Sunday, May 22, 2005

Chips and charcoal..not a good combination

The other day, one of my editors sent me an email asking me how I do it-being a mommy and a journalist who’s practically on-call 24 hours. Sometimes I wonder that same thing myself I told him (usually around the time I’m conducting an important interview on the phone and Yousuf crawls onto my lap, pulls up my shirt, and starts uncontrollably chirping “bizzah, bizzah!” (translation: Boobie! Boobie!) to the horror of the person on the other line).

It’s been particularly challenging this week because my parents are out of town for 10 days so I'm watching Yousuf on my own. Today, in between the phone ringing off the hook and trying to get a story in on time, Yousuf popped open a bag of chips, and found his way to a box of quick lighting charcoal. Everything became black and salty within the span of 5 minutes. And they say the Israeli army has an enormous destructive potential…

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Its a bird, its a plane...its an Israeli Apache

You know thing ain’t right when a child has become so accustomed to warplanes that he confuses them with birds.

Today we went to my father’s farm, and on the way we stopped by a local souk in the Central Gaza Strip. I bought him two little chicks to play with (they later died, I’m sorry to say…though through no fault of my little chick-choker thank you very much). He chased after them gleefully, waving his hands, screaming “jaja..jaja!” (chicken! Chicken!)…I can only imagine the fear that overtook those poor birds, rest their souls.

Later than evening, Israeli helicopter gunships appeared overhead from the nearby Nezerim settlement, on their way to target Palestinian fighters in Khan Yunis. I didn’t notice until yousuf began pointing to the sky asking (confirming?) “jaja? Jaja?”. *sigh*…how do you explain this one to a one-year-old?

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Trouble at the (Syrian) border

We’re on the move again, this time to Syria. For a moment, (well, I”ll be honest, it was more like 9 hours of moments) we didn’t think we were going to get through (seems like a running theme by now doesn't it?). Yousuf had an Israeli stamp in his passport from the first time we moved to Gaza (when he was 2 months old no less) certifying that his mother has Palestinian residency and that she would add him to her “hawiah”, or identity card (that’s the Israeli way of keeping track of their cows).

The Syrians wouldn’t have it. “It’s not an Israeli visa” I tried to explain. “What fault is it of ours that we are under occupation? In order to enter Gaza, I have to pass through Israeli border control.” But logic has no place in Syria, where the government purports to be an Arab nationalist party yet denies Palestinians the right to visit.

After approximately 9 hours of waiting in the bitter mountain cold, lots of pleading, shaming, finger-pointing, and a number of phone calls to a matrix of Syrian security agencies, we were allowed through. Yassine was on edge, and very worried I’d be thrown into a Syrian prison. I already live in one large prison, I told him, think I’m used to it.

Incidentally, we left ot Syria alongside masses of Syrian military vehicles withdrawing from Lebanon as per resolution 1559. One shut down after being unable to make it over a speedbump. And thsi is the army that supposedly assassinated Hariri? I don't think so.