Friends and family are asking me (most of them incredulously) why do I want to return to Gaza? Don’t I know how dangerous it is? Can’t I help my friends in Gaza from my home in the USA?
Yes, I know it’s dangerous. Yes, I could help my friends from home.
My heart is calling me back to Gaza. If I hadn’t visited earlier (September 2012 – May 2013) and met so many wonderful people, I probably wouldn’t have this desire. By nature, I’m not a thrill-seeker trying to dodge danger.
I’m not particularly courageous and I don’t like conflict. That might explain why I didn’t feel comfortable as an advocate in the U.S. legal adversarial system. I would rather people just get along and hammer out their differences peacefully.
Why do I want to return to a part of the world burdened with so many conflicts? I can’t even speak the language.
The answer might not be simple but it’s real. My heart and head are telling me that I have skills and talents that can help my friends in Gaza. I also have the health (Al-hamdulillah) and flexibility to follow my heart. Having recently watched several close friends this year battling serious health challenges, I’m feeling particularly blessed and thankful for my good health.
So I’m embarking on this journey with no reservations. Along the way, I’m hoping to educate my fellow Americans about a part of the world that few understand or even care about. My simple message . . . we’d better start caring before it’s too late. Their future is ours, and our future is inextricably linked with the Palestinians, with Israelis, with Egyptians, with people from every corner of the world.
My friends can begin their education by reading this excellent history of Gaza recently published in the New York Times, written by Jean-Pierre Filiu, and available here.