Coming and going

Imagine this!

You live in Manhattan. Your family has lived there for 60+ years, not by choice but forced to flee to Manhattan as refugees from Brooklyn where generations of your family — as far back as anyone can remember — lived. You still have the key to the family house in Brooklyn but haven’t been able to return for a visit.

Gaza Strip superimposed on New York

Gaza Strip superimposed on New York, USA

You dream of returning to Brooklyn one day, some day. The dream doesn’t fade with time.

The new inhabitants started coming by boat and plane from across the ocean, just a trickle at first. After WWI, the trickle turned into a stream, and after WWII, the stream turned into a flood. People all over the world continue to immigrate to Brooklyn even today, but you’re not allowed to even visit.

In 1948, these strangers pronounced Brooklyn as their own. The audacity of it all is still perplexing to many.  Some New York historians write that your grandparents left Brooklyn peacefully and voluntarily settled in Manhattan. You know differently.

Fast forward to the present.

Unemployment in Manhattan today is over 50% for youth under the age of 25; and naturally, many of them want to travel out of Manhattan in search of jobs. Others have received scholarships to study abroad.  There are many who need medical treatment in facilities outside of Manhattan.

Seems reasonable, doesn’t it?  But here’s the scoop.

There are only 5 crossings from Manhattan to the outside world.  You can’t fly out because the government in Brooklyn destroyed the airport; the train that ran between Manhattan and New Jersey in the 1970s hasn’t run for many, many years; and no boats are allowed to dock in Manhattan.  [In 2010, the people in Brooklyn shot and killed nine passengers on a boat trying to reach Manhattan.]  Fair warning!  If you are a fisherman, don’t go too far from shore because those folks in Brooklyn have been known to shoot and kill fishermen from Manhattan.

Those same people in Brooklyn strictly guard 4 of the 5 crossings, allowing people to travel only through one crossing on the north side if they’ve received a permit from Brooklyn. Three crossings are designated solely for commercial trucks to bring supplies in for the 1.7 million people stuck in Manhattan.  Nothing gets out because Brooklyn won’t allow exports from Manhattan.

The 5th crossing is a passenger checkpoint ostensibly guarded by the people in New Jersey but everyone winks and nods because they know that the powers-to-be in New Jersey and Brooklyn are collaborating to enforce travel restrictions on everyone in Manhattan and on foreigners wanting to visit Manhattan.  Even the U.S. government is in on the deal.

This whole situation seems pretty fantastical but the people of the world just put their heads in the sand and pretend not to notice this open air prison in which you live.


Why are you imprisoned?  The government in Brooklyn says these travel restrictions are needed for “security”. The noose has grown even tighter since the elections in Manhattan in 2006 when the results surprised Brooklyn and others.

You are just SOL !

Fidaa Abuassi shares this atrocity much better than I in her piece called The Epic Struggle of a Trapped Student.


1 Comment

Filed under Gaza

One response to “Coming and going

  1. Linda Moscarella

    Thanks for keeping this terrible situation in our minds and hearts.

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