Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Love Letter to Gaza

A Love Letter to Gaza
It is hard to see far into the future from the smog that covers Cairo. On the ground it looks like a traffic jam of humanity and sounds like a mad symphony of horns. At the end of the day I can not wash Cairo off my skin.
Simply, I DO NOT WANT TO BE IN CAIRO. I want to be in Gaza. I am not alone. The 1360 Internationals from 42 countries should be in Gaza. We came to Cairo only because it is our transit point to the Rafah boarder crossing into Gaza. We stay in Cairo only because the Egyptian government has denied us entry, first in Gaza, then even to the crossing, then also to the town of Al Arish near the border crossing, and now even outside of Cairo.

Have you ever experienced sitting inside a locked room where you could see only yourself and one other person yet sensed there were others lurking in the shadows or even in charge? The seige of Gaza has spread its arms into Cairo. The UN? No relief. The embassies? No relief. The press? Barred.

Did you know that you are not allowed to bring love letters to Gaza? You can not deliver your heart, or computers, or childrens crayons, or supplies. You can not walk side-by-side with with Gazans to speak to the world about ending the seige. You are not allowed to tell why you came all this way from France, the U.S., South Africa, Australia, Spain.

No, in the world of Obama, Netanyahu, Mubarek, you can not deliver love letters to Gaza! So we write our love letter in Cairo and send it to you with hopes you will spread it everywhere.

Dear Gaza,

And we begin our first paragraph

“You are not alone.”             The French delegation, surrounded by hundreds of police encamp outside their embassy. Delegates who took buses and taxis to get to the border are detained. We have all come ready to march with you. There are hunger strikers now too.

“Look at our faces.”             We come from all around the planet. We are young and old. We believe there should be a crisis of conscience everywhere to demand that the seige be ended.

There is a pause in the letter. It is hard to express the heartbreak and anger at being
kept from you, Gaza. But we write more.

“Our call is to humanity.       Quiet the car horns, lift the veil of this damned smog, let the entire world see the Gaza Freedom March. We are a glimpse of the future.

Every well-constructed love letter has a second paragraph. So we continue

“Do you know that we will never give up?”          We will, someday, break bread together and share clementines.

“To Gaza. To Gaza.”

Finally, the salutation.

“With heartfelt solidarity and undaunted determination. The Gaza Freedom March.”
-Hope B. 12/29/09

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