To be allowed to enter into Gaza or not to be allowed? This is the question swirling in my mind these days as I am getting ready to travel with a Codepink delegation to Egypt and then to Gaza.
Last March, I missed the opportunity to join a similar delegation mostly composed of women from all over the world who commemorated International Women’s Day with Palestinians women. They also visited this tiny territory where 1.5 millions of people, half of them children and youth, who have struggled to live through almost two years of siege and terrible ongoing war.
But this time, when I knew that there was going be another attempt by the same organizers to cross the Egyptian borders to Gaza and help build a playground as well as meet with different NGOs working with children affected by depression, anxiety and mental problems caused by the war, I didn’t hesitate a second. As a mother, I think it is important for me to go there and help bring some support to the children of Gaza. It is also important to let them know that the International community cares about their plight.
Unfortunately, things are not as simple and straightforward as we always wish them to be. Gaza has been closed to the world and many international delegations of medical workers, peace activists have been prevented from crossing the border in order to bring humanitarian assistance. Food aid is said to be waiting, sometimes spoiled, in warehouses at the Egyptian borders.
Just last week, a ten-member Canadian delegation led by Sandra Rush, who went already to Gaza with the March delegation, arrived at the border but was prevented from crossing the border until today. Are we going to be treated similarly? I have no doubt in my mind that we should be hopeful and determined but also we should definitely keep our expectations moderate.
But beyond all these questioning, hesitation and mixed feelings, one thing emerges: the objective of this delegation. Going physically to Gaza is great, meeting with children and bringing them toys and medical supplies is a noble action. But if for some reasons, we were denied entry then it is not the end of the story.
One day I can say to myself and to my own children that I didn’t forget the children of Gaza and that I did my best to help. In the meantime, I have to finish my packing.
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