Friday, April 18, 2008

Waiting for the rainfall

I have a small garden behind the townhouse I rent. Nothing terribly impressive. In fact the soil is so acidic that it is inhospitable to most plants. Its mainly red clay, not unlike Gaza. Good for cucumbers and the like. But mainly, just mint grows in my garden. Lots and lots of mint, interspersed with some thyme.

And a small Loquat tree.

Last year, my sister in law's Syrian father gave me the Loquat sapling from a larger tree that he smuggled in from Syria more than twenty years ago as a seedling and transplanted in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Now, two decades on, I transplanted it in this small, acidic mint garden of mine.

The insects ate of the leaves what the tired soil did not. But it is spring, and somehow , new life has been breathed into it. new leaves are coming out. It has survived.

But today, as North Carolina faces a continued drought, I contemplated for a moment whether I should even be watering this sad little garden of mine. Or the brave little Loquat tree.

My mind travels. In Gaza, due to the Israeli imposed power shortages, nearly 20% of Palestinians there receive water sparingly, for only 3 to 5 hours every four days.

The fuel shortages have cut the energy supply by 31%, and have caused the suspension of garbage collection in Gaza City for the past two weeks.

And last week, 21 more dead. Five children, a farmer, a young cameraman, hit by a Flechette shells ...but who cares.

I decide not to water my the mint; or the Loquat. They can make do with the occasional rainfall.

Last week my parents left to Egypt to try and return to Gaza. They were stuck here for 9 months. They grew tired. So they figured they'd change pace, and grow tired somewhere else; And wait; and wait some more, for the border to open, So they can return home;as if borders open on their own.

And if after a month of waiting, or maybe two, there is no hope in waiting, they will return here to wait again.

And contemplate the ethical dilemmas of watering a mint garden during a drought.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Meeting Khaled Meshal

Well, not me, though I did translate a 13 page interview with him for UK Channel 4's in December. But it seems former President Carter is.

"I think someone should be meeting with Hamas..." Carter said on ABC this week.

"If Israel is ever going to find peace with justice concerning the relationship with their next-door neighbors, Hamas will have to be included in the process."

At least someone is willing to acknowledge that there is no ignoring them anymore if a meaningful and sustainable resolution is to be reached.

In their most recent report, the International Crisis Group found that "The policy of isolating Hamas and Gaza is bankrupt" and has in fact backfired.

Now I just wonder if Carter is going on his own accord or whether he was sent indirectly by his government as a "feeler" of sorts...

A Noor milestone!

ok, I'm pathetic, but I just had to post about this: Noor rolled over by herself today!! I'm so proud of my little girl, she's growing up at 3 months! Next thing I know she'll be off to college!! aah!

In the Big Easy

I'm in New Orleans with Noor this weekend to present Tunnel Trade at the New Orleans International Human Rights Film Festival.

Several other Palestinian films being screened include Bilin my Love, Driving to Zigzigland, Digital Resistance, and the Truth from Palestine.

I am staying with a Lebanese family who live in-yes its true-the West Bank (suburban New Orleans west of the Mississippi).

Hana is an oncologist and Mustapha is a Pediatrician. They have three children-aged 13, 14, and 17. They graduated from AUB and came to specialize in the US in the late '80s. Hana's house in Beirut was just overlooking the camps of Sabra and Shatila, where she says she used to volunteer. "I remember carrying corpses of mutilated children-of children... in my arms."

She says she remembers seeing [Mahmoud] Abbas, corrupt even then, driving into the camps in his black Mercedes to meet with Fatah's Force 17, pushing his way through the crowds.

"Now, when I hear talk about 'negotiations' and about Abbas doing this or that, I am nauseated. I am really nauseated in every sense of the word. What have they turned into? They are basically policing for the Israelis."