Breaking Free… Gaza Style

While surfing blogs looking at people’s thoughts on immigration I came across the following definition at http://lavistaluisurrea.blogspot.com/ 

BORDER, n. 1. An imaginary line imposed on an indigenous landscape by men who are not from that landscape; 2. A line that unites two different cultures and forms an unbreakable bond between them.

While the first part is clearly accurate, it’s that 2nd part that I find myself thinking about. What an exciting challenge… and a great invitation. What does it look like, feel like, sound like… to act as if we had already created that reality?

And, of course, I cannot think about borders just now without thinking about Gaza, and the Rafah-Egypt border.

I’ve wanted to write about that for a while now. But somehow just haven’t found the time, or the words. What an exciting show of people power. According to Haaretz, some 200,000 Palestinians poured out of Gaza and into Egypt early Wednesday, after masked gunmen blew dozens of holes in the wall delineating the border. Haaretz goes on to say “The Gazans rushed to purchase food, fuel, and other supplies made scarce by Israel’s blockade of the Strip, after militants detonated 17 bombs in the early morning hours, destroying some two-thirds of the metal wall separating the Gaza Strip from Egypt.”

Since then I have watched with a mixture of excitement, relief and fear as more sections have come down, as family members separated by the wall saw each other for the first time in years, as Egypt has attempted (somewhat unsuccessfully) to control the flow of Palestinians, and as a population empowered itself in “the biggest jail break in history”.  http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,2245701,00.html  

 (photos from AFP, via AOL news)

Two relatives hugging for the first time. They had not seen each others in many years. Other women buying blankets and carpets from Egypt after many months of blockade on Gaza (from website http://rafah.virtualactivism.net/news/todaymain.htm )

The excitement and relief are for obvious reasons. The fear comes with wondering what the Israeli government will do to retaliate, what support will the US give to the retaliation, and how much can the rest of the word stand by, and watch, and do nothing.  After all as Israeli continued a blockade that cut off power, food and medical supplies and the UN warned of Humanitarian crisis the world was criminally silent.

In the past three days over half the population of the Gaza Strip has left for Egypt “This is how pathetic the situation has become that people have to literally break out of Gaza just to get food and fuel,” the director of the United Nations refugee agency (UNRWA), John Ging said. “There is no dignity for anybody.”

I take heart with this act and the countless other ways in which the Palestinians refusal to cooperate in their oppression – there is always dignity in that. 

 

7 responses to “Breaking Free… Gaza Style

  1. Let’s remember – Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, ok?

    There was an Islamic Hamas military takeover of Gaza in June. What about that? What about the secular Fatah supporters being killed by Hamas terrorists?

    More than a million people are at risk for violence from these “masked gunmen” that you champion.

    Seems to me that Hamas bears some responsibility here. They are intent on destroying Israel – firing rockets into Israel – they harass and kill their own Palestinian constituents.

    You do not mention Hamas as the reason for the blockade. Why?

  2. I don’t mention Hamas as the reason for the blockade because I don’t believe Hamas is the reason for the blockade. And while I do not condone or support violence from on the part of Hamas -the blockade is about power and control. The so called “pull out” occured while the aparthied wall took over more Palestinian land, and the building of settlements in the west bank continued. Israeli may have “pulled out ” from the settlements in Gaza, but retained control of the borders the airspace etc. etc. setting up Gaza as a prison.

  3. Israel will always be judged by a different standard from its neighbors.

    You know, less than 6% of the West Bank dwellers were Jewish.

    Thanks for deleting my previous entry by the way.

    How democratic of you.

  4. Jim- Yeah, I deleted it in a “butt crack of dawn” pre-coffee snit. And I’ve been back and forth ever since as to how much I sucked for doing so. But here is the thing…. or a few things…

    I admit REacting to your opening line “Apartheid wall my ass” . I think that wall is beyond wrong and I’ve talked to so many people whose lives it has destroyed and so many more(Palestinian and Israeli) whoI think it has done such damage to real hopes for justice for all the people there.

    if anyone wants to hear about the “evils of hamas” they can pick up about any main steam news source and hear it/read it. I don’t want them to have to hear it here also

    And, I’m still working this out but there is part of me that says “my sandbox, my rules.” That might not sound very democratic, but I don’t think free speach and democracy means I need to let people use what I might think is innappropriate language, or smoke, or whatever in my home. It means I need to ensure they are free to do it in thier home, and that they have a home to do it in and and… at least in this case when “home” is meaning “my” website or whatever… as I said, I’m still working this out.

    All that said, I’m not likely to be “working it out” for a while… or posting… or much of anything that doesn’t directly involve catching up on some deadlines and my way behind work 😀

  5. Upholding free speech DOES mean that you need to let people use what you might think is inappropriate language. That’s exactly what it means actually – and although you may be feeling bad in the way that I questioned your logic – my ideas about your ideas are not the electronic equivalent of smoking in your home.

    And besides, you are the one who put your ideas and ideals in the public domain with a clear invitation to comment. Each of your posts concludes with the jolly-sounding “Kick things off by filling out the form below.”

    So – I don’t like that Gaza wall either. I also don’t like opinion pieces that fail to scrutinize the wall’s development.

    Vulnerable Gazan Palestinians are living in tyranny under Hamas, and this goddamn wall has only added to their misery. But why the wall? Israel doesn’t build walls for sport.

    If we could divine the reason for the wall’s existence, maybe there would be a better answer of what to do about these suffering people.

    Wait I know – what about those masked Palestinian militants aiming rockets at civilians in quiet diverse Israeli suburbs? Is that why Israel built that wall?

    Is the daily firing upon Israeli civilians not really that big a deal security-wise but maybe it is a handy excuse for Israel to contain Gaza with a wall?

    No? Yes?

    No wait – let’s NOT talk about it. Doing so might lead to some kind of actionable moment.

  6. Hi Jim,
    the “leave a comment” or “kick things off” or whatever is part of the format – not necessarily my wording.

    But, you are right – I am the one who “put myself out there.” And mostly, I do want folks to feel welcome to comment…….. As I said, I’m still workin’ out what it all means. Gandhi called nonviolence “experiments in truth” … I’m still experimenting.

    Thanks for keeping me thinking….
    Sheri

  7. “And mostly, I do want folks to feel welcome to comment … ”

    I’m so confused.

    Mostly?

    I guess the level of your welcome would depend on the folk whom you accept vs. the folk you reject.

    This sentiment IS in keeping with Gandhi’s rhetoric, as he was only sometimes nonviolent, but always autocratic.

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