Sunday, September 25, 2005

The right to die

Well, the good news is, I write this from an internet cafe in Cairo, with Yousuf sleeping soundly in his stroller by my side. We made it out of Gaza- just barely, within the span of 24 hours that the Rafah Crossing was re-opened on Friday to allow out hundreds of thousands (and i'm not exhaggerating here) trapped students, expatriate Palestinians, sick men, women, and children who need treatement in Egypt and beyond, and so on, in a trip that took just as long. Those were the only categories of Palestinians allowed out of Gaza, with a select 50 more a day allowed out (that doesn't include me-I am a "security threat') through Erez.

We literally did not know whether the crossing would open or not until pre-dawn on Friday, with israeli forces reportedly (according to a senior Palestinain security official) threatening to bomb passenger buses if the PA and Egypt operated the crossing without its approval, all pressure tactics tells me Diana Butto, legal advisor to the Palestinian withdrawal committee, to force Palestinians to accept an Israeli-imposed solution (a circutious route through a crossing called Kerem Shalom) to Palestinian movement that would render our freedom of movement-and sovereingy-null and void.

Local newscasts kept flip-flopping as to whether or not the crossing woudl open, first it was yes but.., then it was no, indefinitely, then it was yes, then no again, and finally "yes, for 48 hours".

That was of course cut short to just around 30 hours, after all hell broke loose in Gaza-which I watch from a distance with great pain, and Israeli decided to collectively punish all of Gaza's Palestinians (a violation of Geneva 4, also a hallmark of an occupying power) by shutting down all crossings indefinitely again right as we left (wait, I thought the occupation was over? Israel was no long in control of the borders? er...)

The Crossing-which is the only route to the outside world for Gaza's 1.5 million Palestinians, was unilaterally shut down by Israel in the beginning of september-which contrary to popular belief and mass media projection-still maintains effective control over the borders and crossings.

we left Gaza at 6am and arrived in Cairo at the same time the next day. it was, to put it mildly, a journey through hell. Much of problem was due to delays because of the backlog of people trying to get through before the crossing would close again, and logistical delays-the Israelis yanked out all the computers and baggage conveyors to make sure that the Palestinians do not operate the crossing unilaterally (that word should be familiar to them...). Still, they were quite speedy adn efficient, and everyone seemed please with their effeciency given their minimal capabilities. the same cannot be said for the egyptians-for which i will reserve a separate blog rant.

Meanwhile, thousands of other Palestinains who were not as lucky as we were remain behind in Gaza, and Egypt. I have spoken to Palestinian families in Gaza whose loved ones died wiating to get medical treatment, and others here in Cairo that who were unable to transport the bodies of their recently deceased relatives to be buried with dignity in their homeland, in Gaza. One right the Israelis have granted us: the right to die.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for the news. what do i have to do in order to visit gaza theese days ? (i allready was in Gaza in 2003 and 2001, i know what awaits me there). is there a change if comming from egypt ?

7:23 PM  
Blogger umkahlil said...

Thanks for posting, Laila. Many of us anxiously await your posts for news. Best on your journey, umkahlil

8:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

glad you made it out.

9:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and Hamas just sent 29 rockets to an Israeli town, injuring innocent people. In what way is that in accordance with the Geneva convention?

I honestly would like to know how you feel about those sending rockets etc, and blowing up innocent Palestinians at their rallies - you don't seem to condemn this violence. Do you support it?

11:11 PM  
Blogger Mad Canuck said...

Hi Laila,

I'm happy and relieved you made it out okay. I've done the type of long-distance relationship you are doing with Yassine, and I know how hard it is. I'm sure you and he must both be happy you'll be seeing each other soon.

4:57 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

Why is it when people want to leave nasty, interperate comments they can't seem to reveal their names or identities (speaking of our 2 "anonymous" commenters)? Even when I lv. a negative comment at a site I always include my name whether it's required or not.

As for their disingenuous questions asking how the author feels about Hamas killing its own people or rockeing Sedrot--Laila's only obligation here is to herself and her interests. She owes no special obligation to any one of us as to what she writes.

Instead of fatuously trying to get her to reveal some opinion that you'd only use against her should she speak it--get yourself your own blog (if you don't already have one) & spout all you want about whatever you want.

7:32 AM  
Blogger Susan (Sara) Avitzour said...

