I made a lot of progress in September and October 2014 on my journey to return to Gaza. I left my hometown Albuquerque in November. The following is my chicken-scratching during November 2014.
Days #60 – 65 Tonight is my last night in my house. I’ve been so utterly overwhelmed with this move to Gaza that I haven’t kept my daily journal current. No way could I get my house ready for a new tenant without the help of a handyman to make repairs in the bathroom, a painter, a house-cleaner, a mover, and many friends. In the morning, my bed goes into storage and I’ll be living out of two suitcases for the next few years. #GoingtoGaza
Days #66 – 68 So now that all of my “stuff” is out of the house, the deep cleaning really made a difference. Two funny things happened.
1) We couldn’t get my very large desk out of the house (note–it came into the house when there was a large hole made in the Adobe wall before the window was installed). But the carpet cleaning man figured out an ingenious way to get it through the door! So I gave him the desk to reward him for his spatial brain. Yeah!
2) Today a yard worker helped me pick up a load of crusher fine. He was very interested in my travel to Gaza. Then I learned that he believes in the “end of times” which will come very soon. Jerusalem figures into that story. Before he left, he said he wanted to say a prayer for me on the porch. He proceeded to praise the Lord in a very loud voice for a very long time — asking the Lord to give me guidance in my travels (and a whole lot more).#GoingtoGaza
Days #69 – 71 My final days in Albuquerque were a whirlwind of meetings, farewells, hugs, and finishing everything on my TO DO list. Scattered my wonderful black lab’s ashes at the UNM Duck Pond yesterday. Feeling now like I’m closing a chapter of my life so that I can open a new one. Waiting at the airport for my flight to Phoenix. Goodbye Albuquerque. #GoingtoGaza
Day #72 – Family is the glue that keeps us human in an inhumane world. I’m with family in AZ today and feeling very blessed. #GoingtoGaza
Day #73 – Looking for prayers, strong healing thoughts, meditation and whatever other form of spiritual guidance might be helpful for a loved one in surgery today.
Day #74 – I’m sitting at the bedside of my family member in the Phoenix hospital, aware how fortunate we are to be together in this hour of need; while a Palestinian friend in Florida sits alone in anguish because he knows he can’t get to the bedside of his dying father in Gaza. The Israeli-US blockade of the Gaza Strip tears apart much more than the economic life of Palestinians. It tears about families and the social fabric of the community. #ShameonIsrael #ShameonUSA #GoingtoGaza
Day #75 – Details, details, details. Leaving ABQ requires tying up so many loose ends, such as utilities, banking, etc. I can do a lot of it via Internet. Al-hamdulillah! #GoingtoGaza
Day #76 – Well, 3 out of 4 boxes that I shipped via UPS last week arrived in CA. Might have been too much to hope for 100% delivery. Now I must spend hours (it seems) on hold waiting to see if the UPS folks can find it. #GoingtoGaza with fewer items than I thought. 😦
Day #77 – Israel issued a lifetime ban against the Norwegian doctor (Mads Gilbert) from ever entering Gaza again, citing “security concerns.” I’ve had friends who learned about a 1 year, 5 year, 10 year ban when they arrived at Ben Gurion Airport. They were immediately deported on the next flight out. I wonder if my name is on some Israeli list. An IDF soldier told me it was, but I need to get some confirmation. A friend in Gaza told me it might be easier to enter Gaza from the north (Israel) through the Erez Checkpoint, rather than from Egypt. #GoingtoGaza
Day #78 – This week Israel refused to allow the UN commission investigating Israel’s Operation Protective Edge into Gaza. Israel also imposed a lifetime ban on a Norwegian doctor from entering Gaza because he’s a security threat. Last week Israel closed ALL of the borders with Gaza (both commercial and pedestrian crossings). And Netanyahu’s government continues to say Israel doesn’t occupy Gaza. What weed is he smoking? #GoingtoGaza
Days #79 – #80 Very touched by all of the birthday greetings yesterday from family and friends (near and far). The big 61 feels much better than 60. Last year, the milestone was unsettling because I still had eye problems, and had no focus about the next chapter in my life. This year, I have good eye sight, good health, and focused on returning to Gaza. There was a lot of work involved in getting to this point. In the past 2+ months, I’ve made repairs to the house, put my things into storage, and turned the house over to a property manager. Now I feel like that albatross is off my neck, and I’m freed up to focus on returning to Gaza. Alhamdullilah! #GoingtoGaza
Day #81 – Observing from afar each side mourn their losses, praise their martyrs, and condemn the killers. The exact mirror image of each other . . . with one BIG difference that’s never mentioned in the news reports. One side is the occupier (the oppressor) and the other side is the occupied (the oppressed) resisting the occupation. Until the occupation ends, there will be no peace & security for either side. #GoingtoGaza
