From Gaza, with Love

Monday, September 10, 2007

Gaza Today

Gaza today

Since my return from the USA and my mother’s death I have not felt a
strong desire to write.

At the moment I am passing deeply through my grief. Every morning I think
that the telephone will ring and it will be her regular morning call. I
feel that an important pillar of my humanitarian structure has collapsed.
I know I need some time to restore my balance to be able to cope with her
absence; she was always my great inspiration and support with her endless
tender loving care.

It was too hard for me not to be able to say goodbye. It was hard to know
that I was not allowed to reach her because of some tiny lousy scrap of
paper, another fragment in the saga of closed borders, occupation and the
long history of Palestinian suffering - one generation after another since
the foundation of Israel and the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948,
and later on in 1967 the occupation of what was left of historic Palestine
- Gaza and the West Bank.

I decided today to resume my walks inside Gaza by the seaside, my favorite
sport. I woke up very early and started my 45 minute walk at 6 a.m.

I could hear the sounds of artillery shelling coming from the east side of
Gaza City. The Israeli military operation inside the Gaza Strip continued,
10 were killed yesterday (Thurs 6 Sep) 17 were injured in AlMagazi refugee
camp as well as Alqarara village, sanctions and borders closure have
continued, along with restrictions of movement.

Only a few hundred students were allowed to leave Gaza, the majority were
turned back at the Egyptian borders. I was denied a permit to leave Gaza
for the Women’s World Forum in Seoul (12-15 September)

Every day patients are prevented from leaving Gaza for further treatment
abroad. Some cross the borders but the majority do not. Dozens of
essential medications are missing from hospital shelves, poverty is
severely prevalent, 85% of the population depend on international aid
agencies’ food distribution. Essential foods for a balanced diet, like
meat, vegetables, fruit, milk are missing from the domestic basket -
either because people cannot afford to buy them, or because they are not
even in the market.

Most of the time we do not have regular power supply or sufficient water.
The occupation decides what we should eat and what we should not, what we
should wear and what we should not, they interfere in the very tiny
details of our daily life, by imposing so many rules and regulation (under
the security pretense), they decide your children’s eye colors in case you
enjoy peace of mind with healthy intimate personal relationships. The
Palestinian situation in Gaza is economical and political strangulation.

We have become a small piece of news, not enough to disturb the world’s
sleeping conscience.

While walking back home I noticed the excessive presence of Hamas security
soldiers. It is Friday, and Fatah called people for a Jomae prayers
protest in the streets of Gaza. Later on thousands were in the streets,
but they were dispersed by Hamas, some were injured and some of the
leaders were under arrest. There is intense friction between the 2 parties
which adds more and more levels of suffering for ordinary Palestinian
people. We don’t know the way out of this situation where Hamas controls
Gaza and Fatah controls the West Bank. And now people’s daily talk is of
salaries, closure and sanctions, whereas the main Palestinian issues --
self-determination, end of the occupation, right of return – are off the
agenda. No-one shows concern or even speaks of them at the moment. The
occupation has achieved its long-term goal, hungry fighting people can’t
think straight.

This is the strategy of the occupation supported by the Western powers. As
a national liberation movement, we fell into the trap of authority so
foolishly; it is time for both parties to get on the right track towards
our liberation and independence. While returning home after my 45 minute
walk, I could not help but feel very bad about the heaps of garbage strewn
along my way and the deterioration of green areas after the continuous
razing of land and uprooting of trees throughout the 7 years of this

I remembered my young daughter saying to me as we crossed the borders to
Gaza “it is a sharp demarcation between 2 worlds - Israel and Gaza – a
very sharp demarcation between the world of the occupied and the
occupier.” I nodded my head and made no comment, but said to myself that
one day things will change. We should all work hard until that dream comes
true, when the land of Palestine is shared between both the Israelis and
the Palestinians in one Democratic state for all its citizens living and
enjoying equal rights and when the Palestinian refugees can experience
their right of return according to UN Resolution 194 and enjoy the justice
they have not had for decades.

