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.


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