Saturday, August 20, 2005

Closed in, again

I've had a long week. In between covering the "other side" of withdrawal, combatting a mystery stomach illness (I'm convinced the psycho-somatic effects of this craziness have manifested themselves in my stomach somehow), and trying to potty train Yousuf (unsucessfully. See: poopy stain on persian rug), I thought I needed a break yesterday seeing as how it was Friday.

Instead, I decided to head down to Rafah and Khan Yunis. I felt obligated to revisit the issue of house demolitions, to speak again with the thousands of Palestinain who lost their homes in Rafah all in the name of security for the settlers. But just as I was about to head out the door, I decided to check if Abo Holi was open or not. "I heard you opening all of Friday and Saturday" I asked the Palestinian police officer near the Israeli-controlled checkpoin over the phone.

"You mean closing all of Friday" he replied. Apprently, Israeli forces reneged on their promises to keep Abo Holi open on Friday, the Muslim holy day, during disengagement (its been closed the rest of the week, with the exception of about two hours in the middle of the night). Israeli forces also began digging an 8-metre deep trench aroudn Gush Qatif "to keep Palestinians out for premature celebrations" an army spokesperson told me. What are these, some kind of sick parting gifts?

A day earlier, Gaza settlers continued to disrupt Palestinian life as they attacked villagers near Kfar Darom and burned down their storage sheds (these very villagers warned me a day earlier that settlers might attack them, but their calls fell on deaf ears. The media thought it more apt to write about surfer settlers having to find new shores instead).

I decided to take my father's advice and take a break. We went to the beach and had tea as we watched the sunset over a freer, more beautiful Gaza, and bought fragrant Zanbaq flowers from young boys for a shekel, which grow in the wild near the enclosed area of Mawasi in Khan Yunis. I'm always found something so stark yet beautiful about flowers that grow in an area subject to the some of the darkest manifestations of human behaviour.


Blogger A said...

I learned myself recently that potty training is a process, not an event. Our Ibrahim has just gotten the hang of it recently, and we are very proud of him, but at one point I thought he'd never get it. He still has accidents, though (he's three and half). Good luck with Yousef's. With such intelligent parents, I'm sure he will do very well.

7:19 PM  
Blogger lisoosh said...

What is the normal age for potty training in Gaza?
In the States I trained my daughter at 2 and a half and most of her male classmates are only now training at 3 and a half (boys seem to take longer).
On the other hand an Indian friend said that they start before a year, so I suppose a lot depends on culture.
My son is the same age as yours I think, he was born March 2004.

8:29 PM  
Blogger Mad Canuck said...

Hi Laila,

It must be frustrating - Rafah is such a short distance from you, but it might as well be on Mars for all the good it will do you.

It reminds me a bit of the interview you did with Mohammed Samhouri, who said his knowledge about what was in the Gaza settlements was basically what he could get from a Google search on the Internet.

So close, and yet so far away...

6:20 AM  
Blogger Mad Canuck said...

By the way, thanks for the link in your blogroll!

6:21 AM  

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