Once Again, Gaza Is A Big Cage & Our Gaza Correspondent Has Witnessed A Lot Of It

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January 1, 2014 · Posted in Commentary 

[This month we have another contribution by our Gaza correspondent, Mohammad Arafat. He expresses with deep feeling the suffering of the ordinary people of Gaza. We should say also that he has a certain innocence in his view of the world. He sees plainly the pain inflicted by the border restrictions by Israel and Egypt, but never mentions Hamas, which governs Gaza, or Islamic Jihad, or the recent terrorist attacks in the Sinai that precipitated Egypt’s closing of the Gaza tunnels. These things explain much of why conditions in Gaza are far worse than those in the occupied West Bank, which has its own burdens but not of such extremity.]

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By Mohammad Arafat

I wish I could sum it up quickly,what does it all mean. Maybe I should contemplate why it’s so hard to say what’s most on my mind. I’m not even sure who I’m talking to–perhaps to my critics, my supporters. But Gazans have been told for too long they had no right to write. Maybe this is why I don’t know why I’m writing and to whom.

But I know that I have a right to express what’s going through my mind.  At first, my pen refused to write and then I began to cry and moan. But then I wiped away my tears and realized nothing could stop me from writing. I had come to believe that people won’t read anything written about Gaza these days. I told myself that it’s true, a great many people in this world can support us, and read what we say, but victory won’t come from those people, even if they stand with us. Still, I must try simply because I I must serve truth.

Gaza has passed through many dangerous wars and terrible problems, beginning in 1967, and it no doubt will continue to do so into the near future. People suffered a lot in 2005 from the invasion. Then the militaries gave Gaza back, but they are still controlling and governing us. The borders are closed and the crossing points even between Gaza and Egypt. The assassinations increased, and despite the fact that there are no formal agreements, innocent women and children are still dying.

The siege of Gaza has left us deeper in poverty, and the situation is approaching a dangerous line. But no one really talks about poor people except Allah and some good folks from the US, UK and some Arab countries. Poverty has driven us to try and invent a way to get around the blockades against us getting the goods we need. Thus were long underground tunnels built between Gaza and Egypt.

After the tunnels were built, people thought Gaza would stop being a besieged city. For a number of months, it seemed as if the tunnels would help make us free. After Egypt had its second revolution, we thought the situation would improve. We thought there would be a new land port and the Rafah crossing would be opened. But sadly, the Egyptian military destroyed 90 percent of the tunnels which were becoming our life lines. They closed the Rafah crossing point and planned on creating a new buffer zone between Gaza and Egypt.

If you want to really understand the problem, come and see what life in Gaza is like. You will find there is no food for little babies and poor families. You will find there’s no cement or gravel for construction. There are 60,000 building workers with no pay. Many buildings needed rebuilding after the war. But there are no workers or materials to rebuild with. If you visit Gaza, you will find there’s no diesel for transportation. I cannot get to my university these days because there’s little traffic – I won’t find a bus or car to get a ride in, and if I do, it will cost a small  fortune.

So that’s the harsh new life we live in Gaza. Worse, Gaza has no friends to talk to about this. I understand what our Egyptian brothers are doing. Egypt is my mother and its people are my family. Still, as Gazans we have no one to talk to about our plight. That’s what makes it difficult to write about Gaza – it’s like there is no world out there that cares. So we live harsh lives and don’t know where help will come from. Our people are being impoverished and innocent babies our dying because they don’t have food and milk.

What does the world want from us. Why are they treating us like this. Why create that buffer zone that only benefits our enemies. And whose enemy am I really. Am I really an enemy, a terrorist, a killer, arrogant and imperious. Or am I just an innocent mother who wants her children to live safe and sound with no problems in this holy land.



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