Mother’s Day — Gaza style

Ahmad and me at the Rafah border crossing on Gaza side.

Ahmad and me at the Rafah border crossing on Gaza side.

I don’t think Palestinians in Gaza celebrate Mother’s Day.  Every day is Mother’s Day for them.  The Qur’an, I’m told, instructs good Muslims to take care of their mothers and women.

Yesterday was a good example.  On my last day in Gaza, I was accompanied to the Rafah border by the young man whose family I’ve been living with for the last 3 months. Even though he had a final exam that afternoon, he made all of the arrangements for our drive at 6 AM and then stayed with me until I was safely on the bus to the Egyptian side of the border.

Before the bus departed, he came onboard and pointed to another young man waving at me.  He told me this young man was crossing the border too and he would help me.

Refa'at and me at the Rafah border on the Egyptian side.

Refa’at and me at the Rafah border on the Egyptian side.

 Refa’at treated me like his mother.  He sat and chatted with me, offered to get me something to drink, translated for me with the Egyptian authorities, talked with the swarm of young people who wanted to carry my bags, and negotiated with the driver for my ride to Cairo.  Then we parted ways, but he called me later that evening to make sure I arrived in Cairo safely.
Mural at Rafah border.

Mural at Rafah border.

 It is especially difficult to leave my new friends who are living under Occupation and the Israeli siege. The injustices they endure are unfathomable.  What right does an American have to travel relatively easily and leave this open air prison, while the majority of 1.7 million Palestinians in Gaza will never be able to leave?  Why?  How can humans treat each other like this?
Mural at the Rafah border.

Mural at the Rafah border.

If Americans only knew that our tax dollars and our elected members of Congress are responsible for perpetuating this inhumanity, we could stop it in a minute.

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The drive to Cairo was chaotic.  The driver was yelling at everyone for nearly the entire 7 hours. All of the passengers (except me) were smoking, including the woman wearing a niqab.  And the Sinai scenery is no longer exotic to me so I passed the time reading Ilan Pappe’s “The Ethnic Cleansing.”

I hope I will be able to return to Gaza one day, but I wish I could fly directly to the Gaza Strip and not have to cross the Sinai again.

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2 Comments

Filed under Gaza, Islam, Occupation, Peaceful

2 responses to “Mother’s Day — Gaza style

  1. Lora, you are indefatigable and you embody the hopes of so many… please don’t lose touch now with your groupies (like me) on both sides of the border. I’m wanting to know how you fare later in trying to open people’s minds back in the USA and finding a way to speak so that they can hear you. Best wishes…

    • Thank you Deb. I’m brainstorming ways to keep talking and writing about Gaza …. and I hope I will have the chance to meet you in person. I will definitely reach out to you this summer to chat.

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