In times of Israeli closure, breastfeed!
Ok, I bet you never expected me to mention breastfeeding and Israeli closures in the same sentence. Well, I just did. Now, for the readers who didn't just drop like flies, I'll continue.
Israel has closed the al-Muntar/Karni commercial crossing, Gaza's commercial lifeline to the world, for coming on a month now, as fruits, vegetables and flowers destined for export to European markets, spoil, and medicines (including vaccinations and kidney dialysis wash), dairy products, sugar, rice and infant formula dwindle on Gaza's supermarket shelves.
I visited strawberry farms today (and made out like a bandit with a crate full of fresh berries to the farmer's insistence. "feed your colleagues" he said. little did he know there are no colleagues. Just me and Yousuf), exporters, and trade unions, all of course up who are up in arms about the month-long closure that comes despite Israeli promises in a post-disengagment American brokered deal late last year to keep the crossing open, especially during the Palestinian harvest.
Not to digress, but I also learned there is rather suspious sounding organization called "the Strawberry Society" in the northern Gaza farming village of Beit Lahiya. which I would learn is none other than..a society of, well, strawberry farmers. how dissappointing. but it just sounds so covert doesn't it. "I belong to the strawberry society." I wish I could say that.
I then spoke to a friend who works at a human rights organization that subsequently released a press release on the matter. He asked how Yousuf was making out without milk in Gaza. It never crossed my mind, I told him, because Yousuf (don't gag, I know he's nearly two) still breastfeeds, being the ardent breastfeeding advocate I am. I am a human milking station. The benefits of nursing are never as clear to me as when we face Israeli closures which cut us off quite literally from the world, and also from, among other things, infant formula.
So there you have it, yet another catchy slogan for the La Leche League: In times of closures, breastfeed!
For more on the ongoing closure, which has has caused more than half a million dollars in damage so far and left 170 tons of fruits and vegetables to rot, see my article for Aljazeera here.