Day #82 – Continuing to talk to a lot of people (both inside Gaza and outside) about how to get in. No easy answers. EVERYONE says it’s very arbitrary (both at the Erez Crossing and Rafah Crossing). The fact that everyone talks about getting “in” to Gaza, rather than going “to” Gaza, indicates that everyone I’ve been talking with considers Gaza an open air prison. Is there anywhere else in the world where people are trying to get “in” ? I can’t think of it. #GoingtoGaza
Day #83 – Becoming a nomad requires thinking about many ordinary things that we take for granted in new ways. Snail mail. Think about all of the junk mail and solicitations, and other mail we get every day. As a nomad preparing to travel to Gaza, I can’t have tons and tons of mail waiting for me when I return. I’ve spent the last 3 months contacting every business and organization that sent me snail mail, and asked to be removed from their mailing list. It was quite an effort. I hope I was able to stop a lot of it. Nomad or not. We should all be cutting down on snail mail. #GoingtoGaza
Day #84 – An American friend advises me to learn more about what’s going on in the West Bank. She probably thinks my focus on Gaza has left me with a deficit. Another American friend suggests if travel to Gaza doesn’t appear feasible by mid-January, we plan to visit the West Bank instead. I AM GOING TO GAZA NO MATTER WHAT! Screw Netanyahu! Screw El-Sisi! (Or maybe they should just do us all a favor and screw each other.) #GoingtoGaza
Day #85 – The State of Israel has been a militarized country since its founding. I recall seeing many people in 2004 walking the streets of Jerusalem with large weapons hanging over their shoulders — not in uniform but I thought they might be security personnel. Restaurant doors were locked and patrons had to ring the doorbell to be admitted, and then purses were searched before we were shown to our table. From all accounts, Jerusalem is much more militarized today. And Israeli politicians have just passed a law allowing civilians to openly carry weapons. Live by the sword, die by the sword, in the Holy Land. Land of “Peace”. #GoingtoGaza
Day #86 – “We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings.”– Ursula K. Le Guin Israel’s military occupation seems inescapable but it’s only a human construct that can fall as rapidly as a pile of bricks. Palestinians must be ready to answer the question: “what happens after the occupation?” I’m worried that the next generation of leaders are not prepared to answer that question. I haven’t seen anything written about it. #GoingtoGaza
Day #87 – Feels like I’ve embarked on the next phase of my life as a nomad. Or maybe better yet — a revolutionist. Thanks to an ABQ friend for sharing this thought-provoking piece from Chris Hedges. I’m going to spend time digesting the links at the end of the article this afternoon.http://www.opednews.com/articles/Why-We-Need-Professional-R-by-Chris-Hedges-Movement_People_Political_Power-141124-676.html #GoingtoGaza
Day #88 – Everywhere I go, I can’t help but think how different life is in the USA compared to life in Gaza. Today there were several examples.
1) Valet parking at the hospital.
2) Recycling gets picked up.
3) Electricity is on 24-7 which means the refrigerator works all day AND all night.
4) The new bike-share program was launched in Phoenix.
5) Public library has 30+ computers available for the public.
The only thing preventing Gaza from having these things is Israel’s illegal military occupation. #GoingtoGaza
Day #89 – Netanyahu may cry “terrorists” and “security” and the biggest hoax of all “Hamas” to justify his 7+ years blockading the Gaza Strip but I’m convinced that those are mere distractions from the truth. Netanyahu wants to tear families apart, he wants to destroy the fabric of Palestinian culture and he wants “those animals” to disappear. Unlike natural disasters (such as the earthquake in Haiti), Netanyahu is the architect of this man-made disaster in Gaza. He must take full responsibility. Well, maybe 95% responsibility. The U.S. and other Western governments that are subsidizing Israel’s military occupation must own up to their despicable part in this tragedy. #GoingtoGaza
Day #90 – A note to my friends in Gaza. Thank you for sharing so much with me when I was there in 2012-2013. Thank you for opening your homes to me, and educating me about the impacts of the occupation on you, your families and neighbors. Thank you for demonstrating SAMUD and showing me the importance of community and helping each other. Thank you for always treating me so graciously, and not holding my government’s destructive policies against me. Thank you for your continuing friendship. #GoingtoGaza
Day #91 – Last night sitting in the Phoenix airport ready to depart to CA, and thinking I have a lot to learn about being a nomad. Like how to travel LIGHT. One suitcase and one backpack, that’s all I can reasonably carry around the world. Americans have so much STUFF. I have a lot of things to discard to resize my lifestyle. #GoingtoGaza
Day #92 – A quandary. How do I reconcile my desire to travel to Gaza with my concerns about greenhouse gas emissions from airplanes? #GoingtoGaza