For myself, I continue working for the children and women of Palestine,
via different community projects, bearing in mind how to make the balance
between relief and development projects, remembering the difficulty of
development under occupation and a collapsed economy, but also not
forgetting that patients, women and children are usually the soft targets
in such circumstances - they need all our efforts to keep them safe and
sound whenever possible.


with love and solidarity

Mona ElFarra


  • Dr. Mona ElFarra,

    It is good to hear you are writing again despite the circumstances. My deepest sympathy goes out to you on the loss of your mother. I hope that her memory will one day bring you peace. My friend, Halla, and I heard you speak at USC (Los Angeles) on July 7th. We follow your blog as well as Leila's. Please know that we do think of you and all of the people in Gaza and are working on spreading awareness here in the U.S. Thanks for all you do ~ Laura

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/11/2007 10:39 PM  

  • My most tender sympathy to you in your grief. There is little I can write that will not sound stupid, I think. My own mother died 10 years ago and I still think, sometimes, as I go to the mail or listen to a phone ring that it might be her. When my children do something I am proud of I think "I must write my mother--she will be happy about this".
    May your heart somehow find comfort.

    By Blogger jarvenpa, at 9/14/2007 4:20 AM  

  • i am sorry for your losses- all of them. i will do what i can to keep your story out there.

    By Blogger billie, at 9/14/2007 6:06 PM  

  • When I read this, I remember why I'm spending so much energy and time to your case. Wished I could do so much more for you Gazans...
    In commissary,


    By Blogger Unknown, at 9/16/2007 2:47 PM  

  • have no idea how much i would love to save the world listening to your stories... i was there and i've never felt so sad and so angry for what is going on in that part of the world...

    By Blogger andrea, at 9/19/2007 11:50 AM  

  • Ramadan Kareem. I am sorry about the loss of your mother. You,your family, and everyone in Palestine are in my prayers. salamat

    By Blogger Teacher Activist, at 9/27/2007 3:56 AM  

  • I can only say I am sorry for your mother's passing -- and ashamed of pretty much the whole world for our abandonment of justice for Palestinians.

    By Blogger janinsanfran, at 9/28/2007 2:53 AM  


    By Blogger Heléne, at 10/01/2007 3:12 PM  

  • Mona,

    don't give up writing. Though I may not put pen to paper as much as I ought (so to speak), I value what you have to say and miss your discourse here. Though it may be hard for you at times to visualize it as such, your presence here is as though you are in a crowded room; there are swarms of us here listening, waiting for your next utterance. Stay with us.
    Ed (Dublin)

    By Blogger Admin, at 10/02/2007 10:02 PM  

  • My deepest sympathies for the loss of your mother. It is criminal that the situation in Gaza prohibits you from moving freely. I share your hopes for justice, you speak it so beautifully, so one day, it MUST be!!!

    By Blogger thecutter, at 10/14/2007 7:13 PM  

  • First let me extend my sympathies unto you during this time. From your blog one can tell that your mother was extremely influence to you. However, I was wondering when you planned to write again. When and if you decide to write again, I was wondering if you could assist me in answering a specific question. Has there been any quantitative data that has led to a definitive number of causalities as a result of the power outages in the hospitals. Certainly, the crisis has indirectly led to the death of many innocent patients in the Gaza Strip. Thanks.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 10/15/2007 1:33 AM  

  • Dr. Mona,

    I send my condolences for the loss of your mother. I can not begin to imagine how that must feel but I hope that you are able to find peace in regards to it.

    Just today, I was speaking to someone else about our own conditions (We live in a city that was 80% destroyed by a flood) and that person happened to mention that despite it all, he still remembers to pray for peace in Palestine. It made me think of you and how I hadn't visited your blog in so long. Your plight should not be forgotten, regardless of what else is going on in the world.

    By Blogger bint alshamsa, at 10/17/2007 1:40 AM  

  • I am very sorry for your loss.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 10/20/2007 7:17 PM  

  • Dear dr. Mona,
    I have been following your blog for some time, and I am happy that I had the chance to get to know you when I was living in Gaza. I am so upset to hear how you were hindered to reach your mother in her last days, but I am sure she was proud of you. Stay strong and take care, both for yourself and Sondos. Hug from Kristin.

    By Blogger kristo56, at 10/24/2007 2:30 AM  

  • I hope you find the heart to write again Mona. love and prayers from Belfast X

    By Blogger Lawrence, at 10/26/2007 12:15 AM  

  • see hamash people kill Fatah people in gaza

    By Blogger Unknown, at 10/26/2007 8:57 PM  

  • I am sorry to hear of the loss of your mother. These things are never easy and how we deal with them is a personal thing.
    I just wanted to say that I love your blog, I print off the stories and read them to my Palestinian co-worker. She keeps asking me when I will bring her another... What should i tell her? ;)

    Looking forward to future work!

    By Blogger Travelling Man, at 10/29/2007 7:42 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home