Last days in Gaza

I’m preparing to leave Gaza on Saturday.

In the past 6-7 months, I’ve met many new friends who have taught me a lot, each in their own way.  I’m going to share what I’ve learned with my family and friends in the US, with my US Senators Udall and Heinrich, and with any Americans who want to hear an unfiltered account of life in Gaza.

I don’t say “unbiased” because I know that every bit of information comes with a point of view or bias, including mine.  But given the paucity of news from Palestine reaching Americans, and the strident pro-Israeli slant, I think my personal experience will be helpful.

Lora with a beautiful floral arrangement in Gaza.

Lora with a beautiful floral arrangement in Gaza.

The US government doesn’t want Americans traveling to Gaza. Embassy officials actively discourage Americans from going and, until recently, required Americans to pay $50 for a notarized warning that each American traveling to Gaza proceeds at their own risk.  Imagine that!

The Egyptians don’t want Americans traveling to Gaza either.  I know!  I spent two months in Cairo talking with many different people before I finally got permission.

And certainly Israelis don’t want Americans (or anyone else) traveling to Gaza.  Israel has hermetically sealed Gaza from the outside world — going on now six years — with an economic, political and social boycott that has devastated the 1.7 million Palestinians living here.  (Much more about that later!)

When I first used the phrase “open air prison” to describe Gaza before arriving to this coastal enclave, I was accused by friends of exaggeration and talking about something that I knew nothing about.

Now I’m returning to the US fully confident that “open air prison” is an accurate description of the situation in Gaza and I can provide the facts and figures and personal experiences to support it.

Will Americans listen to me?

I suspect there are hard-core Israeli supporters who can’t (or won’t) have an open mind to hear my account of life in Gaza.  I will ignore them.

There is another segment of American society who are ardent Palestinian supporters, and bash Israel at every opportunity.  I will ignore them too.

The Americans I hope to connect with when I return to the US are those who are searching for answers to the intractable conflict in the Middle East.  They are curious and have questions.  They haven’t taken sides.

I hope there are many Americans like this.  I hope I can connect with them.

Lora with young futbol (soccer) players in Gaza.

Lora with young futbol (soccer) players in Gaza.

Advertisements

12 Comments

Filed under Gaza, Occupation, Peaceful, People, Uncategorized

12 responses to “Last days in Gaza

  1. Ryan Speakman

    Hi, Lora… I’ve been wondering if it’s safe for an American to travel inside Gaza. Sounds like the answer is yes! You were just there in May of this year, correct?

  2. fady

    may Allah bless you dear LORA

  3. Jewel Al Safa

    Have a safe journey home Ms.Lucero 🙂

  4. Penelope Foran

    I have loved following your journey, Lora, and look forward to your return!

  5. Lora, you are one of the best people I met and I’m really happy that I had a chance to work with you and learn as well!
    I hope you’ll come to Gaza again and I really appreciate all your work and efforts.. Isra xxx

  6. Lora, I pray for your safe return and know a whole new task
    begins

  7. Elizabeth (Beth) Hurst-Waitz

    Lora, we’ll have iced tea with mint and my deviled eggs when you return. What a journey you’ve had, what a journey you’re still on! Keep smiling! peace

  8. Hope to hear you speak about your experiences when you get back to Albuquerque. Have a safe journey

  9. jtlawler

    Lora-Well said and it will be great to have you back. I think you are in exactly the right space in regard to the pro- and anti Israel/Palestine folks. there is nothing much that will change their minds. But there are lots of people who are in the middle or simply don’t have much information and they can be swayed/educated by knowledge of the occupation. And yes, we have to constantly monitor ourselves and root out our own unconscious biases.

  10. Hi Lora – wishing you bon voyage and happy landings, and success in your next steps… Please let me know if any staffers of either of the two senators would like a comp copy or PDF of No More Enemies (I’ll have them sent). If down the road you find someone interested in funding an Arabic and/or a Hebrew translation of the book, please connect us. NME is to current thinking about Israel & Palestine & similar conflicts, what the Non-Aligned Nations were to the Cold War: a real alternative to unwilling complicity in Dr. Strangelovian death games. I’m better at envisioning and writing than at promoting, so all help cheerfully welcomed. –Deb R.

  11. Norma Hashim

    Peace be with you, Lora. I have enjoyed following your journey and I wish more Americans were open minded like you

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s