I agree with Richard that Laila has the full right to write about anything she likes - especially about herself, her own interests, and her own experiences. I read your blog, Laila, exactly for that reason - it gives me a window into your world. And very clearly, living under occupation is both extremely difficult (even "extremely difficult" is no doubt an understatement), and utterly unlike anything I personally have ever had to experience. So even as an Israeli, I would not presume to tell you that you should be writing in a "balanced" way and telling the Israeli side of the story as well (as the two anonymous commentators would seem to suggest); after all, this is a personal blog, not journalism.

The only comment I would make, however, is that all of us in this little corner of the world - Palestinian, Israeli, Muslim, Jewish and Christian - would be better off if each person, and each people, could see the situation through the other's eyes. It is when people see only their own pain that hatred develops, turns into violence, and perpetuates the deadly cycle.

I wish you and your son well.


8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To "Richard",

It does not matter what name someone is using. It is the internet. At least I don't pretent to be "Richard" or "Sara"

Now to the issue:

Laila can of course write what ever she want, including that israel will bomb a bus full of passangers in Rafah crossing. The issue is if she is unable to tell us what REALLY goes on in Gaza, the infighting that the population suffer from and she is only able to complain about Israel so why should we trust what she writes ?

10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think nobody is interested about wheter you trust Laila or not. You are realy mad if you want to tell somebody what to write and give your aproval whats real and whats not. I know exactly how iof crowd control works as i have eyewitnesed it many times. Bring better arguments or go away. Laila will not answer you, as she is a professional journalist and therefore she knows exactly that she has not to made comments about every criminal incident around her. She has probably not to defend herself towards anonym claims.

12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


fair enough. I accept your remarks.


2:02 PM  
Blogger أبو سنان said...

Good luck with your travels. Some of the people here tend to forget that it is the PALESTINIANS who are the occupied. If the Israelis want the resistance to stop, leave the lands that do not belong to them.

Until they do so, like anywhere else in the world, there will be resistance.

2:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fake name, anonymous, whatever. From now on, I am "another anonymous", which I've been using here for a while. There, that's my name from now on, call me aa for short. It doesn't matter.

Wow, there are some angry people here. To be expected of course, but still. Disengenuous, fatuous. Gee. calm down.

Am I not allowed to ask her how she feels on those issues - I in no way demanded that she change her content, merely asked her how she felt on those issues. Why is this not allowed?

And why precisely should I
"get yourself your own blog (if you don't already have one) & spout all you want about whatever you want."
I'm merely asking a polite question - is it that you don't like the potential answer? As a polite commenter, I think I agree with Lisa - I aint shat on the carpet, why must I not be allowed to comment and ask questions?

This all seems like hedging to me. Avoiding the issues at hand...

3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My blog doesn't allow anonymous comments. I therefore don't get a lot of comments, but that's ok with me. It's a blog targeted to a specific readership.

As for personal attacks, they are typically used by people who have no logical or factual argument to use against their opposition. When people resort to name-calling, you know they are really desperate. (I found it amusing that someone in the last thread on this blog I was involved in accused me of being a bigot, then made a blanket insult against my entire profession!)

4:33 PM  
Blogger Moses said...

Be safe, Um Yousef!

May God grant you and Yousef some deserved rest and relaxation in Egypt.

6:25 PM  
Blogger ifyouwillit... said...

In reference to: Good luck with your travels. Some of the people here tend to forget that it is the PALESTINIANS who are the occupied. If the Israelis want the resistance to stop, leave the lands that do not belong to them.

Until they do so, like anywhere else in the world, there will be resistance.

Resistance and targeting civilains are two very different things. The PA now has an oppertunity to take control of this area, and in all areas that do not endager Israel's security, have full control.

Laila, I am sorry to hear it was hard to get out of Gaza, and I don't wish that sort of hardship upon anyone. Have a good stop over in Cairo and a safe journey, trip and return.

7:43 PM  
Blogger Amelopsis said...

Laila, I wish you & Youssef a safe journey. I hope your time in Egypt is peaceful.

7:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

salaam Laila,
I'm happy to hear that you and Yousuf are on your way to see Yassine... God bless you all!

6:44 PM  
Blogger أبو سنان said...

Kuli 3am wa antum be-khair.

6:51 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home