A journey of Bitterness
I found it essential to write this time, as things were somehow different from the first time I left Gaza to Saudi Arabia.
We were informed of the plane time. It was 11:30 am, and we arrived at Cairo airport at 11 pm the day before. As a result, we had to stay at the airport for approximately 12 hours! Anyway, we waited and the plane arrived on time!!
The strange thing is that we were allowed to go out the hall where they gathered us! It was not forbidden to roam in the airport and buy food. We were allowed to go to the toilet without being accompanied by policemen!
This is the good part. However, in our way back we had to stay at the airport for 5 hours without any obvious reason! Everything was okay, and they checked all of our passports, but we are still Palestinians! Or to be specific, we are still Gazans, so we must feel imprisoned all the time, even when we are out of our besieged land, we must wait till they free us.
These are the departure and arrival trips, and between them was the bitterest part!
I will not write about the hotels, the people, the charity… but will write about ourselves, Palestinians.
There was a wide variety of people from different nationalities. There were too many people from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Pakistan, Jordan, Egypt, England, Turkey, etc. they all were unified in a very amazing way worshiping Allah and seeking his pleasure.
My sisters and I were looking for some Palestinians to feel we are in home. To search for someone among millions of faces is something really hard, especially if you have never seen him/her before. You want someone to tell you that you are still a human, and you will always be whatever the world does to you!
However, it was easy to identify Palestinians among this wide variety of people. They were dressed the same, and talking the same way with little differences and slangs according to their original towns.
A woman walked slowly towards us and asked, are you Palestinians? “Yes, Gazans” we replied. “yes, I knew that” she said. I asked her immediately, you are a Palestinian too, aren’t you? She said “yes, from Salfeet”, a village in the West Bank. I sighed deeply and prevented my tears down, thinking that we have never seen Salfeet. Will we see it one day before the end of our lives!??
We overheard a conversation between an old woman and her daughter. They were talking about food and named some Palestinian traditional meals. My sister insisted on asking them whether they were Palestinians or not. I asked the old woman. She answered, “ yes, we are from Hebron (Al-Khaleel) and where are you from my little girl?”. Once she heard the word “Gaza”, the white of her eyes turned into red, and two tears trickled down the sides of her nose.
She said with a trembling voice, “I have some relatives in Gaza. I used to visit them always, but now it has become impossible! Gaza, it was very beautiful. Alas, they have damaged everything”. We said nothing, kept our words and tears inside our eyes and left holding the bitterness in our sad hearts.
It seems that we talked to many people this time. Another girl we met was from a village very close to Jerusalem. Her name was “Nagham”. She studies at Bir Zeit university. It takes 30 minutes to go from her town to Bir Zeit, but after Israel has built the separation wall, the time she needs to go to her university has become one hour and a half! We asked eagerly, “do you pray at Al-Aqsa mosque?” she replied, “Of course I don’t, the Israeli forces don’t allow any body to pray there except the old”! She kept silent for a while and continued bitterly, “if I want to go there, I have to take a medical permission, and even if I tried, it’s very hard to get!”
I was thinking all the time of why it is too much easier to meet those Palestinians out of Palestine?
Why can the other countries gather us, while our land is dying to do so, but does not succeed?
Why do we have to travel 9 hours by bus, 2 by plane, and other 6 by bus in order to meet a Palestinian from Jerusalem that can be reached in less than 90 minutes by car?
And why shall a Palestinian old woman cry once she hears something about Gaza, the place where she is supposed to be easily in after 30 minutes?
I asked myself, can this old woman get a chance to see Gaza for only one time before she passes away? Why shall she think for a second that she may die before seeing Gaza Sea? And why shall Palestinians live with such bitter hopes for the rest of their lives?