Thursday, December 4, 2008

Amira Hass, Again !

Again, about Amira.
The bellow letter is from her. It was circulated through e - mails; I did not recieve it directly from her personally. We do not know each other. I have seen her once in Gaza in the ninties, and have checked hands with her 2-3 weeks ago.
For me the most impressive is her judgement that she will not be allowed to be in Gaza for " Many many years" , " Many many years " means that Hamas is here to stay; I think that the current status quo in gaza will last for decades ; at least for a generation.

Bellow, is the notes of Amira.

Dear all
I was ordered to leave Gaza . The Hamas security - the branch which insisted in "escorting" me 24 hours a day for almost 3 weeks, ordered me today, (Sunday) at noon, to leave immediately. The great efforts of my friends yielded only one gesture: i was allowed to extend my stay by some 20 hours, at
most, and leave tomorrow (Monday).
the reason, needless to say is "security". "The circumstances have changed, it is dangerous and we have received specific information that there is a danger to your life. specific my foot. just the same things I heard from Arafat's security back in 1995 and in 1999, only that that ancient regime had some kind
of flexibility and disorder - that enabled my (other friends and acquaintances) to reverse the order.
I see no chance for this to happen now.
i am professionally frustrated and personally sad, so sad: I took farewell of some of my friends today - and almost know for sure that we would not be able to see each other for many many years. I was planning to stay till end of January - so many more things to investigate: to learn. I even toyed with the idea of writing a book...
Never mind me. I was allowed a rare visit in prison. Met my friends and was reminded again, more closely, how people, all caged in, are accommodating their life to electricity cuts and threats of imminent israeli incursions, and to the ever-more-loud discourse of istishaad (martyrdom).

Monday, December 1, 2008

Surviving in Gaza

The Israeli journalist has left Gaza just today, she was told by Hmas police that her life is in danger. She has written a remarkable piece about the life here in this animal pen. Writing about Gaza remarkably is not unusual for Amira, who spent years here during the early nineties; but what about us who are surviving the Gazan miseries. We are getting away from realities to repeat slogans, to speak about the effects of unprecedented siege, to argue about the effects of internal schism and to blame Hamas or to defend it, to articulate partial facts, to exaggerate realities or to generate fabricated lies, to do everything but not telling our real story.

Who can tell the real story of Gaza?
I am only trying to survive the life of Gaza!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

This is Gaza*

By Amira Hass**
If it's not the power getting cut, leaving entire neighborhoods in darkness, then it's the water not reaching the top floors or the cooking gas running out. If you have an electric generator, some small part of it is bound to be broken and unfixable, because even before the hermetic three-week siege, Israel prohibited bringing in any spare parts for cars, machines and household electric appliances.

And if you somehow manage to find the money for a generator that was smuggled through the tunnels (its price has doubled or tripled since last month), it's at the expense of buying a heater (not electric, of course), English lessons, clothes for the children and visits to the doctor.

This is Gaza in November 2008. Just as Gaza is the emptying of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency storehouses and the farmers who sowed and watered, but cannot market, their tomatoes, guavas and strawberries out of the Gaza Strip because Israel forbids it, it is also the calmness with which people receive the sudden darkness and the jokes that there is not much food in the refrigerator to spoil anyway.
Gaza is the ability to tell jokes in any situation, and the burning insult of having no running water for three or four days. And yet, the children go clean and neat to school.

Gaza is the long Nasser Street which has been blocked to traffic for over a year. Its asphalt is torn out and it is riddled with potholes and mounds of sand. When Israel forbade bringing any construction materials and raw materials into the strip, the renovation work stopped on this thoroughfare, the main access to three hospitals, which are always in danger of equipment failure if some part breaks down.

But Gaza is also parents leaving their children alone at home, without fear, or letting them go to a playground far from home, or go by themselves to their grandmother in the Jabaliya refugee camp (in the streets parallel to Nasser Street).

Gaza is reports of policemen attacking Fatah supporters at a university, or the police closing a restaurant for one night because its owners didn't report in advance about a symposium that was held in the restaurant's hall, in which Hamas speakers participated and was organized by a research center associated with Ramallah authorities.

Gaza is the teacher who forces school girls to cover their heads, although senior officials assert that this is not the education ministry's policy. It is exaggerations and false rumors, and it is also the Fatah detainees' report that cameras were installed in the interrogation room to ensure that the interrogators act within the boundaries of the law. It is the surprise when "Hamas" police restore stolen property, even before it has been reported stolen.

Gaza is the feeling among Fatah supporters that the power has been stolen from them, and their fear of the security apparatus, as it is Hamas' self confidence. It is the comparisons made with the intimidation methods in Yasser Arafat's era and exchanging information about the suppression of Hamas activity in the West Bank.

Gaza is the anger of the entire public, including Fatah members, for what appears to be Ramallah's deliberate neglect and indifference toward the strip and its residents' fate.

Gaza is those dreaming to leave it, and those who left years ago for school and work and miss it. Gaza is the people who cannot return to their families here, because even if they could find a crack and enter through the border crossings blocked by Israel, they would remain imprisoned here, and would have to renounce their freedom of movement and choice completely.

Everything is so intense here.

"We measure our lives in minutes, not in days or weeks," a Fatah man said. His life has been turned upside down since June 2007, and is turned upside down every day due to the political rupture. He was referring to Fatah men like himself, convinced that Hamas people in the West Bank also "measure their lives in minutes."

But his description suits everyone. The changes are so sudden, violent, swift and frequent that the individual has no control over them - whether it is high politics or laundry times.

Gaza is people's constant attempt to cling to a normal life, although Israel foists on them abnormal terms of imprisonment, isolation from the rest of the world and deterioration to a state of humiliating dependence on international charity programs.

* I could not write better than her.
** An Israeli journalist who has been here in Gaza for two weeks sleeping in a Palestinian house and protected by Hamas police.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Now I can write! I can write masked!

Now I can write, no one knows me ( or that what is supposed to be). I can express myself easily without the heavy shadow of the slogans, without the fear from grammatical mistakes, without the blames of my national feelings, without being politically correct or incorrect, without trying to write poems or short stories, I will only write about myself in the Gazan context. I will not write about the Israelis or the Palestinians, about Fatah or Hamas, about the left or the right, about the wrong or the right, I will not write about what is written in the newspapers or in the pro or anti Palestinian websites; I write what I think should be written; I will try to relieve my self from the daily load of living in this place of the world; I will try to relieve this piece of the world from having a such person like me; a person who could not live in this place: a person who could not live out of this place; I will not write poems; I will not write short stories; I will not write prose; I am not capable of writing such things; but I hope that I will be capable of writing (documenting) my feelings, my self, my daily life, my dreams, my nightmares, and off course the mud of Gaza and the life.