Monday, February 26, 2007

What is Gaza?

Things seem quiet on the Eastern front. So says my father, who reports that a two week long truce negotiated at Mecca seems to be holding, and that the members of the new Unity Government will be announced in days.

Meanwhile, the Ghetto-ization of Gaza continues, with the Erez border crossing (already inaccessible to Palestinians-and Israelis-alike) being designated an "official border" by Israel.

The few Israelis or foreigners who do cross over must have their passports stamped and are listd as having departed the country (to where?).

As Yousuf asked me last week, out of the blue, on our way back from the supermarket:

"Mama, what is Gaza?"

I stumble. How do I answer that? What has Gaza become? What is and was Gaza?

"Is Gaza the ma3bar?" he prods inquisitively.

"um...i guess, that is part of the experience of Gaza, yes, habibi. But Gaza is a place. It is home. It is where Seedo and Tete are now."

That is what the Gaza experience has become in my now 3 year old's mind: it is reduced to his experinces on borders. It is that strange faraway place that takes days and sometimes weeks to get to. THe place no one wants to talk about anywhere, or hear about. And most of all, the place that no one one can provide you answers about, least of all to a curious and confused little 3 year old.

Amira Hass sums it up nicely in her article "What a Strange Abroad".


Blogger ergo said...

Hi Laila,
I'm an italian guy and I found your son's question very strong. I think each of us who live out of Gaza should ask for the same question every day to understand more and more about your situation... also with the help of your blog... I think it's a very important job you are doing with this blog. I read about it on an italian newspaper and now i posted about it also on my blog Thank you for your job, that is known also in Italy... sorry for my bad english.. ;-) ciao from Italia ergo

7:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Laila,

I am french student in geography and I have just visited your blog, I read about it on an french newspaper. That you makes is super.
I work actualy on the economic problems of Gaza and in the field of agriculture.
Which beautiful country in which you live.
Continuous and good courage. Sorry for my very very bad english.

See you

11:26 AM  

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