Counting for the new year:

END the Occupation of Palestine NOW.

Break the Siege of Gaza

Break the Siege of Gaza
The siege is a genocide and don't say you didn't know

Monday, November 26, 2007

Gaza, Ramallah: Torn apart in the same country

“Mummy, what’s that? But we are in Ramallah, not Gaza!!” This was Luai’s reaction to the sound of thunder a few days ago. It was so strong that for seconds we thought that it was a sonic bomb.

Yes, we have been in Ramallah since 30 June. I was given permission to leave Gaza on that day with no permission to return. I left Gaza with Luai, but my husband, Adi stayed on, hoping at that time that the conditions would improve. But they didn’t get better. Adi had to sell everything we had, the car, the almost four year old flat and furniture and he waited for a permit to come to us in Ramallah. He was able to come only on 15 October.

We were alone for four and a half months, in a strange city surrounded mostly by strangers. We speak the same language but have nothing else in common except for the Israeli occupation but here it is a different experience.

It is a very strange feeling to leave Gaza and come to Ramallah. It is as if one were emigrating. For a while we forget that we are talking about the same country, Palestine, and are the same people, Palestinians. Well, usually under normal conditions, in normal countries, when people decide to move from one city to another in the same country it’s not that difficult or that strange. If someone decides to move from Vienna to Strasbourg he/she can continue to meet friends and relatives from time to time or at least on vacations and weekends. They are able to move their own belongings in one truck from the old place to the new one. They can drive from Vienna to Strasburg in their own car. They can move together on the same day and the same hour with no checkpoints and searching on the road.

But we were apart from each other for four and a half months, because of the closure imposed by the Israeli army on the Gaza Strip. Each one of us suffered alone and differently. We have no hope of meeting our friends ever again unless a miracle happens. We have not been able to bring any of our belongings except for the very personal ones. We were not allowed to bring even books because of the closure imposed on the Gaza Strip. We were allowed only a 12 hour permit that allowed us to come to the West Bank without returning back. We had to cut all the bridges with the city that we chose to live in 13 years ago.

Gaza, the big jail, the city of love and hatred, of the sea and the desert, the city of poverty and wealth, the city of heroes and cowards, the city of fighters and gangsters, but above all the city of people who love to live and know how to survive with the minimum. I love this city, I love its people, I love its sea, its noisy and crowded streets full of cars, animals and people. I really miss the city and my friends there.

Living in Ramallah seems easier, but for me it’s still difficult. I have decided not to take a position on it, not yet. Till now my experience here has been so difficult, and that’s what I will try to write about in the future.

I’m glad that I can write again, I will try to reflect on all the new experiences and as usual, by Luai’s reactions. He is missing Gaza too, but he’s showing it the child’s way. By writing at least I will keep in touch with my friends in Gaza, whom I won’t be seeing for a long time.

But I still have the hope that I will be able to go to Gaza again.



elisa davinca said...

Hi Lama,
its so bitter to read this - some time ago I opened a blog with focus on the Palestine/Israel Issue ... I added you to my blogroll ... reading your post makes me very sad - not that I do not follow the news - I have Google Alerts installed getting gaza news ...

you can join facebook too ... there you can find some precious palestinian and other helpful contacts ... my name there is davinca

the Austrian Woman in Black have sent around your Blog Entry too

Anonymous said...

Dear Lama, I am doing some research about the growing gap (physical, political, economic, social) between the West Bank and Gaza and came across your site. I am interested to hear more of your thoughts about the divide between the two territories. I wish you and your family safety and freedom.

an American woman who has been to Gaza and West Bank (when it was possible to go by shared taxi from Damascus Gate)

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