From Gaza, with Love

Sunday, February 28, 2010

In Gaza I live

In Gaza I live

Hello family, friends, and supporters,

I'm so sorry it's been so long since I've written. I'm sorry also that I've not yet responded to the wonderful emails of support so many of you have sent during my illness.

I returned to Gaza after a short visit with my children, who are studying in Manchester in the UK. I am on my own here in Gaza, so busy, and life takes me from one day to another with no hope for political change on the horizon. I am very busy with cultural and health programmes and women’s empowerment and rehabilitation programmes, with the great support of Sheffield Women PSC and Manchester and Liverpool Friends of Palestine in the UK, as well as MECA in the US, comrades who support our vision for women’s issues as well as our political views for a future Palestine that is a free country based on equal rights and justice for all.

I am trying to write on my blog, but I cannot access it. I do not have my children’s technical assistance any more, and need to be more independent and technologically acquainted!!!!!

I will keep trying to access my blog--it is the bridge of love between me and my friends outside of Gaza; it is my method of ventilation while living in such difficult circumstances, with closure, siege, and occupation.

In talking of friends in Gaza we find our ways of coping with our situation, one of the many ways our friends care and support while we do not stop dreaming together of a better future for all.

Sport is another way of coping, and the most convenient is walking by the seaside. While walking I meet some of the fishermen in the early hours of the day, around 5 am, while they are struggling hard to live and can see the Israeli gunboats patrolling the sea as they harass and shoot at Palestinian boats.

I meet small children walking for long distances to reach their schools, as many families cannot afford to pay for transportation!!!!!! Tiny smiling faces have to leave their homes so early in the morning to reach school on time.

Shops here are stuffed with all sorts of goods; we get them via the tunnels at the Egyptian border. But few people can afford them—all goods are very expensive! Only a small new class can afford them. This class emerged in the void of the now-displaced previous elite, and the majority of people still suffer.

Israeli attacks continue; as I am writing there are incursions into the Gaza border areas of Beit Lahia, Beit Hanoun and Khan-Yunis, which you probably don’t hear in the news—Gaza is only remembered when a big disaster occurs !!!!!!!!

Last month we received the Viva Palestina convoy. I met activists from the UK, PSC York, Liverpool, Sheffield, Cambria, Birmingham, and Bristol. But they were only allowed to stay for such a short time, only 48 hours, a tremendous shame!! They did not have nearly enough time to see Gaza

Recently I helped in fundraising for the MRI machine at the Red Crescent Society for Gaza Strip. We reached our goal!

This highly sophisticated equipment is vital for Gaza’s patients who suffer daily because of the deteriorating health facilities, the lack of many essential medications, and the border closure that prevents people from crossing. Many patients need further treatment abroad, but the Rafah crossing has been closed for almost two months now. It will open next month, and when it is open it is very unpredictable and open only for three days, and the number of those who cross the border are much less than those who actually need to cross, including patients, students, families, etc…


I continue to be empowered when thinking of you and your great support and nonstop solidarity.

I find my self-esteem when I meet daily with people I work for, when I see children happily painting, dancing, reading, and involved in the different cultural programmes even amidst a life that is so hard and unfair, when I meet with women who leave their homes to receive nutrition and dental care services and lectures in the courses I run, when I feel the satisfaction of the team that runs those courses under such a difficult atmosphere.



back to gaza 29th -December 2009 -with love

Hello –my journey back home -29th 0f December 2009
From Manchester to Gaza via Cairo

Conflicting feelings roars inside me; while saying good bye to my children at the Manchester airport I am torn between the two most loveable things in my life—my children and home, where I am with friends and workmates, community and extended family. In the end I have to say goodbye and start my journey back to Gaza.

Fifteen hours’ delay in Istanbul as I lost my connection flight to Cairo due to the snow that hit Europe in unprecedented levels.

Passengers were complaining and restless due to the delay. I felt strange: This is nothing compared to what we face in Gaza when we try to leave and cross the border. It took me three days to be able to leave Gaza for Cairo last November and I was lucky to be able to leave at all (all things are relative in life). I started missing my kids, but also felt relief to start my journey home again.

As Palestinians living in Gaza we deal with the abnormal as normal; everything is relative.

Two hours after I arrived in Cairo I met friends from the Gaza Freedom March at the Sun Hotel, friends from different parts of the world. I met many of them through years of activism and solidarity with Palestine, people from France, Italy, Argentina, Australia, the US, the UK, etc.

Barbara, Gregg, Josie, and Norma

As part of the Gaza Freedom March, who were denied entry to Gaza, these friends decided to accompany me to Rafah and say goodbye on the border. On Saturday we all left on our way to the border, but soon we were stopped and were not allowed to continue to Rafah. We returned to the hotel.

I left C airo the next morning, carrying 8 suitcases of aid to Gaza. Norma joked, telling me “you are a camel!” I felt relieved to be able to carry the aid they hoped to carry to Gaza. I laughed at the idea of being a camel and felt sorry they could not enter Gaza. It is not just the aid, it is also the solidarity with Palestine and Palestinians in Gaza under siege and occupation.

On my way to Gaza

The distance between Cairo and Gaza is 500 km. As the car started, I was daydreaming of returning home, back to my apartment, workmates, friends, and community!

The car was ordered to stop at thirteen checkpoints!

The procedures at the Rafah crossing were too fast and easy! In less than seven hours since my journey’s start I was at my apartment.

Home sweet home

I wake up to the usual sounds of shelling against the Palestinian fishermen, and some heavy shelling further away at the northeast borders of Gaza.

Viva Palestina


At 2:30 am I heard a continuous sound of car horns under my window. I realized that the convoy was allowed to enter Gaza at last, and they are actually in Gaza! I rushed to the small airport to join the reception of the convoy, very excited to meet Heather of PSC York.

Rachel and Paul Quakers from Cambria

Thank you all for your great solidarity

Gaza today

Gaza Today
26th of February

Raining, raining, very cold; it seems that we’ve been struck by a storm from Europe.

I sit in my 10th floor apartment by the seaside, dark and cold (very cold), thinking of thousands of families that do not have electricity at the moment. Many have the opportunity to buy small electrical generators that we import via the tunnels, but the majority cannot afford them! As for me, for many reasons, including environmental reasons, I rejected the idea—those generators are very noisy, costly, and a nuisance.

Lack of electricity in the home for long periods not only affects routine household activities (which are extremely vital), it affects ones mood, too, and communication with the outside world and even inside Gaza, as all telecommunications are affected by power cuts.

The small piece of land that is Gaza is surrounded by electrical wires and closed borders, where 1.6 million live from one day to another with all sorts of hardships and no political outlet, exacerbated not only by the occupation but also the internal division.

Clean water is big problem—the purchase of water adds an additional burden on families small budgets.

It is raining heavily outside and getting colder and colder. It is dark, gloomy, so depressing. This is my Gaza today.