Thursday, April 27, 2006

That terrible feeling inside

Ok I admit I've been a little lazy this week. Part of that is has to do with the fact that, wrapped up in my pre-travel anxiety as it were, and my mad rush to tie up as many loose ends as possible and write as much as possible, I think I burnt myself out.

That and being here can be overwhelming at times; this week has been one of those times. Sometimes I'm too caught up to notice, but then on a "down" week, it catches up to me. I feel powerless, even crushed, in the face of an ugly, foreboding, larger than life force that seems to grow and mutate with every passing day. It is everywhere and nowhere at once. And try as you might, you cannot hide from it.

It squeezes you tighter and tighter, instilling within you a feeling of helplessness and dejection and isolation, until you begin to feel you are alone, even among 1.5 million others. And there is nothing you can do about it.

Sometimes I don’t want to do anything about it. I just want to run away, somewhere I hope it can’t reach me. Sit on the beach, listen to the troubled stories that the Gaza’s lonely Mediterranean is desperately trying to tell. “Take me to the beach at sunset, so I may listen what the beach says…when it returns to itself, calmly, calmly.”

Yousuf frolicked about in the sand, building and destroying his imaginary creations, pleased with his new-found prowess. He glanced over at me, sensed something of sadness in my eyes, and patted me on the shoulder-“ma3lsh, mama, ma3lish” he said… “It’s ok”…and suddenly, just like that, everything was.

He makes it all better


Blogger Abu-Issa said...


Rest assured that there are people here who are trying to do something to make it better. You are not alone.

Draw your strength from Yousuf.


2:08 PM  
Blogger Sophia said...

Children are very good at detecting in their parents those distressing moments even if you don't show it. They are also very good at consoling us. Keep up the good spirit.

2:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can only wholeheartedly agree to what abu-issa wrote! You are definitely not alone ... there are so many people who care (even though some are afraid to express their support)! GOD, I wish I could "beam you" over here and we could have - together with Yousuf of course - at least a few lovely days without fear, tension, bullets and loud booms .. but, sadly enough, as well without Mediterranian! Yousuf is such a sweet guy .. . a REAL sweetie-pie! I am sending you a LOT of strength ... hang in there, I love you ALL!!

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW ... did finally everything work out with your ticket? Did they at last understand you DO exist? Which airport will you use?
I'm just being nosy ...

2:56 PM  
Blogger Laila said...

Hi Karin, and thanks everyone,

I was able to purchase the ticket-but they still have not yet added Palestine to their country list on their website, so I'm going to have to complete all my passenger details in the airport and see what happens there (I'm curious where they'll add me). I have to use Cairo Airport (which is 7 hours away). The reason it wasn't a problem before is because I used to use my JOrdanian travel document (a two year document issued to some Palestinains) but it is expiring a day before i travel and the Jordanian government is phasing them out i.e. not renewing them (it was considered "Jordanian" for all pracical purposes abroad, but not here or in Jordan). So now I have my visa on that expired passport to the US, and my valid passport is the PA one, and to add to the madness, my name in this passport is Laila Daoud, not Laila El-haddad, because the Israeli authorities instructed the PA they MUST put my husband's family name (Daoud), not my name, so they more easily keep track of families and its the same as in my ID card, and to my yells and screams about how I do not change my last name, (and even islamically, you keep your own name, you don't change it like they do in many western socieites) they said "tough, that's what the Israelis want", so instead I have a stamp that says "maiden name: laila el-haddad", "name: laila dawood". *SIGH*.

3:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy mackerel ... SEVEN hours - only to get to the airport?? That's crazy! And then the mess with the name ... this is all totally abnoxious and only reflects the ignorance and indifference of your unbelievably ruthless occupiers! GOD - I wish I could help you!
That means you will land as well in Cairo and have to cross Rafah-checkpoint in order to be able to get back home ... a nightmare!! Just HANG IN THERE and always know there are MANY people who support you!!

3:51 PM  
Blogger Fatima said...

Amazing the insight of children.

5:28 PM  
Blogger moi said...

Laila, may Allah be with you during these tough times, and Allah y5aleelik Yousuf :)

7:59 PM  
Blogger julianna said...

I kept my name and boy is it frustrating in a western society! i almost thought about taking my husband's to avoid it, bu i love my name.. and didn't want to leave it! And i get annoyed when epople try to give me his.

