Friday, August 17, 2007

The law of the land

I've been following the situation closely back home. The past few months have really gotten me down-maybe its journalist fatigue.

I get tired having to explain the "situation back home" every time someone finds out I'm from Gaza and have recently been there. This might sound odd for someone with such a public internet persona. But with many people I've come in contact with, I have to start from scratch... forget about ID cards and border crossings and a non-functional, non-sovereign authority split between two still-occupied territories divided by borders and air and water they don't control.

I suppose part of it is realizing my existence is at stake somehow in all of this. I have to renew my Palestinian "passport" soon (I and have that in quotations because the "passport" is, as stated in the first page, issued pursuant to the sham that is Oslo), but I can't go back to Gaza. I have no where to go to, no where to return to. At least not now. Permanence is transient. Transience is permanent.

I've taken to doing some senseless things lately. Trying to clear my mind, regain some perspective. I watched a little bit of "Escape from Alcatrez" the other day. Funny, but it looked like paradise compared to Gaza now. I also just finished reading Ben White's "Brief Encounters with Che Guevera", a collection of short stories, many of them about Haiti and US involvement there. Naturally, I thought of our situation. I thought-can it get any more f****** up than t his? No really, I'm serious, can it?

I'm not sure what it will take anymore for people to realize the absurdity of it all. I mean, sanctioning an occupied people for God's sake? Demanding an end to "violence" by those occupied people all while the US shells out another $30 billion in military aid to the world's third strongest army?

And I'm not talking about the US only here. I'm talking about our very own Arab governments who, from day one, bowed in submission to US commands to freeze financial transactions to Hamas. Yes, the world, including the Arab world, has been complicit in the destruction of a society.

And now we have Abbas the degenerate thinking he's actually running the show in the West Bank; suddenly the money starts coming in, some prisoners scheduled for release anyway are released, leaving thousands of others languishing; and Abbas and his cronies are the new "moderates"; was it worth it? A few weeks ago a friend working with a respected human rights organization asked Saeb Erekat whether there had been any talks or negotiations with Israel regarding re-opening Rafah Crossing. Plain and simple, he answered no. If only he'd exert so much effort in all his negotiations.\

Amazing how just a few years ago Sharon flew to Washington to convince Bush Abbas was not a partner for peace.

And now there are calls for early elections that will exclude parties who "don't obey the law". And what law might that be, exactly?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Laila,

I've been wondering what people in the West Bank think of the "new" government there, and how people feel under Hamas in the Gaza Strip. You entry of today is enlightening in this regard, but still leaves me with questions. Can you write more about this?

I feel bad asking you to write more in response to an e-mail where you express your fatigue. But your commentary is powerful, informative, and I trust it deeply. I really think you do great work. I hope you can find energy to continue doing it with enthusiasm very soon.

3:23 AM  
Blogger eurofrank said...


Cheer up. The situation is quite as bad as the situation in Ireland under the Penal Laws. It took 900 years for the neighbours to go home. They originaly arrived with a mandate from the Pope to go and sort out a small difference about the date of Easter.

A friend of mine is teaching an undergraduate class on the Modern Middle East in one of the English Universities. I wonder if you would Skype into a video conference in her class to explain Gaza? We have plenty of time to set it up. She is only teaching three hours a week.

This is the beauty of modern telecommunications. It doesn't have to wait for Rafah to open.

8:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

your words are different this time. i am also sick and tired of wishes and hopes for palestine but is there anything else that we can do? be +, arjook.

6:30 AM  
Blogger Edie said...

Your fatigue is palpable.

The Gazans aren't the first Palestinians to suffer these past 60 years, but it doesn't get any easier, especially when 'the players' continue to play the game of politics, negotiations and 'peace talks' without tangible goals. What else can you do though except survive.

Survival is one of the strongest forms of resistance.

Hang in there.

7:13 AM  
Anonymous the other side of the tracks said...

Funny how I see myself agreeing with some of your politics.The absurdity of Abbas and "strengthening" his so-called joke of a regime, etc.etc... A real fantasy trip and total farce.

On the other hand I am puzzled as to what your personal vision is for us guys on the other side of the tracks once the occupation is ended.

8:51 AM  
Anonymous ESBOS said...

