Today marks the 100th day from the terrorist attack done by Hamas that took the lives of many civilians in Gaza. On this episode, our guest is an extraordinary woman named Natalie Sanandaji, who shares her experience as it happened on what could be described as the worse day for Jews since World War II.
What you’re about to hear is a real, unedited, unfettered, unfiltered conversation about an extraordinary event that happened on October 7, and has been impacting the rest of the world since.
You’re listening to Christopher Lochhead: Follow Your Different. We are the real dialogue podcast for people with a different mind. So get your mind in a different place, and hey ho, let’s go.
Natalie Sanandaji on the Day of the Attack
The conversation starts off with Natalie painting a scene on how she found herself in the middle of the October 7th terrorist attack, where Hamas militants killed civilians and held the population hostage.
For context, Natalie is an American-Persian Jew, who visits her relatives frequently, especially during holidays and family celebrations. As such, her visit back in October was for vacation, so she could be with them in the upcoming holiday season.
That said, she had heard that there was an upcoming Nova Music Festival nearby, wherein they can camp out and enjoy music, which often lasted for a few days. The immediate comparison is that it was like Woodstock, as the themes of peace with music was similar.
The irony of the event and what happened afterwards did not escape Natalie.
Natalie Sanandaji on the Start of the Attack
After the first night of the festival was over, Natalie and her friends decided to go back to their campsite and take a nap until the morning set of the festival. But instead of waking up to the sound of music, they were woken up by the sound of rockets.
“One of our friends from our campsite was on the dance floor when the rock first rockets were intercepted overhead, and she knew that we were still at the campsite sleeping; we hadn’t woken up yet. So she came back to the campsite to wake us up, because she wants to make sure that we were alert to what was happening. She came in she woke us up and she was all smile-y. And she was like, “Hey guys, good morning. I just want to wanted you to know a few rockets were intercepted overhead. But it’s fine.” “
– Natalie Sanandaji
Normally, the Iron Dome would’ve intercepted the few rockets and everything would be back to what they were, with their biggest fear being getting hit by falling debris. But there was something to the amount and frequency of the rockets that made Natalie’s friend think that this was different.
After hearing more than a dozen rocket explosions, Natalie and her friends decided to pack up and just go home. Party’s over. Though there were people who were starting to panic as they were going to their cars, the whole vibe of it was more annoyance than fear – annoyed that the festival was cut short because of what was happening.
Natalie and here friends themselves were not in a hurry. She even found time to go to the bathroom to freshen up while her friends waited by the car. Only later did Natalie find out that that decision could’ve been a fatal mistake on her part.
“I went to the bathrooms and then I went back to the car, and not until about two weeks later did I realize how much I was putting my life in danger by going to those bathrooms. Because about two weeks later was when a video surfaced of the Hamas terrorists coming to those exact bathrooms where I was maybe 10-15 minutes later, and just shooting at every bathroom stall trying to kill anyone who was hiding inside.”
– Natalie Sanandaji
As they drove out of the venue, the festival security was herding the leaving people into the dirt roads for better traffic. Though suddenly, those same security people started telling people to go back, and later on telling them to get out of their cars so they could run and hide. Only then did people know that something was horribly wrong.
And then, the sound of gunshots started to get louder and closer.
To hear more from Natalie Sanandaji and her account on what happened on that fateful day, download and listen to this episode.
Natalie Sanandaji, 28, serves as a public affairs officer for the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM).
A Long Island native, Natalie worked in real estate in New York City before October 7th, when she survived the Nova music festival massacre during a visit to Israel. Her traumatic experience that day led her to transform her life and switch her professional track to Jewish advocacy and fighting antisemitism.
Connect with Natalie Sanandaji!
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