Longing to go home

Palestinians wait to pass through the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. (Maan Images)

Mona El-Farra, IMEU, Jul 18, 2007

My mother is in her last moments and I cannot cross the border.
My mother is in the hospital at the moment. She is severely ill. She was admitted to the hospital 3 days ago. I cannot reach her.

I recently finished my 45-day speaking tour of the United States. Everywhere across the United States, and in each lecture, I told the audience about our suffering, living in this big prison called Gaza. I told them about the border closures and about the patients who have passed away while waiting to cross the border.

Now it is my personal story – like the daily stories of the 1.4 million people living in Gaza under siege and occupation, suffering from poverty, lack of resources, killing, shooting, and violence.

I cannot cross the border. I cannot pass through the Rafah crossing. I badly need to be next to my mother. I badly need to be there with her to help her, to do whatever I can for her, to say Goodbye, mum.

I was always there for my patients and for many other people, to help and try to alleviate their suffering. In her last hours, I cannot be there with my mother. My hands are tied, I am helpless.

I can do nothing, I just have to wait and wait and wait. My throat is dry, my are eyes full of tears. This is unjust, inhuman. It is the occupation – how can it be just and fair, when it is mainly based on injustice, agression and cruelity?

Can anybody help me to go home? I badly need to be at home next to my mother in her last moments. Goodbye, mum. Hope you rest in peace, peace we do not enjoy in Gaza.

The borders of Gaza have been closed for more than five weeks. Twenty-eight patients have died while waiting to cross the Rafah crossing. Rafah is the only crossing between Gaza and Egypt – all other exits are completely sealed by the Israeli army. The border was opened only 70 times in one year.

Mona El-Farra is a physician and human-rights advocate in the Gaza Strip.

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