From Gaza, with Love

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Gaza again and again

Back to Gaza, Back to Walking

Walking during the early hours of the morning this Friday, the town
has not awoken yet, but a few children are playing on the side of the
road. Some are young girls, smiling, who invite me to join them to
play hopscotch. These are girls that are happy playing with little
boys, yet soon in a few years they will be forced to be covered.
Mixing with boys is one of the great, great taboos. Whether it is
because of tradition or religion, it does not matter.

Quite simply, they cannot practice their right to choose what to wear-
all are asked to surrender to the rules of the tribe, like herds of
sheep. Voices of difference or dissent are asked to shut up when the
current is running so strongly in the other direction.
I was thinking deeply of the years when the grandmothers of these
children walked to schools uncovered, during the Sixties and the
secular era of Nasser- how Gaza has changed.

All of a sudden I could hear and see two Israeli gunboats on the
horizon, just like two ugly protruding eyes on a huge face. It
reminded me of Orwell’s 1984, where Big Brother controls and watches
over you at all times.

What do we expect next as Palestinian people? I thought deeply about
this. Where is the outlet, the solution to this big dilemma?
Politicians seems to insist on a constant deadlock, and in the West
Bank, Israel proves every day that she is not a partner in peace, as
she steals more and more land and continues building new settlements.
In Gaza, Hamas rules while Israel controls our borders and continue
their daily attacks. Military attacks that are unheard and unseen by
many in this world, yet we live under this siege daily. The worst is
the constructed division between Hamas and Fatah, and the lack of
Palestinian unity. This affects ordinary peoples’ daily lives, from
the food we consume to the medicine we need. The other aspect which
people feel is the lack of any promise or inspiration on the political

As for me, I remember my friend’s inspiring words, “When things seems
so bad, try to focus on small successes.” I thought of the work of the
Middle East Children’s Alliance(MECA), the Maia projects(water purification system for children in gaza schools ), the psycho- social
support for children, with their love for art programs, and their
chance for self expression. I am determined to continue helping and
empowering people with steadfastness. There are thousands of women
and children, courageous people who are living under such harsh
conditions, who need these programs and the love and support they

With love I send my message, with great conviction that the remedy for
Palestine is unity. Unity is the first step towards a clear strategy
to determine for ourselves what we need next for our future. I
believe strongly that this unity exists in the growing global
solidarity movement that stands with Palestinians for peace and
justice and against oppression wherever it exists, including within my
own land.

With your solidarity and support, we in Gaza will continue. It is a
long term battle, but one day we will all prevail.