3:29 AM  
Blogger A'tuin said...

Oh, I wish I could teleport you and your family away from there.

I love your blog, but I don't usually comment--anything I have to say is likely to come out being naive and Western :D.

But on this, I felt compelled. Listen to your son. Children are the peacemakers.

4:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A word to a'tuin ...
You shouldn't hesitate to comment and fear it might come out naive or Western but feel free to voice your opinion like all of us do! At least here we can do that freely - in reality , sadly enough, things often look a bit different ...
Just go ahead - don't be afraid! BTW ... you are totally right with what you stated - children are peace-makers!!

6:27 AM  
Blogger Fatima said...

You've got so much of courage and determination. I admire you.
Your blog actually brought tears to my eyes.
InshALLAH may ALLAH keep you strong and keep you and your family safe during these trying times.

1:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I know you might be sceptical of me saying this but I wanted to let you know. We, alot of us, mothers of sons and daughters in Israel, feel the same way at times, I understand why you feel this way. I have seen it here in Israel, and also in talking with a palestinian mothers in Israeli hospitals ( the only real place in the Jerusalem area that we really have close contact) we often find out that we have alot more in common than we think and both of us are tired of all that goes on. We wish for a better future.

I would not know how to encourage you, but don't give in to dispair. Don't lose hope. I know it looks crazy right now and hopeless, but we have to hold on to hope - and it is our children that often give us the strength we need.

I have been reading your blog every now and then since a friend told me of it. Take Care.

3:28 PM  
Blogger helena said...

Laila, yet another big shift to prepare for in your life... I can completely understand the anxcieties and challenges it brings. It's great, though, that you've time to share so much about you life here on the blog (and you still can, when you're dealing with all your new challenges in the US.) Plus, meeting challenges just makes you stronger... Or something.

Yousuf is so sensitive and adorable! Allah yukhaleelik yahu.

4:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Allah yi ghalilik hiya! (I hope I spelled that right)

As the saying goes "From the mouths of babes!!" Keep those memories close.
As a mother starting the "empty nest" syndrome, I miss those days & wish they were back.

Don't despair, tomorrow is another day & eventually problems solve themselves.

5:03 PM  
Blogger Tater said...

"being here can be overwhelming at times; this week has been one of those times. Sometimes I'm too caught up to notice, but then on a "down" week, it catches up to me. I feel powerless, even crushed, in the face of an ugly, foreboding, larger than life force that seems to grow and mutate with every passing day."

Don't feel like you're alone, there is plenty of misery to go around in the ME

8:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and where are the children of the Hamas leadership? Being educated in western universities.

1:28 AM  
Blogger chet said...

Children are God's gift to us. It allows us to see the beauty, hapinness and peace in this world that during our bad days and time of our troubles that we cannot see. I really believe they give us the strength to on. You have a fine son. God Bless You.

8:23 PM  
Blogger Omni said...

Your boy is beautiful!! Stay strong for him, because he and others like him will one day change the world. xo


3:31 AM  
Blogger Liesl said...

I popped over here from BlogHer...

Your son is beautiful, and his face surely gives you hope in such hard times. He's about the same age as my son...every day I hope that somehow we can all work together to give our children a more peaceful world than the one on which we currently reside.

4:49 AM  
Anonymous moomin13 said...

Hi Laila, I've been reading your blog, mostly on the ISM website. Just wanted to let you know I'm coming back to Palestine very soon ! Perhaps I can visit Gaza.


5:27 AM  
Blogger Abu Shaar said...

Isha'allah, moomin13! Although I imagine getting through Erez would be impossible for an international.

Such beautiful artwork on your blog!

Original art you made, yes?

8:49 AM  
Blogger pacalaga said...

Your son is beautiful, and I hope he reminds you, as mine does for me, that no matter how awful things are, there is still beauty and goodness.
It isn't the governments of the world who will change it, we will.
Soon I will be taking my son to the beach for the first time in his life, and I will think of you and Yousuf and I will hope you are all well.

10:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I admire your tenacity for life and that of your child, no matter where in the world we live, as mother's we share a common bond. there is nothing more important then the life of your children.
You are an intelligent, wonderful, strong woman, and we may share a different God, but I bless you and your life.

1:24 AM  

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