There is either war for both sides, or there is not-war for both sides (I hesitate to use the word "peace" because it has so many shades). At present, Hamas, which controls Gaza, has declared that its intent is to destroy Israel, and it wages war every day by attacking Israel. Yes, Israel has the larger army, but that does not require it to pretend that Hamas is not waging war. As long as Hamas is in a war with Israel, then all of your complaints about military aid to Israel or closing of Rafah simply do not apply. Israel, plain and simple, has no obligation to support Hamas or the state Hamas controls.

5:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Laila: My name is Aletha. I met you at a forum in Old Lyme CT -- The First Congregational Church. My husband Lynn and I have participated for two years in the Tree of Life Journey.

I am so happy to be able to read your news again. There was a huge void in our life when you were missing. Please do keep up the good work. We will be praying for you and your family continuely. I am sending a notice to all my contacts.

Our Love and Best Wishes, Aletha.

4:10 PM  
Anonymous jamal said...

I always like your perspectives as they are to the point.

8:11 AM  
Blogger John & Anthea Mullis said...

Hmmm... well put. I guess politics has nothing to do with reality, but everything to do with perception! Keep up the excellent reporting.

12:59 AM  
Blogger kris said...


I have certainly missed your posts over the last couple months...

You may be interested to know that I have finally been granted access to stay in Gaza over the duration of my internship with PCHR. If all else goes as planned, I should be there by August 31.

I plan to coordinate with various media outlets during my stay in an attempt to freelance some reports while I am there - if you get back to Gaza, I would be very interested to discuss some ideas with you!

Good luck - and glad to finally see you blogging again!

-Kris Petersen

6:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You talk about the world being "complicit in the destruction of a society."
What an interesting choice of words. Hamas, the terrorist government you find acceptable and believe should receive financial aid, is hellbent on the destruction of a society: the State of Israel.

Gazans voted Hamas into power. Everything happening in Gaza now is a direct consequence of that. Maybe instead of blaming Israel for everything under the sun, you should think about the real reasons for what is happening.

You completely ignore the terrorism perpetrated by Hamas and others in Gaza. It seems that if this terrorism would stop, Gaza would be a normal place instead of a chaotic hellhole.

6:35 PM  
Anonymous alajnabiya said...

Assalaamu 'alaikum. "Journalist fatigue"? I live in the West Bank, and I think that most of us are feeling this fatigue now. The hardest thing is looking at our "leaders" and thinking, we always knew they were a bit inept and corrupt, but now they are totally embarrassing. Humiliating. How do you go out trying to hold your head high and ask the world to understand and care about Palestine, when we have such leaders that only care about their own power and position?

I have enjoyed reading your blog for a long time, although I have never commented on a blog before. So I want to thank you for giving us your perspective, and I hope you will continue for a long time. You inspire me.

9:16 AM  
Anonymous khaled bouchafaa said...

Mashallah Great site keep it up


1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please keep writing. Where are you at present? You have no idea how insightful, informative, and important your blog is. Please keep writing -- write us any and all details of life on the ground in Gaza -- what the situation is like now, and how people are coping and what they are thinking and feeling.

A few interviews with some ordinary Gazans about what they have to endure in the course of a day, with photos of them, would be priceless.

1:37 PM  
Blogger CRUSTYBEEF said...

what a great blog. I'm new over here, and I just wanted to say as a mother, and as a christian mother married to a jewish man, I love your words..your perspective. It's very unique.
I look forward to hearing more about your stories, world, and life with your darling little guy!

11:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How is Israel the 3rd strongest army? Who is second, fourth and fifth? Is Israel right behind US and Russia? In front of the UK, China and France?

4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where are you? Are you still safely in the United States with your husband studying at Duke? Are your readers aware of this? That all your drivel about the situation in Gaza is now penned from the safety of the Carolinas?
Do your readers realize that you are the upper crust of society in that you are able to travel freely from Gaza to the U.S. and back again? I wonder if your readers know who is actually writing this stuff.

6:25 PM  
Blogger Laila said...

Hello Anon,
I am sure they are, since my profile very clearly states I am in Durham, North Carolina and I talk about my journey out of Rafah in many posts. And contrary to popular belief, I am not a US Citizen, and do not have the ability to "travel freely from Gaza to the US and back again". I have to go through Rafah Crossing-when its open-like everyone else. But I'm sure if you read my blog you'd know that.

4:17 PM  

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