms to point out they didn’t have something. Mosab was ordered to place his son down after which the military grabbed him, together with loads of different males.”
Abu Toha was born within the Al-Shati refugee camp months before the Oslo Accords had been signed in 1993. He went on to graduate with a level in English from the Islamic College of Gaza earlier than founding the Edward Said Library, the enclave’s first English-language public library, in his hometown of Beit Lahia in 2017. (A second department was opened in Gaza Metropolis in 2019).
Abu Toha taught English at U.N. Aid and Works Company colleges in Gaza from 2016 to 2019. In October 2019, he left Gaza for the primary time to turn out to be a visiting scholar at Harvard University. Final yr, Abu Toha revealed his debut guide of poetry, Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear. It received an American Guide Award, Palestine Guide Award, and Arrowsmith Press’s 2023 Derek Walcott Poetry Prize, and was a finalist for the Nationwide Guide Critics Circle Award. Earlier this yr, he accomplished a graduate poetry diploma at Syracuse University, the place he additionally labored as a educating assistant earlier than shifting again to Gaza.
For the reason that warfare that started with terrorist group Hamas’ attack on Israel on Oct. 7, Abu Toha has revealed essays and poems in regards to the scenario in Gaza in a lot of U.S. publications, together with the New Yorker, the Washington Post, the New York Times Magazine, the Atlantic, and, most lately, the Nation. On social media, too, he has documented the destruction of his home, the death of one of his students, and periodic updates on his family’s status.
His newest post on Nov. 15 shared: “Alive. Thanks to your prayers. We don’t have any entry to meals or clear water. Winter is coming and we don’t have sufficient garments. Children are struggling. We’re struggling. The military is now at Al-Shifa Hospital. Extra dying, extra destruction. Who can cease this? Please cease it now.”
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