Opening the Rafah Border..How Dare You?!
Your name is not on the list, go back home, check the website of the Interior Ministry, no check with the Ministry of Transportation, you’re on bus number 26, if you come back tomorrow you may pass through, GO HOME!
But I registered two weeks ago, my bus number is 16, is there any chance of crossing the border today, I have an ill son, my husband needs to undergo a serious operation, I have to renew my residency in Saudi Arabia or it’ll be annulled, I must see my parents, I may never get to see them…
My kids ask me about Egypt. Their only perception of the outside world so it seems, everybody goes there so it must be the only place that exists in their little minds. Mom, you said we could go now that Mubarak is gone. Didn’t you tell us there’s no more killing now and that it’s safe to go there. My friend Farah is going to Egypt for the summer, why can’t we go too? Muna’s mother bought her a pretty crayon set from Egypt and a Dora backpack which even has a map in it just like the one on TV. Mom, you said that all those toys we see on TV are in Egypt, can we go so you can buy me the babyset, the one that has a stroller, a bed and a diaper changer and everything for the doll.
We hailed the opening of the Rafah Border after the Palestinian reconciliation was announced. Honestly, my gut feeling told me that it was too good to be true. After much profusion of media hocus-pocus, things at the Rafah border plunged into chaos, disorder and frustration for the besieged people of Gaza. To finally breathe that sigh of relief and let our imagination soar to paint a new picture of life in Gaza and at the Rafah Border was what we had all anxiously awaited for so long. Will patients pass through easily and safely and come back on their own feet? Will travellers sip their coffee or tea in comfort as they wait for their names to be called out? Will kids skip around in delight and sing “The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round” on the bus during their journey to Egypt? That is the transient image we had in mind which was obliterated by the hard facts at the Rafah Border. Was it childhood naivity to actually think, even momentarily, that we could breathe some of the air of freedom dominated the air so?
It seems that Freedom of Movement in Gaza contradicts life under the imposed Siege for over four years now. How can a prisoner be allowed access to move about and get a taste of what that conception granted under human rights feels like on the ground. It would definately mean that they have struggled, won and are enjoying their victory! It would make them feel that their long years of living under oppression have finally bloomed into something they can taste. They will ardently stick to their path of legitmitate resistance and acknowledge that the blood of their loved ones has not gone invain.