The true meaning of snail mail

“Snail mail” really gets its name from Gaza, I’m convinced of it.  In fact, you might get faster service if you lassoed your envelope to a real snail.


I’ve had two experiences trying to get mail into Gaza.

My first attempt was from Cairo.  August 2011.  A box of books.  It finally arrived at the university in Gaza in November, about 4 months in transit!

For the geographically challenged, Mapquest estimates it’s about 245 miles and five hours driving between Cairo and Gaza.   Mapquest route from Cairo to Gaza

My second attempt was from Istanbul in May 2013.  I sent an innocuous postcard — no hidden messages, nothing to unseal and reseal, no big deal.

Admittedly, the distance is a bit longer  (about 726 miles, 1168 km) but the time was the same.  FOUR FREAKING MONTHS before my postcard arrived in Gaza!*#!*#!*#!

I wish I’d embedded a microchip in my postcard that could provide some clues about its route and handling from the time it left my hands in Istanbul to reaching its final destination in Gaza.  How many stops along the way?  How many hands touched it and eyes searched it for hidden meaning?  Where did it sit so long, probably in piles of other mail and packages headed to Gaza?

If I found anyone to ask, I know there would be alot of finger-pointing and no answers. Turkey would blame Israel, Israel would blame Hamas, Hamas would blame the Zionists, and someone would surely blame the U.S.A.

My advice to anyone thinking about sending a package or letter by snail mail to Gaza – don’t. Just don’t. Many people in Gaza are connected to the Internet. When the electricity is working (that’s a whole other story!) the messages are flying at warp speed to Gaza. Stick with email.

Hmmmmm!  I just had an idea.

What would happen if thousands of people around the world sent postcards to Gaza on the very same day?  We would overwhelm some poor security official sitting somewhere in a windowless office in Israel tasked with inspecting each and every parcel.  Ha!


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Filed under Gaza, Israel, nonviolent resistance

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