Thursday, January 24, 2008

Prison Break

God bless the people of Gaza. While the American media talks about Gaza being closed since the Hamas takeover (read election) last June, Gaza has been a prison for over 40 years. With the withdrawal of the settlers, the IDF totally surrounded this narrow strip of land and its 1.5 million citizens, bombing and bulldozing and terrifying children with nightly sonic booms. They've reinforced the walls on the north and east, the gates of which are rarely opened while the west is patrolled by the Israeli navy. As for the south, the wall separating Gaza from Egypt was built on the Palestinian side so that the area between Palestinian Rafah and Egyptian Rafah has been a no-man's land in theory. The Israelis have actual control of who comes and who goes, who lives and who dies. And countless innocents have died awaiting crossing and transport to hospitals and clinics outside of Gaza.

The fuel freeze of the last week was not the first. Gaza has been down to one working power plant for some time so electricity is scarce, the water pumps don't work and the sewage problem has actually killed women and children.

So watching the news of the women of Gaza trying to storm the Rafah crossing only to be turned back by the Egyptian army spewing water cannon and firing live rounds was disheartening, to say the least. But then, Tuesday night, reading the news of the wall tumbling down was breathtaking.

If only for a day or so, the people of Gaza will have had a taste of freedom. They will have petrol and medicine and flour and pride. And they will have the illusion of control for however long it lasts. God bless the people of Gaza. Allah Ma'kum.

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